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History of Belgian Chocolate

One of the things people all over the world whether of different cultures, colors or castes will agree is that the worldwide comfort food is chocolate. In times of happiness and times of sorrow, chocolate has survived the test of time to become one of the greatest culinary creations in history. We know what you’re talking about when you say that eating chocolate is like drowning in pleasure but there is still nothing in the world that can compare to the smooth, luxurious and almost sinful feeling of tasting a piece of Belgian chocolate.

Have you ever wondered though how Belgian chocolate came into being? Before coming into the current age and into your hands, Belgian chocolate has traveled not only physical distances but it has taken a difficult journey through time to end up here.

The Journey of Belgian Chocolate

Europe was introduced to chocolate when the Spanish conquistadors brought cocoa instead of gold back from their travels. Soon this bitter cocoa was combined with sugar and voila, chocolate was created. This journey then goes in to the seventeenth century when chocolate was cocoa and cocoa was the exclusive commodity of the rich.  The sign of nobility, cocoa used to be drunk by the rich and famous nobles, artists and royalty as a luxury.

Story of the Swiss

Switzerland is the main contender of fine chocolate along with the Belgians. Surprisingly, the Swiss stole the idea of making luxurious chocolate from the Belgians making them historical chocolate partners. When the then mayor of Zurich visited Brussels, he was invited to drink the smooth fine cocoa blend that had fast become a favorite of people. He fell in love with the delicious taste and aroma almost instantly. When he came back, he introduced this concept to his people thus making history.

Story of Leopold II

We still have to thank a few other people for this tasty treat and that includes the barbaric king Leopold II. When he was in rule, he colonized Congo making sure that all the cocoa supply from there came directly to Belgium giving the Belgians unlimited access to however much cocoa they wanted at the expense of the Africans. The making of chocolate has sure seen quite a few sacrifices!

The Birth of the Praline

Now that there was an abundant supply, people started experimenting and one of those chocolate scientists was the famous Belgian chocolate scientist Jean Neuhaus who is the father of the praline. Originally from Switzerland (all great chocolatiers are apparently born there), at first he was just a regular sweet maker who sold plaques of sweets and chocolates until he used the French sugar technique to make the first praline in 1912.

Modern Belgian Chocolate

Enough about historical chocolate, let’s talk about some modern Belgian deliciousness. Today because of industrialization, technology and global markets, the price of Belgian chocolate is one that normal people can also afford (thankfully) and not just the rich. With its rich smoothness and flavor, Belgian chocolate continues to be a favorite and will likely be forever.

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Now tell me who doesn’t like chocolate? Especially kids? We’ve all grown up with chocolate being our reward for being good or our treat for a special occasion. I remember when I was a child, chocolate was a rarity.