When most people think of Belgium, they think of the capital Brussels as the location of the headquarters of the EU Commission and EU Parliament. Other things they might associate this lovely country with are beer and waffles. But perhaps the most important export (around two-thirds) from Belgium is its chocolate.
As such, with a centuries-old tradition of chocolate making, refinement, and constant improvement, you may wonder why Belgian chocolate is famous. There are a couple of things that really set Belgium apart from the rest when it comes to their chocolate creation process. So, if you’re ready to find out what makes Belgian chocolate different, take a look below!
Why is Belgian chocolate so famous?
Belgian chocolate is famous all over the world. Giving a box of Belgian chocolates to someone as a gift is a huge sign that you’re giving a high-quality gift. And there’s a good reason for this. This country’s chocolate is unique and much loved owing to a combination of factors. These include the following:
- Belgian chocolates have one of the finest structures in the world. This means that the chocolate is ground so fine that it goes below the recognition levels of the human tongue. When the chocolate hits the tongue, it melts and leaves a divine, lingering flavor.
- What’s more is that to achieve this fineness, the chocolate is ground to between 15 and 18 microns. This is arguably the lowest range in the whole world.
- Another reason why Belgian chocolate is so famous is because of its high cocoa content. Most products that attempt to compete with Belgian chocolate do not match the cocoa content of their rivals.
- But there’s more! Belgian chocolate also contains 100% cocoa butter. No variations, no additives, no dilution. Just pure, unadulterated cocoa butter for a rich taste experience.
- Sourcing the cocoa beans is another process all on its own. Belgian chocolatiers have always used high-quality beans, which are primarily sourced from West Africa. These beans differ in flavor when compared to those in Central or South America.
- Belgian chocolatiers are also highly creative in the chocolate-making process and incorporate a wide range of flavors ranging from classic pralines to exotic flavors.
- What’s more, is that Belgian chocolate is regulated by law. The “Belgian Chocolate Code” was developed in 2007 and ensures that Belgian chocolate actually comes from the country.
- Belgium is also home to the world’s largest chocolate factory in Wieze. Around 270,000 tons from bean to chocolate are produced by one supplier in the country, making him the world’s largest chocolate supplier.
- Wieze is also home to the first of the 17 Chocolate Academies, which have since inception, spread all over the world. After having been fully rebuilt, it is not the largest Chocolate Academy center in the world.
- Finally, while most chocolate companies receive their chocolate in solid form, meaning it must be reheated in order to be usable, Belgian companies receive their couverture in heated tanker trucks. As such, the chocolate has not cooled and it retains much more of the aroma than the cooled varieties.
What is Belgian chocolate made of?
The two primary ingredients of Belgian chocolate include 100% cocoa butter and carefully selected, high-quality cocoa beans.
Despite these similarities, this is where things get a bit more complicated because every chocolatier in Belgium will add their own nuances and flavors to their offering to distinguish themselves.
It’s not uncommon to have flavors that include coffee, hazelnut, fruit, or even more chocolate.
What is the difference between Belgian chocolate and normal chocolate?
There are several important differences between Belgian chocolate and what is referred to as “normal” chocolate that we find around us.
One of the very first distinguishing factors is the sourcing of the cocoa beans. Whereas Belgian chocolate makers source theirs from West Africa, many other competing nations get their cocoa beans from Central and South America.
The other difference lies in fat content. Since Belgian chocolates use 100% cocoa butter, their fat content is a bit higher than most average chocolates. This creates for a richer and smoother taste experience.
But there’s more! And the next difference is in the sugar content. Because Belgian chocolate uses a high quantity of cocoa beans in their chocolate production process, they add less refined sugar to their chocolate offerings. Meanwhile, competing countries tend to use more sugar and lower quantities of cocoa beans, resulting in some taste differences.
And last but not least is the actual percentage of cocoa used in the chocolate. Belgium, for instance, uses at least 20% of cocoa in its chocolate-making process, whereas countries like the US have a cocoa content of around 10%.
Chocolate to delight anyone at any occasion
If you would like to buy chocolate gifts but you’re unsure of where to start, you’ll never go wrong with the high-quality and world-renowned Belgian chocolates! And we at Totally Chocolate offer a multitude of options for you to choose from to cater to every taste bud.
Not only can you have personalized chocolate bars, which are specially engraved, adding that extra special finishing touch to the gift. You can also choose the form and style of the chocolate gift as well! This means selecting from chocolate bars, boxes, and even towers. The options are absolutely limitless!