1. What is
the name given by Christian people in the beginning of our era
to the belief in more than one god.
2. What was
the recipe for a cocoa drink in the Maya times?
-50 % roasted cocoa beans
-50 % sapote nuts (fruits of the sapodilla) (ponteria sapota)
-ear flower (cymbopetalum penduliflorum) or xochinacaztli
-vanilla or tlilxochitl
-string flower (piper sanctum) or mecaxochitl
and if wanted
-chilli (capsicum annum)
-allspice (pimienta dioica)
-heart flower (magnolia mexicana) or yolloxochitl
3. When was
sugar added for the first time to the cocoa drink?
tells us that it was Spanish nuns living in Oaxaca in Mexico who
added sugar to the cocoa drink for the first time.
This happened in the very beginning of the 16th century.
4. Why is the
Choco-Story building called De Croone?
building dates back to the end of the 15th century and was a
wine tavern. It was a storage for wine and the local population
could buy wine there.
When e fresh consignment of wine had arrived the owner would
hang outside a crown, to inform the population.
In Flemish, the native language, a crown is "een kroon" or "croone"
in old writing.
5. When was
milk used instead of water for the first time in a cocoa drink?
Pierre Masson, who was the owner of a pub in Paris, published in
his book "Le Parfait Cafetier" for the first time a recipe
recommending milk instead of water for the preparation of a
6. How does
the chocolate fountain work ?
basin in the bottom part is heated. The chocolate melts and
becomes liquid. A screw brings the chocolate to the top of the
fountain, from where it flows back into the basin.
And the operation can be repeated.
7. What can
be dipped into chocolate ?
almost every food product. But fruit like strawberries, melon or
banana are very popular.
It is recommended to use fruit with a firm texture as it will
stick better to the fork.
What crumbles should be avoided.
8. Is white
chocolate, chocolate ?
chocolate is obtained by mixing together, refining and conching
milk powder, sugar and cocoa butter. Hence white chocolate
contains cocoa butter, one of the essential components of the
cocoa bean and is to be considered as chocolate.
9. Who does
consume most chocolate ?
of chocolate consumption per person/year :
Switzerland 10,2 kg
Norway 9,2 kg
Belgium 9,1 kg
Germany 9,0 kg
Ireland 8,8 kg
U.K. 8,8 kg
Austria 8,5 kg
Denmark 7,9 kg
Finland 6,2 kg
USA 5,3 kg
France 4,9 kg
Australia 4,8 kg
Netherlands 4,5 kg
Sweden 4,4 kg
Canada 3,9 kg
Italy 3,5 kg
Greece 2,5 kg
Portugal 2,- kg
Japan 1,8 kg
Spain 1,6 kg
Brazil 1,- kg
10. Why is
Belgian chocolate so popular ?
Subjectively : because the Belgians like good food and that the
Belgian chocolatiers have to satisfy their customers.
1. Since last century the composition of chocolate has been
regulated by law in Belgium.
2. In Belgium chocolate is finally milled to 18-20 micron, which
is below the sensitiveness of the taste buds of the tongue.
3. The Belgian praline, with its outer in nice real Belgian
chocolate and its delicate wide choice of fillings, is a
delicacy that is appreciated in all countries.
11. Why is
the Belcolade chocolate so good ?
Belcolade produces only from the finest raw materials and uses
only equipment allowing to maintain the taste and texture of the
traditional Belgian chocolate.
- Belcolade produces only for the professionals and does not use
other fats than cocoa butter.
- The brand Belcolade is only used for chocolate made in Belgium.
All this results in a specific Belcolade taste.
12. Why is
Belcolade not known to the public ?
Belcolade does not produce any finished products for the
consumer. This policy has been adopted by Belcolade not to
compete with its customers, the chocolatiers, praline makers or
confectioners and patissiers.
Belcolade produces its chocolates and fillings exclusively for
professionals, who turn them into delicious specialities, which
they sell to their own customers, the consumers.
13. What does
the cocoa % on a label mean ?
cocoa % you find on certain labels of chocolate products is an
indication for the % of cocoa mass used in that chocolate.
Example : 75 % cocoa means that in that chocolate there is 75 %
of cocoa mass.
