One of the sure-fire ways to a woman’s heart is with a Belgian chocolate. But then one of the sure-fire ways to a man’s is much the same. For centuries now those Belgians have been leading the world with their sweet treats but what is it about them and what makes them so good at it?
Italy has olive oil, France has wine, Germany has sausages. These are all countries around Belgium that for years have taken vast amounts of time and effort making their favorite things. They nurture the ingredients and then the production process and they all have special shops and stalls where they can sell the very best of the best to people who can tell the best from the rest. Belgium is so good at making chocolate because it treats it exactly the same way.
In nearly every other country in the world, chocolate is made in much the same way as cars: on the factory line. Although they still taste good to you and I, a Mars or a Snickers is nothing like the chocolate the chocolatiers in Belgium know. There is the same attention to detail and admiration for the art of the profession in Belgium as with wine-makers or even artists.
The Old World methods of making chocolates in Belgium date back to the 18th Century but in 1912 a man came along and changed all of what we now know as the world of luxury chocs today. His name was Jean Neuhaus and he was Belgian. He came up with a new technique that would eventually result in his country being head and shoulders above the rest of the chocolate eating world. He discovered the praline. His idea was to have a hard chocolate mold called a couverteur for a little sweet, but inside he would fill it with soft nougats and creams of all different flavors. These would range from toffee to coffee from coconut to hazelnut but they were different from everything else around and no one could replicate the incredible taste.
The chocolate shops in Belgium will show you more about why they are the best in the world. The lengthy and precise way in which the chocolatiers hand-make all the chocolates has set the bar for the rest of the world. The couverteur that the chocolatier receives is usually hard and then has to be reheated and molded to the desired shape. But what makes Belgium elite is the couverteur they receive is almost always kept warm so as not to lose an of the special aroma and taste before shaping.
If you want to really experience the best Belgian chocolate in the world then Neuhaus is still open for business and it has an online shop where you might need to get your credit card out if you fancy trying some.