Most tourists know about famous belgium chocolate like Belgian chocolate truffles and gourmet belgian chocolate. Belgium may be known as the Capital of Europe but some consider the nation the Capital of Chocolate as well.
Belgian Chocolate Shop Locations
There are some 300 different Belgium chocolate companies, thousands of places to buy chocolate, and hundreds of chocolate goodies to tempt the palate and tilt the scales. Belgium produces 172,000 tons of chocolate per year sold in over 2,130 belgian chocolate shops.
Every Belgian city of any size has belgain chocolate shops, the bigger cities have their own brands and speciality chocolates.
Here are locations of big brand chocolates shops as well as information about city specific chocolate production.
Chocolate Shops in Antwerp: Famous Belgium Chocolates in Antwerp you will also find: Burie, Del-Rey and Goossens.
Chocolate Shops in Brussels: Brussels Belgian chocolates
Belgian Chocolate Shops in Brugge: Famous Belgium chocolate in Brugge ... Belgian Chocolate Shops, tours, museums, walks and chocolate workshops ...
Popular and Famous Belgian Chocolate Brands / Shops
You can buy 100-200 gram gourmet chocolate bars or in grocery stores for about €1 each. Good Belgian chocolate candy brands are Côte-d'Or, Jacques and Guylian.
Guylian belgian chocolate: belgian sea shell chocolate.
Godiva: many branches around every city - pricey.
Leonidas Belgian Chocolate: branches across all Belgian cities and some abroad. Inexpensive and acceptable quality - if you are not a conaisseur you won't mind the difference (4.35 Euros for 250gm).
Belgian Chocolate Neuhaus: many branches across the city. A bit more expensive than Leonidas and a bit higher quality.
Marcolini One of the best Belgian chocolates - priced accordingly.
According to the International Cocoa Organization, Belgium ranks number two in per capita consumption of chocolate, with Belgians enjoying an average of 11.03 kilograms per year.
Belgian pralines, filled chocolates, are the most popular Belgian chocolates. Prices match quality and reputation — anywhere between €30 and €58 per kilogram. In better establishments you will paying for the white gloves they wear to hand pick each praline.
The great thing about Belgians and their chocolate (as well as those who visit here) is that they only have to go around the corner to one of the thousands of local belgian chocolate shops to buy some of the best chocolate in the world. Belgians have been making the world's best chocolate for well over a century and locals simply regard good chocolate as an everyday part of like.
Why is Belgian chocolate so famous?
Belgium chocolate has pure cocoa flavor because no vegetable shortening is used. The origin and orientation of the cacao plantation as well as the de-acidification and roasting of the beans are all key factors in finding the right flavor. Belgian chocolate traditionally mixes cocoa paste, sugar and cocoa butter in varying proportions. Dark belgian chocolate uses the most cocoa, milk chocolate mixes n milk, and white chocolate is made be extracting only the butter from the cocoa. Pure cocoa butter is the fundamental ingredient.
History of Belgian Chocolate
So how did Belgium and chocolate develop this enduring relationship? - Belgian chocolate goes back centuries.
Belgium was introduced to the cocoa bean during the 17th century when the nation was ruled by Spain (whose explorers discovered the fruit in South America). Chocolate was first enjoyed as a drink rather than as a food and no where was there a more regal place to enjoy a drink of the dark mixture than in the beautiful Grand Place.
That's just where many a royal, artist and others of nobility experienced their first taste of chocolate. In fact, in 1697, Henri Escher, mayor of Zurich, Switzerland was so enthusiastic about the chocolate drink he experienced in Brussels that he introduced the idea to Switzerland. Ironically, today, Swiss chocolate is a primary competitor of Belgian chocolate (and the third highest per capita consumer of chocolate).
Belgium's love affair with chocolate sent the country on a quest to find its own supply. That supply was found in Africa by King Leopold II who colonized the Congo (hence the name 'Belgian Congo') in 1885. Unfortunately, Leopold abused the Congolese people and took advantage of their vast cocao tree fields, giving the nation an unlimited supply of the cocao beans. So as some say, some of the history of Belgian chocolate is not so sweet.
Belgium's first chocolate shop, Neuhaus, opened in Brussels in 1857 and still exists. Neuhaus' grandson is credited with inventing the praline — in 1912 he filled an empty chocolate shell with sweet substances , and so a Belgian institution was born.
From local bakeries and supermarkets delis, to chain stores and top-notch chocolateries ( chocolate shops), hundred of chocolate producers vie for the domestic market, tough only a handful have gone international, such as the elephant emblazoned Cote d'Or , or the US owned Godiva, and the Seashell-shaped Guylian.
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