14. How can
you produce chocolate without sugar ?
produce chocolate without sugar and especially chocolate without
added sugar, the sugar has to be replaced by an ingredient which
supplies less calories and which compensates the volume occupied
by the sugar. Maltitol is very suitable for chocolate because it
presents almost the same sugar intensity as sugar, but with no
aftertaste. It is also heat-stable and does not absorb water
which is an essential element of chocolate
15. What is
is a polyol (sweetener category additive E965). It is produced
from a disaccharide called maltose. Its sugar intensity is
almost equivalent to sugar (80 to 90%) whilst its calorific
value is 2.4Kcal/g compared to 4Kcal/g for sugar.
16. What is
lecithin and why is it added to chocolate ?
is an emulsifier (additive E322). Chocolate is a product
comprised of two phases: the fat phase (cocoa butter and milk
fat) and the solid phase (particles of sugar, cocoa and milk).
Lecithin promotes the contact between these two phases and makes
the mixture smoother. This emulsifier also helps reduce the
viscosity. Lecithin also has an effect on the spread of aromas.
Chocolate with lecithin will last longer in the mouth whereas
chocolate without lecithin will produce an intense peak of
flavour which will disappear very rapidly. Chocolate without
lecithin is more difficult to work because it is less smooth and
will have a tendency to contain more air which can produce
bubbles on the surface of products
17. How long
will dark, milk and white chocolate keep ?
between 16 and 20°C and at maximum 65% humidity, dark chocolate
will keep for 12 months, milk chocolate for nine months and
white chocolate for six months. Everything depends of course on
the type of chocolate, its condition at the beginning of the
conservation period, its packaging, storage conditions and the
type of finished product. Thus, if chocolate comes into contact
with another product (truffle fillings, cake...), its
conservation period will be governed by the other product
18. What is
fat bloom ?
bloom is due to re-crystallisation of the cocoa butter on the
surface of the chocolate. This gives the chocolate a white
appearance. It can be caused by bad tempering. Tempering is an
important stage which selects the most stable cocoa butter
crystal possible. When it is done badly, the cocoa butter will
have a tendency to re-crystallise over time towards a more
stable form. Whitening can also be caused by storing the
chocolate at the wrong temperature. When chocolate is stored at
too high a temperature especially one which varies, part of the
cocoa butter will melt and re-crystallise on the surface.
However, even if the tempering has been well done and good
storage conditions are respected, the chocolate will always
whiten in the end but it will happen a lot less quickly. Fat
bloom disappears when the chocolate is heated slightly and has
no effect on the enjoyment of the chocolate. Once it has been
re-melted it can be used again in all applications and is just
as good to eat
19. What is
form of whitening is less frequent and is brought about by
exposing the chocolate to humidity. Sugar has more affinity with
water than with cocoa butter which is the fatty phase. When it
becomes humid, the sugar will dissolve and re-crystallise on the
surface and this causes the white coating to appear.
The whiteness disappears only when the chocolate is heated and
it gives the surface of the chocolate a grainy feel. It is more
serious than fatty whitening to the extent that the chocolate is
no longer usable and it is sometimes even impossible to melt it
20. How should
chocolate be melted (in the kitchen)?
classic way is in the bain-marie. Water should be heated in a
pan (about 55°C) and the recipient containing the chocolate
should be placed in it. You must be careful not to allow water
into the chocolate at this stage and the chocolate should be
regularly stirred. A more modern method is the microwave. Three
quarters of the chocolate can be melted very slowly and in
stages. It should be stirred between each stage so that it does
not burn. This is quite tricky because you have to know the
power of the microwave (average power or defrost function).
Sometimes several trial runs must be made. Then you can add the
remaining chocolate and it will dissolve in the heat from the
chocolate which has already melted. This way the chocolate is
almost tempered and will have quite a shiny look.
of criollo, forastero
(Theobroma cacao L) comes from the upper part of the Amazon.
This tree was first cultivated by the Mayan people. As they
lived an isolated life, 2 types of cocoa were developed as
The first, called Criollo
corresponds to the "cocoa" subspecies and is found in Central
America and northern Colombia.
The second type is called
Forastero and corresponds to the "sphaerocarpum" subspecies
which is divided into two groups.
