Belgian chocolate on top form
Belgian chocolate is praised all over the world for its superior quality. Our chocolatiers have an impressive reputation, which is mainly due to the boundless creativity and unbridled passion with which they practice their art on a daily basis. Not only do they excel when it comes to flavours but also in terms of design. Call them sculptors or artists, Belgian chocolatiers repeatedly succeed in producing the most innovative and surprising chocolate designs.
Belgium was and still is a pioneer in chocolate design
Belgium has a rich past as far as chocolate is concerned. It was Jean Neuhaus Jr. who, at the beginning of the 20th century, revealed the first filled chocolate bonbon or praline to the general public in his shop in the Brussels Koninginnegalerij/Galerie de la Reine. His wife was the founder of the famous ‘ballotin’ chocolate box. In other words, Belgium was already a pioneer in chocolate design a century ago and this is still true today.
A window display of chocolate sculptures
Belgian chocolatiers have designed Brugse zwaantjes (Bruges swans), Antwerpse handjes (Antwerp hands), Leuvense Fonskes (chocolate replicas of the Fonske statue) and Mechelse maneblussers (Mechelen locals). Each local delicacy is created from 100% Belgian chocolate. These specific designs are the perfect example of the rich and creative history of Belgian chocolatiers that each embodies a city’s cultural heritage.
However, Belgian chocolatiers do not limit themselves to the small, intricate work involved in making pralines. They also create giant chocolate sculptures, such as Burie’s life-size creations. Hans Burie became famous in Antwerp for his chocolate designs that dominated his shop window display. Even today, new creations tempt passers-by from the windows every month. An original chocolate creation is invariably produced on the occasion of major events such as Obama’s visit or the World Cup in Brazil.
Fabergé Easter egg
It is not just at home that Belgian chocolatiers are famous for their designs. They are also widely acclaimed beyond our borders for their original takes on the design for their creations. For example, Boon chocolate manufacturer created a unique chocolate Fabergé Easter egg for the Easter collection of the famous London store, Harrods. The Fabergé egg that provided Boon with the most inspiration was the Lilies of the Valley Egg. Each tiny flower was handmade and affixed with tweezers to a chocolate stem. Next, the stems and the petals were affixed to the egg and the whole creation was secured to a chocolate pedestal on legs.
The chocolate producer Callebaut® came under the spotlight once more during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. At the fashion show’s ‘Opening Ceremony’ the showstopper was without a doubt the chocolate wall that came to life. The wall featured a pattern of fingerprints that were filled with chocolate, which flowed down the wall.
Belgian chocolatiers derive inspiration from fashion, such as the Delvaux handbag by Marcolini and the fashion show of chocolate dresses paraded during the ‘Salon du Chocolat’.
Our chocolatiers also love a challenge but some simply enjoy throwing down the gauntlet. Let’s take Dominique Persoone, for example, who calls himself a Shock-o-latier. Dominique loves to do things just that little bit differently. A flavour acrobat who epitomises pure rock-‘n-roll, including in his creations. With his Chocolate Shooter he enables us to sniff chocolate, his chocolate Lipstick brings out the child in all of us and his tattooed pralines are original to say the least. Some call him controversial, others a genius. One thing is certain, though: Dominique elevates Belgian chocolate to an unprecedented level.
Artistic chocolate boxes
Belgian chocolatiers don’t limit themselves to designing pralines. They attach considerable importance to the packaging. Mary’s chocolate boxes are genuine works of art, often adorned with plain or painted silk. The draping, which is so characteristic of the house of Mary and which adorns each ‘ballotin’, is pure nostalgia.
Neuhaus continues to surprise the chocolate lover with creative and themed packaging items that have become collector’s pieces. Master chocolatiers also devote the utmost care to their chocolate boxes. Just check out the website of the patissier-chocolatier Debailleul.
Traditional, rebellious, creative, surprising or controversial, our Belgian chocolatiers’ creations are not just culinary gems but also look exquisite. Because it’s true, appearance is also important and our Belgian chocolatiers have also got that element down to a T.
Story created on September 10, 2014