Belgian Chocolate

There is chocolate and then there is CHOCOLATE.

There are the everyday variety to the more exotic Godiva and Ghirardelli-style that can be found in many coffee houses and specialty. Then there is Belgian, seen by many the best that can be had in chocolate. Belgian chocolates are considered the gourmet standard in which other chocolates are measured. Even by the Swiss, who are known for their own high standards of quality. The Swiss, who had imported the basic recipe from the French and the Belgian.

When chocolate first started to take off during the 1880’s it was supported by the Belgian Congo. There was about 10 million Africians that were killed under the Belgian ruler Leopold II to obtain the cocoa. In spite of the war going on, the Belgians were able to continue with the cocoa importing. But it was only when in 1857 that Jean Neuhaus used Couverteur a special version of chocolate. It was one hundred and fifty years later his grandson started to use Couverteur, he called to create what he called ‘pralines’. Which is not to be confused with the sugary treat that can be found in American candy stores these days. These pralines can be filled with a variety of flavored creams known as nougats: like coffee, hazelnut, fruit or more chocolate. It was in 1912 that Belgium chocolates were first used as a gift. These gifts were even wrapped in a special wrapper designed just for Belgian chocolates, this wrapper is called Ballotin.

There is another big difference between Belgian and United States chocolate is the percentage of cocoa per volume being used.

Belgian chocolate is prepared from the seeds of the Cocoa Tree. This tree bears large helmet-shaped seed pods that after being gathered, the beans are dried by the sun.

Even though Cocoa Tree was first initially discovered in America, this tree can now be found in many of the equatorial countries. Once dried the beans are sent to chocolate manufacturers. There they are roasted and crushed producing cocoa powder. The seeds are also squeezed to make cocoa butter.

The chocolate is then produced by the mixing of the powder, cocoa butter, sugar and milk powder.

When Belgian chocolate makers make their chocolate. They take extreme care to select the finest cocoa and components to produce the chocolate and ‘praline’ filling.

When the Belgian chocolate artisan makes the ‘praline’ it is made by hand especially the decoration.

In 1883 a pair of chocolatiers by the names of Michiels and Bieswal developed another kind of Belgian chocolate. It is known as ‘elephant’ chocolate because the cocoa beans are from the West African coast known as the ‘Gold Coast’ of Ghana. These beans are well known for the bold taste they produce.

Africa isn’t the only country noted for fine tasting cocoa. Brazil is as well, actually when a lot of people think of cocoa beans they think of Brazil. But unlike it’s African counterpart. The cocoa that some chocolatiers call Karenero, this cocoa has a mild hazelnut flavor.

So it was with great care and diligence of the course of about two hundred years that a chocolate delicacy was created.

This chocolate is known the world over as Belgian chocolate.

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About The Author, Chris Alleny
Chris enjoys writing about all kinds of food but especially chocolates. For more information on Belgian chocolates visit