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  • The Sweet History of Belgian Chocolate

    Tuesday, February 16, 2021   /   by Vinny Steo

    The Sweet History of Belgian Chocolate


    How It All Began


       It all started with Leopold II of Belgium in the year 1885 when he colonized Congo. It was a territory eighty-six times bigger than his country. Leopold II was the very first one to commit genocide during the 20th Century.

    The chocolate industry first took off during the 1880s, supported by getting hold of the Belgian Congo that has aided an easy way into Africa’s cocoa grounds.

    Many people died under the orders of Leopold II. Despite the war that was happening, Belgians were able to maintain the cocoa importing connections. On the other hand, the Belgian contribution to the chocolate industry is the introduction of their chocolate product which is the praline. It was created and expanded by a Swiss family in Brussels, the Neuhaus family in 1912. The praline was the very first butter cream-filled bite-sized chocolate. It was either filled with nuts or cream or coated with milk or milk chocolate or filled also with a very good quality dark chocolate.

    In the year 1912, chocolate started as a gift in Belgium. A Belgian chocolatier created the very first praline, a chocolate that absolutely complied to the gift career it was building. Later on, a packaging called Ballotin was developed and patented for praline. At that moment the pralines in Ballotin were the most desired gift in every chance somebody has to give someone something as a present.

    The Making


    Chocolates start with the seeds of a cacao tree. A fruit-bearing tree that has large football-shaped pods, in which the seeds are contained. The cacao tree was first discovered in the United States but now can be grown in many countries near the Equator. These pods are gathered and the seeds are then dried in the sun. After drying, they undergo roasting. When the beans are roasted, they will now be crushed to produce cocoa powder, and then squeezed to get the cocoa butter.

    When the powder is ready, it will be mixed with butter. Adding the milk powder and sugar creates chocolate. Each component of the mixture determines the color of the chocolate. Therefore creating different kinds of chocolate like black or dark chocolate that can be made with up to seventy percent of cocoa in the mixture; milk chocolate containing more milk powder than the others, and of course the white chocolate that does not contain cocoa but cocoa butter only mixed with milk and sugar only. 


    Did you know that if not most, all the pralines during those times were hand-made? Presently chocolates are considered as energy-giving food because of their very high content of sugar and calorie. Another fact about chocolate is that it is also considered one of the many sexual stimulant foods.  It is also known to be used as an anti-depressant. It is known to contain a substance called “pheryletylanine” that has a positive effect in the event of a nervous depression but not only that, there is something in chocolates that gives anyone a lighter mood every time it is drunk.