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Chocolate is deeply embedded in Belgian history and culture, culinarily as well as emotionally. With iconic chocolatiers at practically every street corner, it’s easy to find a piece of chocolate for every taste or budget. How is Belgian chocolate made, and what sets it apart from other types of chocolate across the globe? Chef chocolatier Noël dives into the history, traditions and innovations that make Belgian chocolate one of a kind.

Chocolate is part of Belgian culture

Belgians are bon vivants! From a slow-cooked, rich beef stew with homemade bread to a crispy, light waffle powdered with sugar, good food is part of our everyday culture. Chocolate has been a staple of Belgian sweets since the 19th century. That’s why finding chocolate in Belgium is so easy. From high-end chocolate shops in city centres to meters and meters of chocolate bars available in supermarkets, there’s a chocolate bonbon for every taste and every budget.

But in Belgium, chocolate is not just part of our culinary history, it is deeply embedded in our relationships. When you go to visit someone at their house, when you celebrate a birthday, when you want to say thanks, … you surprise them with a chocolate gift! For over 100 years, we have been treating others (and ourselves) to boxes of chocolate bonbons, known as ‘ballotins de pralines’.

No wonder Rosalie’s chocolates come in iconic gift boxes >>

The secret of Belgian chocolate: flavoured by law and tradition

Belgian chocolate is known for its artisanal character. The most renowned Belgian chocolatiers – Neuhaus, Godiva, Leonidas and Côte d’Or – have been around since the beginning of the 20th century. Therefore, they can tap into longstanding traditions for chocolate-making techniques and flavouring. Each Belgian chocolatier has its iconic piece that matches flavour and shape and tells the story of the brand and its history.

The quality of Belgian chocolate is not just the result of its rich chocolate tradition, it’s firmly carved into its legislature. Belgian law requires a minimum cocoa content when chocolate is made, which is higher than in other countries such as Germany or the US. And because the cocoa is finely rolled, the combination gives Belgian chocolate its soft flavour palate and tong-melting quality. Like Rosalie’s hazelnut praliné à l’ancienne – made from an original mix of almonds and hazelnuts and coarse-grained to give it a delicate crunch – Belgian chocolate is made for gourmands!

Sustainable innovations in how chocolate is made

In recent years, innovation in chocolate-making has made strong improvements in how chocolate is made. Brands actively try to reduce their carbon footprint and work with ethically and ecologically sourced ingredients. For Rosalie’s, sustainability is a priority. We use all-natural ingredients and source all of our cocoa through the Cocoa Horizons program, which ensures sustainable cocoa harvesting and fair wages for cocoa farmers. Innovations do not just reduce the environmental impact of chocolate-making but can also enhance the texture, density and flavours of chocolate. Water jet cutting, for example, allows chocolatiers to combine textures such as mousse and crunch in a piece of chocolate that would be squeezed together if it had to be cut with a knife or blade.

Ready to try some iconic Belgian flavours? Order your box of Rosalie’s chocolates here >>

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