Ah, chocolate. What a delicious subject to be writing and reading about. You probably already know that Belgium is famous for its lovely chocolate. And that is not a coincidence! We’ll be telling you all about it in this week’s article.
A loooong time ago, the maya’s, and after that, the Aztecs, started consuming chocolate as a beverage. It wasn’t until the 16th century that European people heard about the delicious chocolate drink. The European history of chocolate took off in Spain after Christopher Columbus brought cacao beans from overseas. During that time, it was still served as a drink. Shortly after the arrival of cacao in Spain, the Spanish started to add sugar to the drink to make it less bitter. After that, it systematically found its way to other parts of Europe.
The arrival of the praline
In 1912 Belgium had a big breakthrough in the chocolate industry as Jean Neuhaus invented the praline in Brussels. He made the first filled chocolate bonbon and named it ‘praline’, derived from the French cook ‘Comte de Plessis-Praslin’ who already produced chocolate bonbons in the 17th century, but without the filling.
Anno 2021, Neuhaus is still one of the biggest chocolate producers in Belgium and surroundings with about 1500 points of sale in over 50 different countries.
The different chocolate types
We all know that there are different tastes and colours. White, milk and dark. But recently, in 2017, a 4th member joined the chocolate club. Pink chocolate, better known as ruby chocolate. It was first produced in French and Belgian factories.
Ruby chocolate is made from the ruby cocoa bean which is responsible for the pink colour and sweet taste. Therefore, Barry Callebaut, a French-Belgian chocolate manufacturer based in Zurich who first produced ruby chocolate, claims it is the fourth natural chocolate type. Although, different organizations refuse to recognize the product as a real chocolate sort.
Want to know more? Then we have the perfect activity in store for you. In both Brussels and Antwerp you can visit a chocolate museum. Choco-story (Brussels) and Chocolate Nation (Antwerp) both offer a wonderful and delicious experience for every chocolate lover. You’ll learn everything about the history, origin and production of the world wide delicacy.