Saying that Belgians love chocolate is a real understatement. “For us, chocolate is a devouring passion, a sweet addiction, and our national pride.” Undoubtedly, Belgian chocolate is some of the finest in the world, with a very distinctive flavor all its own, in large part because we use cocoa beans from Africa, which are stronger and more assertive than the milder South American beans favored by American Chocolatiers.
Daily social life in Belgium would be unimaginable without chocolate. Beginning at breakfast, we indulge our passion with a thick, smooth chocolate paste that is smeared generously on a slice of bread. This chocolate paste, which is sometimes mixed with nuts, is the Belgian equivalent of peanut butter and appears on our tables just as frequently. Chocolate milk, a favorite with children as well as adults, is made with dark, strong chocolate, and to my taste is the best chocolate drink I ever had. In Belgium, one never appears empty-handed at the door of relatives, friends, or acquaintances for even the most casual visit. A box - it may be small but always beautifully wrapped and beribboned - containing fine chocolate pralines is a must.