The Forastero of the upper
Amazon and the Forastero of the lower Amazon which is found in
As the Spanish carried
Criollo cacao along the Equator, first to the Caribbean and then
on to Indonesia, Java, the Philippines and Malaysia (where local
hybrids still show a strong Criollo influence), and the
Portuguese brought Brazilian Forastero to West Africa, the
variety in type and quality of cacao increased exponentially.
intentional and natural, of Criollo and Forastero varieties, and
eventually with their offspring, Trinitario, muddied the waters.
Seedlings from one region were transported to others and then
back again. One geneotype was no longer necessarily the only
tree growing in a specific region. Forastero soon came to
dominate cacao-growing regions across the globe. Notable
exceptions are Venezuela, small areas in Ecuador, portions of
Chiapas, Mexico, Nicaragua and the mountains of Belize. As more
growers switched to the lower-quality, disease-resistant
Forastero, the benefit of touting origin and varietal was
furthered the divorce from place. The separation of cocoa butter
from cocoa solids in 1828 by Conrad Van Houten of the
Netherlands fractured the components of a bean and allowed the
content to be manipulated. His innovation of treating the cocoa
powder with alkali to make it mix more easily further erased the
impact of lineage. Around the same time, the addition of milk
solids to chocolate continued the blurring of origin.
However, fine chocolatiers
still sought out higher-quality beans well into the first half
of the last century. It was only with the move to large-scale
manufacturing that origin virtually disappeared. The benefit of
product consistency, along with a need for secrecy fostered by
unbridled competition, resulted in the conscious anonymity of
chocolate. Brand reputation supplanted region reputation as
chocolate's origin was hidden from more and more consumers.
It was only recently that chocolate makers have again
acknowledged the superiority of certain origins and have begun
producing single-source chocolates. The chart above may help
simplify an extremely complex mélange of varietal and origin.
However, even on a single plantation, the genetic lines between
varietals are not distinct. Almost without exception, trees from
one origin (no matter how narrowly defined) are a blend.
Therefore, the chart above represents only the dominant strain
in a given place, recognizing there will be variations.
Predominant Bean Varietal(s) by Region
Mexico & Caribbean
| Ivory Coast
| New Guinea
* Arriba beans from a
region in Ecuador, while classified as Forastero, are highly
valued as a "flavor bean"
22. What does
to change a cocoa plantation from one type of cocoa to another
it is enough to graft the new type of cocoa on to the one you
want to replace.
This graft is done on the young stem of a tree as close to the
ground as possible, in order to prevent pods of the cocoa you
want to replace reappearing on the trunk.
There are three techniques:
The first consists of taking off the button with which the leaf
is attached to the branch. This removal is carried out with part
of the bark, which slips underneath the bark of the stem to be
grafted. But this technique does not give very good results. A
high percentage of grafts do not take if they are not done very
The second method which
gives good results is to fix a piece of stripped branch, to the
stripped part of the stem which is to be grafted.
The third method is to
insert the end of a branch in the upper part of the stem to be
grafted. As the end of branch inserted comprises many "buttons"
the results obtained are good.
The technique of grafting
makes it possible to change from one type of cocoa to another,
more disease-resistant type, giving bigger yields or better
Moniliasis is a
fungus which attacks the fruit of the cocoa-tree.
There is another
called "mancha negra" but it can be combated by
selection of the types of cocoa planted, because certain
varieties are resistant to this fungus.
This is sadly not
(yet) the case for moniliasis.
It is a very
serious disease which is spread quickly by the spores of
the fungus which are carried on the wind.
In Costa Rica most
of the cocoa crop was destroyed by this disease.
It made its
appearance in Tabasco, but was fought effectively. Only
around 500 ha of the 44.000 ha cultivated are currently
How do you
1. deformation of fruit less than 3 months old
2. coffee coloured spots with irregular edges on fruit
more than 3 months
old and/or aqueous rotting of the interior of the fruit
3. premature and non-uniform maturation
4. a white powder appears on the contaminated fruit
What can be done to stop
the spread of moniliasis?
o make the cocoa-plantation clearer. Less shade
o systematically remove all the rotted fruit
o install drainage
o renew the plantation and maintain it well.
There are several explanations that are given.
One is the
replacement after a cyclone of the destroyed Criollo
trees, by Forastero trees. Some Criollos would have
survived and formed a hybrid with the Forastero.
explanation is that the replacement was done by a hybrid
developed in a lab.
