The word “chocolate” is enough to make some people swoon. Chocolate has been a part of human life for thousands of years, having originated in Mesoamerica. Chocolate is composed of the fermented, ground and roasted beans of the cacao tree, which have a rich and bitter taste. When mixed with cacao butter, milk and sugar in a specialized cooking process, the cacao beans are transformed into the chocolate we are more familiar with. Chocolate is now made all over the world and appears in everything from corner-store candy bars to elite deserts at the world’s top
The world’s top chocolate connoisseurs agree that Belgian chocolate has an edge over the competition. There are a handful of reasons to explain how and why Belgian chocolate is so stellar. From the raw ingredients to the cooking and cooling processes, it’s the little details that make Belgian chocolate so decadent and memorable. Here are five reasons why the Belgians have a monopoly on the tastiest chocolate.
1. Impeccable Importing
Belgium produces over 220,000 tons of chocolate a year, and imports the cacao beans from various sources throughout Africa and Central America. The production of excellent chocolate relies heavily on the quality of the imported cacao. Belgian chocolatiers go to great lengths to create lasting relationships with cacao farms that pride themselves on growing top quality beans.
2. Old World Manufacturing Techniques
By now your mouth is surely watering, so look here on Venere for Brussels hotels to begin your own chocolate excursion! The beautiful Brussels hotels in Belgium are characterized by their Old World architectural style and grace. The same goes for the manufacturing strategies that make Belgian chocolate so special. The top Belgian chocolatiers adhere very strictly to methods of making chocolate that date back hundreds of years. This includes mixing certain ingredients by hand rather than by machine and having the chocolatiers actually taste the product at various stages of the process to tweak the taste to perfection. Some of the finest Belgian pralines and truffles are crafted entirely by hand by small rural chocolatiers in the countryside.
3. Careful Heating and Cooling
The process of heating and cooling chocolate plays a large role in the texture and taste of the product. Belgian chocolatiers have developed advanced methods of using specific temperatures at specific junctures in the production process. By maintaining ideal temperatures, the texture of the chocolate can become smoother and richer. A hallmark of Belgian chocolate is the way it melts in the mouth and delivers a gradual and layered release of lingering taste and silky texture.
4. Attention to Aroma
If proper temperatures are maintained at key points in the chocolate production process, the aroma of the product is retained. Aroma is an important part of the perceived taste of chocolate, and Belgian chocolatiers know this. They cool their chocolates slowly so the product maintains maximum aroma. Even great quality cacao beans can taste bad if they are not processed properly to achieve the ideal aroma. When you open a box of chocolates, the first two things you notice are the shape and appearance of the chocolates along with their distinct smell. Chocolate has the potential to smell slightly bitter or burnt if the production process is not ideal. Belgian chocolate typically smells deep and rich and has been likened to the smell of top-shelf coffee. Within the aroma of Belgian chocolate can be sensed notes of cinnamon, honey, vanilla and various other exotic flavors.
5. Delicious Details
Belgian chocolates have the ultimate eye-appeal. Great attention is showered on the way the chocolates appear, from their size and shape to the details in their outer shell texture and any additional ornamental features like sculptural flowers or sprinkles. Each Belgian chocolatier develops its own style for the shells of their pralines and truffles, paying careful attention to all aspects of the chocolate’s visual design. The designs far transcend the appearance of a typical chocolate bar, and some of the country’s top truffles come in extremely elaborate forms. In Belgium, you can find chocolates disguised as a variety of creatures, geometric designs and floral motifs.
About the Author: Louise Vinciguerra is a fantastic joke teller, has a million and one hobbies, and enjoys matching her fonts with her moods. When she’s not on Facebook, WordPress or Twitter, she’s traveling in search of delicious desserts, dabbling in urban farming or planning nature trips from her resident city of Rome. When she’s not doing any of the above, she sleeps.