Why Belgian Chocolate is so good ?
Questions are being asked all the time. What makes Belgian chocolate so special? How has Belgian chocolate become so famous? What are the reasons Belgian chocolate is so good?
The answer is three main reasons, which are:
1- Belgium has a troubled colonial past with the Congo which became the gateway to Africa’s cocoa plantations and resulted in Belgium
bringing back cocoa beans to Europe from Africa from around the 1880s. This early access to cocoa before many other nations and the
ability to understand how best to process the beans enabled Belgians to produce quality chocolate before anyone else in Europe and
before most countries in the world. Even the Swiss, who are famed for their chocolate, learnt much of what they know from the
Another historical development which has seen Belgian chocolate become recognised as one of the best chocolate nations in the world is its location at the heart of Europe. For years, people have been passing through on their way to other major locations in Western Europe and have been stopping off to pick up a gift of chocolate.
2 - Belgians are good at engineering. We’re good at developing processes. We’re good at creating systems. For this reason, we were one of the first countries to come up with machines which could mix the cocoa beans really thin so that the chocolate was extremely smooth.
Another example of this Belgian innovation was the process created by Belgian Chocolatier in 1912 when he developed a way to make a cold shell of chocolate for what he called ‘pralines’. These were different because they offered a mechanism whereby for the first time the chocolate could be filled with a variety of flavoured nougats or creams, such as coffee, hazelnut, fruit or even more chocolate. No one else at that time could make chocolate with such a complexity of flavour and this development changed the way people would eat chocolate forever.
3 - Just as every Italian village has a specialty olive oil supplier and every French village has a local vineyard, so is it true that every Belgian village has its own small chocolate shop. Recipes have been passed down through families for generations.
This culture of craft extends to both the quality of ingredients used and the care that is taken when making the chocolate. The vast majority of Belgian chocolate is made not by large manufacturing companies, but in small family chocolate shops by hand and using very basic equipment.
Handmade truffles, or pralines, or chocolate molds in our kitchen, are inspired by the chocolate shops that people visit on the streets of Ghent, Antwerp and Bruges all the time. The thought and care that has gone into making something that the chocolatier wants to really enjoy is something that want to be able to replicate for those who will eat chocolate, whether it’s family, friends or even neighbors.
Have you ever tried Belgian chocolate? What are you waiting for?