A third version,
which we heard in Venezuela is that the Island of
Trinidad, after being hit by a cyclone, was populated
with cocoa seedlings coming from the Orinoco region of
Venezuela where there was an existing hybrid of Criollo
and Forastero. This hybrid took the name Trinitario,
when it was exported from Trinidad.
This seems to us
the most credible explanation.
Why do only 2 to 3% of flowers become pods?
The reactions of the flowers after pollination are
important because they are either capable or incapable
of producing a fruit depending on the origin of the
pollen which is brought to them. Plantations are
established taking this phenomenon into account.
When the pollen of the cocoa tree is capable of
fertilising its own flowers, the cocoa tree is said to
be " auto-compatible ".
On the other hand, when the pollen of a cocoa tree is
not capable of fertilising its own flowers, the cocoa
tree is said to be " auto-incompatible " and its auto
pollinated flowers do not become pods, they wither and
Two auto-incompatible cocoa trees can exchange their
pollen and fertilise flowers if they are "
But this is not always the case.
" Auto-incompatible " trees are not in fact always
compatible between themselves. They can be "
Leaving aside all incompatibility problems, the small
number of pods that the tree produces - a few dozen -
bears no relation to the thousands of flowers that are
to be found on its trunk and its main branches. Why?
In order for a flower to develop into a fruit - a pod -
it must first be pollinated and then, not only visited
by insects carrying pollens, but compatible pollens.
In fact, nearly 60% of the flowers are never fertilised.
These flowers die and disappear.
Other flowers are only partially fertilised, the
visiting insects not having supplied enough compatible
A fruit then begins to develop that does not continue
It atrophies and dies. This insufficiency in pollination
affects a large number of fertilised flowers.
In general, less than 5% of the flowers initially
produced by the cocoa tree become "cherelles".
But up to 90% of the "cherelles" can still disappear:
before they are three months old, they dry and blacken.
This phenomenon is called "cherelle wilt".
This drying or "wilting" of young fruit is brought about
by the plant itself, which tries to limit the number of
pods to an amount it can successfully support.
The pods become mature after five to seven months of
development, when they have overcome the obstacles of
incompatibility, insufficient pollination, wilt, disease
What are the ideal climatic conditions for the Cocoa Tree?
To ensure a well-developed cocoa tree, you need soil
with a PH of between six and seven and with high organic
matter content at the surface.
The soil should
achieve a compromise between two sometimes contradictory
demands: ensuring good water retention on one hand and
being well-drained and therefore well aerated, on the
should be abundant but above all spread across the
entire year. Rainfall of 1500 - 2000 mm per year is
favourable if the dry season (less than 100mm a month,)
is no longer than three months
A hot and humid
atmosphere is indispensable to the cocoa tree. Seasonal
temperature fluctuations affect its growth and
development. It requires a rather high temperature with
an average maximum of 30 - 32 ºC and a minimum
temperature of 18-20 ºC. The absolute minimum must not
be below 10 ºC. These climatic conditions generally
occur between the 20th parallel north and the 20th
Fermenting the beans
With the pod cut open, the beans and their mucilage have
to be separated from the rest, eliminating any damaged,
malformed or mildewed beans.
The fresh beans, enveloped by their mucilage, must
constitute a sufficient mass into which air cannot
penetrate because everything must ferment.
Fermentation, or rather successive fermentations, will
make substances responsible for future aromas develop in
Good fermentation brings the temperature of the mass up
to about 45 °C. Substances are produced which penetrate
the bean and, together with temperature, play their part
in killing the embryo.
From a whitish (Criollo) or mauve (Forastero) colour,
the beans become progressively brown.
Beans which are not submitted to high enough
temperatures, do not ferment. They take on a slate grey
appearance and do not taste as good.
To avoid this, the mass of the beans must be stirred
In the first phase, fermentation starts.
Alcoholic fermentation occurs in the second phase where
no air must be present.
In the third phase, acetic fermentation demands the air
be present once again.
The length of fermentation varies according to the type
of cocoa tree.
Normally four to six days are necessary for Forastero
and Trinitario types, whereas fermentation of the
Criollo takes only two or three days.
Drying the beans
As the beans dry they, slowly stop the fermentation.
