A BRIEF HISTORY OF BELGIAN CHOCOLATE
By Waterbridge - June 26, 2017
What is the first thing that comes to mind when we say Belgian? Is it waffles? Fries? Beer? The word that probably came to your mind was chocolate! Belgian chocolate adorns a positive reputation among chocolate aficionados, plays a significant role in its nation’s cultural identity and has strong historical significance. As a premier importer of Belgian chocolate in Canada, Waterbridge is proud to include Belgian chocolate within its own history, by bringing taste and tradition into your home. Follow along, as we briefly explain the timeline of how this globally renowned chocolate came to be.
How It All Began
Cocoa beans were first introduced to Belgium during a time of Spanish occupation in the 17th century. Spanish explorers would bring cocoa beans from South America back to Belgium, where the beans were typically turned into a hot beverage, known today as hot chocolate. At this time, chocolate was seen as a sign of luxury and was used by wealthy members of society to impress their visitors.
Belgium’s chocolate market began to thrive following the colonization of The Belgian Congo, known today as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Large amounts of cocoa beans were discovered in the nation leading Belgium to become the number one global trader in cocoa and chocolate in the early 1900’s.
A Pivotal Point in the History of Belgian Chocolate
In 1857, a man by the name of Jean Neuhaus opened a pharmacy in the Galérie de la Reine in Brussels. In an effort to make his medicines easier to consume Neuhaus would enrobe them in a layer of chocolate, talk about a spoon full of sugar! Neuhaus gradually added new items to his store, including plaques of dark chocolate, eventually turning the pharmacy into a chocolate shop. This chocolate shop went on to become the birthplace of the first praline in 1912 when Jean Neuhaus Jr. replaced his father’s medicines with fresh cream, consequently creating the first filled chocolate.
The Unique Production Process
In 1884, a law was created stating that a minimum level of 35% pure cocoa must be used to make genuine Belgian chocolate. This law was created in order to prevent the replacement of cocoa ingredients with low-quality fats that would modify the composition of the chocolate. Belgian chocolatiers take their craft very seriously and will often oversee all aspects of the production process. This includes monitoring how the cocoa beans are planted, selected, roasted and ground.
Waterbridge Belgian Chocolate in Canada
Since 1993, Waterbridge has delighted chocolate lovers all across Canada with its authentic Belgian chocolate products. Not only are Waterbridge Belgian chocolate products made with pure ingredients, as a company Waterbridge takes extra steps to ensure eco-friendly production and packaging methods. You won’t only enjoy the delicious melt-in-your-mouth taste of Waterbridge, you’ll also feel great eating it!
Pick up a bar of Waterbridge Belgian chocolate at these retailers near you.