Once upon a time, the chef of the Sun King Ludwig XIV invented little chocolate morsels with various fillings. The chef's creations are considered to be the birth of today's popular Belgian praline. Belgium is the home of first-class chocolate and supplies the whole world with these little 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. The Bally Callebaut company processes 270,000 tonnes of beans into chocolate every year. In addition to large factories, Belgium is also home to a large variety of small chocolatiers who continue to produce pralines in the traditional way, delighting chocolate fans from all over the world.
Belgian chocolate is popular all over the world and has a unique quality. But why does it stand out so much from the chocolates of other countries? Here, 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 proves the production in the country and is thus a real seal of quality.
Belgian chocolate has a higher cocoa content than most comparable products on the market. This leads to a particularly chocolaty enjoyment experience and shapes the taste of the chocolate. In addition, chocolate in Belgium has a very fine structure. Belgian chocolate is very finely ground and has a structure of 15 to 18 micrometres, whereas British chocolate, for example, has a structure of 24 micrometres.
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, but also small chocolatiers are well represented. Belgian chocolatiers are also very creative and constantly create new delicious flavour combinations. These include classics such as nougat, marzipan or vanilla, as well as chocolates with exotic flavours.
In Belgium, chocolate is not just sold, it is lived. Buying chocolate becomes a real experience here. Whether it's a visit to the chocolate museum, chocolate tours or even tastings at chocolatiers and 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 themselves are also real chocolate lovers: Belgians eat at least 6 kilograms of chocolate per year.
Bruges has a lot to offer in the area of chocolate, among many other highlights, and is considered Belgium's chocolate city due to the many chocolatiers on site. A visit to the chocolate museum is particularly worthwhile. The annual chocolate festival "Bruges in Choc" attracts many visitors to beautiful Bruges.
The Choco-Story museum gives visitors an overview of the development and history of chocolate. However, this is no standard museum: The beginnings of chocolate up to today's processing are presented in exciting displays. There is also the opportunity to look over the shoulders of a real Belgian chocolatier as he prepares pralines and to taste them afterwards.
The annual festival "Bruges in Choc" presents the most delicious creations of the Bruges chocolatiers. Here, the members of the "Guild of Bruges Chocolatiers" present their specialities. At Bruges Market Square, in addition to the sale of delicacies, workshops, demonstrations and tastings will take place in the town halls, introducing visitors to the world of chocolate. Children's workshops and a chocolate café round off the offer. The Bruges speciality "Brugs Zwaantje" is particularly popular here: a chocolate swan filled with salted caramel.
For real gourmets, a visit to "The Chocolate Line" is also worthwhile. The shop in the heart of Bruges is mentioned in the Michelin Guide and delights with exceptional chocolate compositions. On site it is possible to follow the entire production process, from roasting to creative refinement. More information HERE.
Romantik Hotel de Orangerie is located right in the heart of Bruges' old town and is the ideal starting point for a city trip. Thanks to the combination of exquisite antiques with contemporary interiors, the hotel offers a cosy yet fresh atmosphere. The former 15th century monastery is located directly on the banks of the Dijver Canal and invites you to explore Bruges on foot.
For a perfect balance between a beach and city holiday, the Romantik Hotel Manoir Carpe Diem in De Haan, just 18 kilometres from Bruges. Located directly on the beach promenade, the stylish country house hotel is situated directly on the dune forest of exclusive De Haan aan Zee.