The transformation of the beans continues during drying
which causes the inside of the bean to become browner.
If drying happens too quickly, the oxidation reaction
becomes too limited and the acetic acid will remain
trapped, giving excessive acidity and changing the taste
of the chocolate made from the beans.
If drying occurs
too slowly, mildew can appear, whereas if it is too fast,
the cocoa produced will be too acid.
Heating should be
gentle for the first 48 hours in order to prolong
Beans dried in the
sun are less acid than those dried artificially.
What is the difference between lavado, beneficiado and fermentado
The beans are washed,
The cocoa beans
are not washed and are left to ferment for 1 to 2 days.
If they are sun dried, which is the best method, they
will have a brown colour.
If they are dried artificially, they will be purple
sometimes they are not washed and are left to dry in the
sun or artificially.
beans were fermented for ± 3 days for the Criollo and ±
5 to 6 days for the Forastero and Trinitario.
They were then washed, sun dried and coated with cocoa
That gave them a sheen and made them easier to preserve.
Today they are
fermented for 2 days, carefully covered to avoid air
They are then
fermented for another 4 to 5 days, being changed every
day to another container.
Except for the
Criollo where fermentation lasts only 3 days.
How many types of cocoa are there?
There are 22 recorded
species of cocoa.
Theobroma cocoa is
Theobroma bicolor is another.
cocoa species is composed of 14 groups of cocoa.
One of these
groups is genetically very homogeneous, that is the
The 13 other
groups vary genetically from one group to another; they
are the Forasteros.
bicolor species is also known as "pataste" in Mexico and
is a rarely grown species.
The tree is tall and is sometimes used in cocoa
plantations to provide shade.
It is to be noted
that the cocoa pod or the fruit of the pataste grows at
the end of the branches and not on the tree trunk, as is
the case of Theobroma cocoa.
In addition, the
husk is hard. In terms of consistency it is similar to a
The beans are bigger and flatter than cocoa beans.
Cut in 2 halves
Cocoa qualities and categories
For the world market,
the quality of a batch of cocoa is determined on the
basis of 3 criteria:
- The water content, which must be 7%
- The graining (number of beans per 100 grams) which
must be 100 beans or less
- The cut test, which determines the level of
fermentation (colour of the beans) and the number of
defects, such as mouldy or moth-eaten beans, etc.
However, there is
absolutely no measure or even indication of the aromatic
quality of batches.
The world market
divided cocoa batches into 3 categories:
- Bulk, or current cocoa. This represents 90% of the
market and is sold at prices determined on the stock
markets in New York and London.
- Fine Cocoa. Quotas are determined by an ICCO
(International Cocoa Organization) committee, which
takes more account of the relationship between supply
and demand than the real aromatic quality of the cocoa.
This type of cocoa can be sold at up to twice the market
- Rare Cocoa or single-origin cocoa. This type of cocoa
is in great demand and is traded over-the-counter.
Bulk cocoa is produced on 3 continents:
- Africa produces 70% of the world's production, with
the Ivory Coast alone accounting for1 405 000 tonnes in
2002/2003: it is the largest production in the world and
cocoa from Ghana (736 000 tonnes), which proposes the
best bulk, is sold above the market price.
- Asia markets
above all cocoa "butter", intended for the extraction of
cocoa butter. Indonesia produces 415 000 tonnes, sold
below the market price (except for Java which is a rare
cocoa) and Malaysia whose production is declining.
- Latin America is
the bulk producer of the USA, with Brazil: 163 000
tonnes, but whose production has declined significantly
owing to contamination by "witches broom", Mexico and
Sanchez cocoa from the Dominican Republic (which
represents 80% of that country's production).
of fine and rare cocoa
The world of cocoa considers that there are few main
origins of fine and rare cocoa. These are, from West to
- Ecuador, with
its Nacional variety (only 30% of the country's
production) which is well known for its hints of flowers:
the famous "Arriba" aroma. It is necessary however to be
vigilant since mixtures with less aromatic varieties,
such as the CCN 51, can occur. The market sees only
categories (SSS; SS etc.) based solely on the graining
and the number of defects and not the aromatic quality.
