A chocolate bar is always welcome, but some chocolates are a cut above the rest. Belgian chocolate is the “Rolls Royce” of chocolate. It is thought to have greater texture and flavor—and the Swiss (who are already much-respected for having amazing chocolate) were so impressed by the method that they even imported it. Even those who don’t know much about chocolate (but love a good, rich chocolate bar whenever they can) immediately recognize the term as a sign of quality. If it’s Belgian chocolate, they say, it must be good.
Belgian chocolate’s reputation is much deserved. Most Belgian chocolate continues to be handmade in small chocolate outlets. These places often employ the same techniques and even machines that have been used for generations.
Belgian chocolate’s popularity was already evident as early as the 18th century, though the reputation really took off in 1912, when a man called Jean Neuhaus introduced what he called the "couverteur." Basically this was a chocolate shell that could be filled with delicious creams, fruits, nuts and nougats, or another chocolate mixture. The chocolate pralines were an instant hit, and Belgian companies such as Leonidas, Neuhaus, Godiva and Nirvana soon became famous for their melt-in-your-mouth concoctions.
While other countries have employed this method to make their own chocolates, Belgian chocolate companies employed a unique technology and method. Other companies buy solid chocolate blocks that must be melted before it is processed. Unfortunately chocolate loses much of its aroma when it is cooled. Belgian chocolatiers, on the other hand, get their chocolate straight from heated tanker trucks. So while others try to copy the process, they can’t copy the Belgian advantage.