The Belgian chocolate: A royal tradition
The cook of the Sun King Louis XIV once invented small chocolate canapés with various fillings. The chef's creations are regarded as the birth of today's popular Belgian chocolate. Belgium is home to first-class chocolate and supplies the whole world with these small delicacies. Many of the popular chocolate brands such as Godiva, Leonidas or Côte d'Or are at home in Belgium. The largest chocolate factory in the world is also located in Belgium, in Wieze. Bally Callebaut processes 270,000 tons of beans into chocolate every year. In addition to large factories, there is also a large variety of small chocolatiers in Belgium who continue to produce the pralines traditionally and thus delight chocolate fans from all over the world.
The special features of Belgian chocolate
Belgian chocolate is popular worldwide and has a unique quality. But why does it stand out so much from the chocolates of other countries? This is where sweet tooths and chocolate gourmets will find the answer.
In traditional chocolate production, Belgian manufacturers use only pure cocoa butter and very high-quality cocoa beans. In addition, the "Belgian Chocolate Code", developed in 2007, is a true seal of quality for production in the country.
Cocoa content and structure
Belgian chocolate has a higher cocoa content than most comparable products on the market. This leads to a particularly chocolaty pleasure experience and shapes the taste of the chocolate. In addition, in Belgium chocolate has a very fine structure. Belgian chocolate is very finely ground and has a structure of 15 to 18 microns, whereas British chocolate, for example, has a structure of 24 microns.
Variety and creativity
In Belgium alone, there are numerous chocolate manufacturers that stimulate competition and maintain quality standards. In addition to large manufacturers such as Callebaut and Belcolade, medium-sized companies such as Godiva, Leonidas and small chocolatiers are also well represented. Belgian chocolatiers are also very creative and are constantly creating new delicious flavour combinations. In addition to classic chocolates such as nougat, marzipan or vanilla, these also include pralines with exotic flavours.
All-round chocolate experience
In Belgium, chocolate is not only sold, it is lived. Buying chocolate becomes a real experience here. Whether a visit to the chocolate museum, chocolate tours or tastings at Chocolatiers as well as workshops where visitors can immerse themselves in the world of chocolate. Belgium has a lot to offer.
In addition to producing chocolate specialities for fans all over the world, Belgians are real chocolate lovers themselves: Belgians eat at least 6 kilograms of chocolate a year.
On the road in Bruges - the chocolate city
Bruges has a lot to offer in the area of chocolate as well as numerous other highlights and is also considered to be Belgium's chocolate city due to the many chocolatiers there. Above all, a visit to the chocolate museum is worthwhile. The annual chocolate festival "Bruges in Choc" also attracts many visitors to beautiful Bruges.
In the Choco-Story Museum visitors get an overview of the development and history of chocolate. However, it is no standard museum here: In exciting presentations, the beginnings of chocolate up to today's processing are presented. Furthermore, there is the possibility to look over the shoulders of a real Belgian chocolatier while preparing chocolates and to try them afterwards.
The annual festival "Bruges in Choc" presents the most delicious creations of the Bruges chocolatiers. Here the members of the "Bruges Chocolatiers Guild" present their specialities. In addition to selling the delicacies, workshops, demonstrations and tastings take place in the town halls on the Bruges market square, introducing visitors to the world of chocolate. Children's studios and a chocolate café complete the offer. The Bruges speciality "Brugs Zwaantje" is particularly popular here: a chocolate swan filled with salted caramel.
Tip: For real gourmets, a visit to "The Chocolate Line" is also worthwhile. The shop in the heart of Bruges is mentioned in the Guide Michelin and inspires with extraordinary chocolate compositions. On site it is possible to follow the entire production process, from roasting to creative refinement.
Hotel tips in Bruges
The Romantik Hotel de Orangerie is located directly in the heart of the old town of Bruges and is an ideal starting point for a city trip. Thanks to the combination of exquisite antiques and contemporary interiors, the hotel offers a cosy yet fresh atmosphere. The former 15 th century monastery is situated on the banks of the Dijver Canal and invites you to explore Bruges on foot.
The Romantik Hotel Manoir Carpe Diem in De Haan, just 18 kilometres from Bruges, provides a perfect balance between beach and city holidays. Located directly on the beach promenade, this stylish country house hotel is situated on the dune forest of the exclusive De Haan aan Zee.