- Venezuela has
mainly 2 cocoa producing regions out of 8 which produce
fine cocoas. These are the Puerto Cabello, with the
villages of Chuao, Choroni and Ocumare and the Sur del
Lago, with porcelana type cocoas, a cultivar of criollo,
typical of only this region in Venezuela, characterised
by full aromas of honey, caramel and fresh nuts.
- The Caribbean:
all the islands from Trinidad to Cuba produce cocoa with
hints of tobacco, wood and dried fruit. The Dominican
Republic which produced non fermented cocoas, became
aware a few years ago of the potential of its varieties
and its land identical to those of neighbouring islands.
Today, this country markets 20% of its production as "Hispaniola"
- The archipelago
of Saõ Tomé e Principe is the place via which cocoa
entered Africa in 1822. Old Forastero Amelonados which
produce a subtle cocoa aroma are still found there today.
- Madagascar is
renowned for its slightly sharp and fruity cocoas of the
valley of Sambirano. Demand far outstrips supply. As a
result even ordinary cocoas of this origin are sold as
- The Island of
Java, in Indonesia is planted with old criollo, which
are very poular for their peaty or spicy hints; they can
be sold for up to 3 times the market price.
- Papua New Guinea
has volcanic soils, which are very suitable for the
production of fine cocoas, similar to those of Java.
No Sugar Added Chocolate & Sugar Free Chocolate
What is used in the place of sugar?
In most all chocolate types sugar is used as a sweetener
and a bulk ingredient.
ð Normal sugar (chemically known as sucrose or
saccharose) has a clean sweet taste. The sweetness of
sugar is often referred to as the standard with a value
ð In a typical chocolate composition the % of sugar is
anywhere between 30 to 55 %. And this is the same for
dark, milk or white chocolate. This high amount implies
that sugar is also an important bulk ingredient.
In the No Sugar
Added (NSA) chocolate all sugar has been replaced with
maltitol. Maltitol is a polyol (or sugar alcohol). It is
also used in crystalline form and has a sweetness that
is very close to sugar (sweetening power of 90). Since
also many of the other characteristics are similar to
those of sugar (like hygroscopicity, hardness, etc…) it
can be used in the same quantity as sugar.
Difference between sugar free and no sugar added.
Sugar belongs to the chemical group of carbohydrates. To
the same group belong also maltose, glucose, fructose,
lactose, etc… These mono- and disaccharides are referred
to as sugars.
Based on the
upcoming EU legislation a product can only be called
sugar free if it contains less than 0.5g of sugars per
100g of product.
All of these
sugars also occur naturally in ingredients. Full cream
milk powder e.g. contains: around 38% lactose. Cocoa
To understand the explanation it is necessary to note
the difference between dark, milk and white chocolate.
The table below represents the main components of each
No sugar added
milk or white chocolate can ever be called sugar free,
due to the presence of lactose sugar from the milk
very little sugars (< 0.5%)
lactose (a 'sugar')
How about the calories then?
Sucrose contributes around 4 kcal/100 g. Maltitol is
digested slower and in a different way than sugar and
contributes only 2.4 kcal/100 g. Most of the calories in
a chocolate however come from the fat.
To claim about the
energy-reduction of a product the EU law requires a
reduction in kcal's of min. 30% in comparison with a
standard product. For No Sugar Added chocolate it is
only possible to make energy-reduced food when it is
combined with other foodstuffs where the energy
reduction is much more than the legally required 30%.
The table below illustrates why:
chocolate with 35% fat
|| Difference in Kcal
|| Differencein Kcal (%)
Unfortunately there exists
no good solution to replace or reduce the fat content of chocolate
(to reduce even more the calory content).
Does maltitol provide benefits for diabetics?
Since diabetics have problems to regulate the glucose level
in their blood, the consumption of carbohydrates (type of
carbohydrates and quantity) are of particular importance to
them. A lot of diabetic people will prefer to eat chocolate
with no added sugar, even though the GI of normal chocolate
suggests that it is also not so bad.
The origins of Belgian chocolate's enviable reputation
Belgian citizens are
lovers of fine foods. The basic chocolate ingredients
have to be of an outstanding quality.
chocolate composition regulations began to be applied in
Belgium a long time ago.
The first such regulations were ushered in back in 1884:
all products featuring the name chocolate had to contain
at least 35% of pure cocoa.
