The History of Belgian Chocolate
Belgium’s obsession with chocolate is fueled by a 150-year-old tradition of producing some of the world’s finest chocolates. The history of Belgian Chocolate reaches back to the 17th century when Spanish explorers brought cocoa beans from South America and Mexico. At first reserved for the nobility, chocolate gained popularity with the general public during the latter part of the 19th century, when cocoa cultivation began in the Congo and in West Africa, which provided an ideal environment for it.
In 1912, Jean Neuhaus invented the now-world famous Belgian praline (chocolate bonbon). He was soon followed by Leonidas and later Godiva. Belgian Chocolate begins not in a factory, but in the tropical rainforests of Africa, Central and South America, the Pacific Islands and Asia. The obroma Cacao, the cacao tree, thrives along the world’s equatorial belt. It bears pods that contain 20 to 60 seeds embedded in a white pulp.
Belgian Chocolate is one of the world’s all-time favorites. It is smooth, flavorful, and melt-in-your-mouth irresistible, with a crisp snap and glossy finish! It is made from a careful selection and processing of cocoa beans, with a secret blend of Forastero and Criollo. with 100% cocoa butter to enhance the quality and smoothness of the chocolate.
The secret is a unique refining process during which sugar and cocoa particles are ground to about 30 percent smaller than in most other countries. Conching and tempering are other important factors in how Belgian chocolate retains these characteristics. Conching the chocolate develops pure chocolate with a caramelized flavor, without any unwanted off-flavors. Then, tempering allows it to obtain a smooth, glossy finish and a crisp snap!