The charm of Belgian chocolates
Belgian chocolate, whether it comes as bars and in various shapes, powder or topping, has something for every taste. Its most stylish recipe is certainly the "praline", which was invented in Belgium in 1912. For Belgians, pralines are a chocolate novelty or a mouthful of filled chocolate that comes in many flavors.
The interesting thing is that the French and Belgians do not have the same understanding of the "praline". In France, it is a roasted almond or hazelnut wrapped in drop and icing sugar. The cook of Marechal du Plessis-Praslin, ambassador of Louis XIII, invented this recipe. At the time if was referred to as a "pralisne".
Yet, in Belgium, the definition of the “praline” describes a chocolate sweet, generally filled. Jean Neuhaus invented it. The house of Neuhaus was founded in 1857, and originally made pharmaceutical sweets, but evolved over the years into a pastry shop famous throughout the city.
At the start of the century in 1912, Jean Neuhaus Jr. invented the first cold-filled chocolate sweet, which he called "praline". Three years later, he developed a new type of cardboard package, the familiar tuck-in end chocolate box. The company constantly developed new recipes for its pralines.
The charm of these sweets lies in the mixture between the filled chocolate and the chocolate coating. Chocolate makers take the utmost care in choosing the finest cocoa and the most refined ingredients to make the filling of the pralines. The quality of the chocolate is influenced by the choice of cocoa beans and the quantity of the ingredients, which give it all its characteristics (its smell, touch, colour, etc.).
In Belgium traditional chocolate makers produce and decorate their pralines largely by hand. Each of these creations receives a personal touch, the signature of a unique product, the praline. Today, Belgium has several dozens of chocolate and praline makers. Many of these chocolate and confectionary makers have been able to sell in export markets, by emphasizing the specific features of Belgian chocolates.