The composition was provided with a legal setting
in1924. (Black) fatty chocolate has to contain 45% cocoa,
50% of sugar and 5% of miscellaneous dry products.
Chocolate in Belgium is ground down to 15-18 microns, as
the tongue can sense grains 18 microns in size or over.
This avoids having a grainy taste in the mouth when the
chocolate melts on the tongue.
c. Choice of beans
According to tradition, Belgian chocolate makers have
always used high-quality cocoa beans. The price does not
come into it: they are selling quality chocolates.
A company like Côte d'Or, one of the splendours of
Belgian chocolate-making, has definitely helped to
define the taste of Belgian chocolate over the years.
A nice-to-have, easy-to-eat product.
The taste may be adapted thanks to various types of
Neuhaus invented this product in Belgium in 1912.
Pralines are now recognised as being typically Belgian.
Pralines have definitely helped to enhance the enviable
reputation of Belgian chocolate.
factors that may have contributed
a. The very same
Neuhaus and wife invented the tuck-in-end box in 1915,
thereby improving the packaging format and making the
chocolates easier to carry
Kestekidès, the nephew of Leonidas' founder, invented
the "manon" in 1935. This large white chocolate-coated
praline certainly helped to promote the demand for white
chocolate with a mouth-wateringly milky taste.
c. The Leonidas
Company's first shop with an open front was launched in
1936 on boulevard Anspach. This along-the-street sales
concept marked the beginning of the Leonidas success
story, and, thanks to a reasonably priced quality
product, helped to spread the word about the virtues of
the praline in particular and Belgian chocolate-making
quite a long time we have been asking ourselves what could be
the origin of the biscuits that are featured on the mosaic dating
from 1750 and of which a copy is attached.
Belcolade and other couverture chocolate manufacturers exporting
their high-quality chocolates to the four corners of the globe.
This has certainly helped to promote Belgian chocolate's enviable
Dunking biscuits in chocolate in Spain
The mosaic can be found in the ceramics museum in Barcelona.
It is therefore logical that we found the information we were
looking for in this town.
We were told that
- In Madrid, it was "churros"
that were dunked in cocoa. Moreover, it is still being done
today in Spain.
- In Majorca, it was "ensaimadas",
prepared with lard called "saïm" in Arab. This speciality
is presumed to date from the Arab invasion of Spain.
- In Barcelona, it was
"melindros", a kind of sponge cake biscuit, but
lighter and a little more compact.
Rainforest Chocolate ?
Choco-Story has recently selected two new "Rainforest"
labelled chocolates from among the wide range of
couverture chocolates proposed by the Belgian chocolate
maker Belcolade: Costa Rica 38 (milk) and 64 (dark).
These chocolates are made exclusively from "organic" and
"Rainforest Alliance" certified beans originating in
We are very keen on this certification because it goes
far beyond the traditional simple fair trade concepts.
The "Rainforest Alliance" label is the guarantee:
- that the cocoa is grown in a way that is compatible
with protecting the tropical forest;
- that growers obtain a higher price for their cocoa
production and have access to training;
- that the living and working conditions of workers are
improved, that they are correctly paid and that their
working conditions are acceptable and accompanied by
health care and that they have access to education;
- of the constantly improving quality of cocoa products.
The origins of the praline
While everyone seems to agree that the word praline
comes from the name of Marshal of Plessis-Praslin whose
cook invented the grilled almond coated in melted sugar,
which he called a praline, the Robert gives yet another
explanation for the verb "praliner".
"Pralinage" is used
in agriculture to describe an operation which consists
in coating the roots of a young tree that is about to be
planted or seeds that are about to be sown with a thick
mixture of soil and manure to protect them against
Botanical information about cacao
The cacao tree is a member of the Sterculiaceae family.
The tree belongs to
the Theobroma genus.
Other plants in
the Sterculiaceae family include the Guazuma and
genus covers 22 species including :
Theobroma bicolor or pataste
Theobroma grandiflorum or cupuaçú
and, first and
foremost, Theobroma cacao.
has 2 subspecies:
Theobroma cacao ssp.cacao = Criollo
Theobroma cacao ssp.sphaerocarpum = Forastero.
Mention is also
made at times of
- cultivar : which means variety
- clone : which is a copy
- hybrid : is a cross-fertilisation.