Belgian chocolate is one of the most famous varieties of chocolate across the globe. Over the years, Belgian chocolate brands have proven the quality of this type of chocolate.
If you are a chocolate lover that wants to know more about Belgian chocolates you came to the right place.
Origins of Belgian Chocolate
It was four centuries ago since the Belgian chocolate industry began. However, it did not originate in Belgium based on its name. The cocoa beans used from the very first production of Belgian chocolates actually came from Central and South America.
The story behind it was the Spaniards who colonized certain parts of America brought the cocoa beans to Europe. Also, far from our usual indulgence on chocolates today, Belgian chocolates were sold as medicine before while abbey monks used them as gifts.
What Defines a Belgian Chocolate?
Oftentimes many Belgian chocolate brands in the market claim that they manufacture real “Belgian chocolate” but sometimes actual chocolate enthusiasts get disappointed when they taste the products.
Therefore, the question is how can you spot real Belgian chocolate?
If you visit Belgium, you will be surprised that chocolate makers out there still use 100% cocoa butter which is one of the key indicators of good Belgian chocolate. Aside from that Belgian chocolates have higher cocoa content.
By looking at these initial ingredients alone, you will know that Belgian chocolates are indeed a luxury.
Aside from the ingredients, many famous Belgian chocolate brands still commit to the traditional way of making these chocolates. Despite it being a laborious process, many still choose to do it by hand.
When a small Belgian chocolate brand mentions and actually shows that they make their products by hand, all the time and effort of making are paid off because the idea is extremely popular with tourists.
In Europe alone, many popular chocolate companies follow strict traditions when creating Belgium chocolates and some even share their own secret recipes. Traditionally there are flavour profiles based on the characteristic city or country.
Across the globe, there are unique flavours of Belgian chocolates developed based on where a particular country has a history of sourcing cocoa beans, local ingredients, and cultural taste preferences.
In Belgium, they are known for milk chocolate and a classic chocolatier style of making pralines and truffles.
If you haven't tried it you can define Belgian milk chocolate by having a classic milk flavor with not too much fruitiness and sourness. Meanwhile, Belgian dark chocolate has a classic fudge-like earthy flavor with no extra flavours from other ingredients.
For chocolatiers, Belgian chocolates are in the middle range of flavour profile with not too much of a range in flavor extremes. Others describe its taste as comforting and forward without too many distractions.
Types of Belgian Chocolate
As time goes by, there are several types of Belgian chocolates developed. Aside from the usual Belgian milk chocolate and Belgian dark chocolates, you can enjoy other forms of this versatile chocolate.
Before we list down some of the variants of Belgian chocolate, you must understand that oftentimes these chocolates come with a higher price tag. Just consider the ingredients and craftsmanship behind it. However, when you taste it the quality is often evident.
This type of Belgian chocolates was first introduced in 1912 by Jean Neuhaus.
This particular variant is distinct because of its soft-center and a chocolate casing. Pralines are often available in a variety of shapes and forms and it will surprise you with soft filling hidden behind its chocolate casing.
Aside from the traditional filling, Belgian pralines are also famous because of the surprising variety of fillings. Some Belgian chocolate brands have liquors, cherries, almonds, and creams as fillings. While the shells can also be either white chocolate, dark chocolate, or milk chocolate.
When you decide to buy truffles, it must be creamy and rich tasting.
Truffles are Belgian chocolates shaped in a smooth or flaky chocolate ball. They are often coated in high-quality cocoa powder or wafer biscuits.
Truffles are expected to have a soft, moreish, and rich ganache. However, truffles only have a short shelf life because of their fresh filling.
For the truffle filling, you can expect most modern-day truffles will often contain a fruit or nut filling. Meanwhile, other Belgian chocolate brands explored other coatings, such as chili, roasted nuts, or spice.
On the pricing, truffles are normally slightly more expensive than the pralines.
Most probably you’ve already seen this type of Belgian chocolate if you visited a high-end chocolate store. Gianduja is made from pure almond and nut paste and of course Belgian chocolate.
This type of Belgian chocolate is shaped into small rectangular blocks and usually wrapped with gold paper. Imagine eating a hazelnut paste praline without the chocolate shell.
How Should I Store My Belgian Chocolates?
Unlike chocolates that you buy from the supermarket, handmade chocolates like Belgian chocolates do not contain a lot of preservatives.
So when you decide to buy Belgian chocolates, you never want to waste your money by keeping it around for too long. This type of chocolate should be taken care of and immediately enjoyed within approximately 21 days without refrigeration.
It is suggested that the maximum temperature for consuming chocolates is about 18°C (64°F). Meanwhile, if you want to keep them, store them in a dry and dark place or keep them in the fridge.
When you are finally ready to consume your Belgian chocolates, you should take them out about 20 minutes before you eat them so they will come up to room temperature.
Regardless of the form or size of Belgian chocolates in the market, it all boils down to how it tastes.
If you have a sweet tooth, tasting real Belgian chocolate is a must and you don’t need to fly to Belgium just to taste one. Several Belgian chocolate online shops outside Europe offer high-quality chocolates.
QQ La Praline is one of those Belgian chocolate shops. Their chocolatiers have been trained in Belgium and work in prestigious Australian chocolateries so you can guarantee the best tasting and high-quality Belgian chocolates.