Don't Forget About Belgian Chocolate
When he got lost looking for a shortcut to India in the late 1400s, Christopher Columbus found the delicious treat known as chocolate in the New World. It is commonly believed that the ancient Aztecs were to have drunk chocolate a long time before anyone else in the world even knew of its existence. In its original formulation, it was a very bitter concoction created from the roasted seeds of cocoa and mixed with spices. In the Americas it was considered to be a sacred drink that was enjoyed by the Aztecs but only the very elite of their society could afford it. The Aztecs were not ignorant of the value of the cocoa bean and began using it as part of their monetary system and to buy their gold.
The treat that got its start in the New World is the same that would become known as Belgian chocolate, which is the original recipe that was kept secret by the Spanish Aristocrats. The nobility couldn't keep the success of the drink from spreading to other European countries however, and it became widespread. The European nobles experimented with the recipe and were the first to add sugar to it, which made it much more drinkable then the previously bitter drink originated by the Aztecs. Medical practitioners even professed that it cured certain diseases because it held such a high and sacred value. When chocolate arrived in Belgium it was considered to be a magnificent gift, due to all of the history that came with it and the legends of its medicinal effect that it was told to have. The Belgian confectionary created the praline filling for the chocolate in 1912, which was packaged to give out as special gifts to others. The delicacy soon became known as Belgian chocolate because of the unique filling the Belgians created in rich milk chocolate.
To make the special chocolate it is first taken from large pods that come from the cocoa tree, and then the cocoa seeds or beans are taken from the pods. The beans are then sun dried and delivered to the chocolate makers. Once the Belgians get the beans they roast them and crush them into the cocoa powder that they make the Belgian chocolate with. They then add the cocoa butter that comes from the beans and add that to the powder, sugar, and the milk powder.
The Belgian chocolate makers are very choosy with the cocoa powder that they allow for use in the making of Belgian chocolate and will only allow the finest quality to be used. They use the same discretion when it comes to picking the ingredients they use to make their chocolate filling that is known as praline. They make this product by hand so that they can be sure to bring out only the finest possible chocolate. The pride in their product also leads them to choose the cocoa beans by hand as well so that only the best possible source product is sued in the making of Belgian Chocolate.