The Story of Belgian Chocolate
At the end of the 15th century Christopher Columbus discovered chocolate in the new world. The Aztecs were thought to have drunk chocolate well before anyone else had even heard of it. It was a bitter drink made from the roasted seeds of cocoa mixed with spices. It was considered a sacred drink that was appreciated by the Aztecs but only the rich could afford it. Aztecs knew the value of the cocoa bean and started using it to make money to buy their gold.
What would become known as Belgian chocolate, the recipe was kept secret by the Spanish Aristocrats. It couldn’t keep the success of this drink out of the European borders however, and it spread quickly. The European nobles decided to add sugar to the recipe, making it more drinkable then the previously disliked drink. Doctors went so far as to say that it cured diseases because it held such a sacred value. When the chocolate hit Belgian it was considered a gift, because of all of the history and connotations of saving that it was told to have. In 1912 the Belgian confectionary created the praline filling for the chocolate which was packaged to give out as gifts to others. The treat soon became known as Belgian chocolate because of its unique filling in rich milk chocolate.
The Making of Belgian Chocolate
The chocolate is first prepared from the cocoa tree bearing large pods. The pods are then emptied, taking all of the cocoa seeds from them. The cocoa beans are then dried in the sun and sent to the chocolate manufacturers. The seeds are then roasted and crushed to obtain the wonderful cocoa powder used to make the Belgian chocolate. Taking the cocoa butter that is also squeezed from these seeds, they add that to the cocoa powder, sugar, and milk powder.
The chocolate makers take great care to choose the best cocoa powder to be used for the Belgian chocolate. They also feel very strongly in choosing the finest components in order to produce the delicious praline, or Belgian chocolate filling. The Belgian chocolate manufactures almost the entire praline by hand to ensure the most delectable chocolate available. They still choose the cocoa seeds by hand also, to make sure only the most superb seeds are chosen. After the process of hand decorating and packaging, Belgian chocolate then takes it place among the finest chocolates in the world.