Belgian chocolate has been the food of champions, a lure for lovers, the indulgence of the rich and later, a favourite sweet treat for people the world over. From Godiva to Leonidas, from Côte d'Or to Neuhaus: Belgium has a wide variety of top chocolate brands and some of the largest chocolate factories across the globe. But a visit to Flanders isn’t just about buying chocolates, there are a whole host of different and diverse experiences that sweet toothed visitors can enjoy, from chocolate museums, praline making to beer pairings.
But what is it that makes Belgian chocolate so revered, and how did Belgium become one of the few countries with a such a long history with chocolate?
What makes Belgian Chocolate so unique?
- The fine structure. Belgian chocolate is ground so fine that it has a structure of just 15 to 18 microns.
- High cocoa content. Belgian chocolate has a higher cocoa content than most international products.
- Pure cocoa butter. Belgian chocolate contains 100% cocoa butter.
- The selection of the beans. Traditionally, Belgian chocolate makers have always used high-quality cocoa beans.
- The Belgian chocolate sector is very diverse. Besides major players such as Callebaut and Belcolade, we also find medium-sized companies such as Godiva and Leonidas as well as lots of small chocolatiers and praline makers who spread the fame of Belgian chocolate.
- Belgian chocolatiers are particularly creative. Nowhere else in the world will you find such a great variety of new and above all delicious flavours and combinations. From classic pralines to bold and sophisticated interpretations with exotic flavours. Our chocolatiers are also true trendsetters in chocolate design.
- Chocolate is an all-round experience. in Belgium, it’s not just about buying chocolate. It’s about a whole series of fun experiences; from visiting chocolate museums, actual chocolate routes and walks to tastings with chocolatiers who are passionate about their craft and workshops where visitors can design their own chocolate.
- In 2007, the ‘Belgian Chocolate Code’ was developed. This code ensures the Belgian chocolate actually comes from Belgium.
- The Belgian chocolate sector exports its high-quality chocolate all over the world. Two thirds of both industrial chocolate and finished products are sent abroad.
- The largest chocolate factory in the world is in Wieze, Belgium. Barry Callebaut produces around 270,000 tonnes from bean to chocolate every year, making him virtually the largest supplier of chocolate in the world. In Wieze you will also find the first of the 17 Chocolate Academies that have spread all over the world. It was recently fully rebuilt and is now the largest Chocolate Academy centre in the world.
- Flemings are devoted to their chocolate and pralines. We eat at least 6kg (13.2lbs) of them a year.
Pay a visit to a chocolate museum, participate in one of the many workshops or tastings, have a break in a charming tearoom and discover the surprising combination of chocolate and beer. Flanders and Brussels are the places to be for a unique and delicious chocolate experience!