Belgian is best?
We’ve said it a lot of times, but maybe never actually on the pages of this site. ‘Belgian’ chocolate does not mean good chocolate! Or chocolates for that matter. Some time in the past, in the 80s I guess, the Belgians got away with some very slick marketing that convinced so many of us around the world that sickly over-sweet confections made with industrial techniques and lab created additives, dressed up in a imitation French boutiques, equalled quality and style. This misconception somehow spread like a virus, transmitted through concessions selling to captive audiences in international airports terminals.
Of course not all that is Belgian is bad. There are some great, true chocolatiers in Belgium and, let’s face it, Belgium is home to Callebaut, the world powerhouse of chocolate couverture in all grades, from unashamedly industrial to passable origin. This does not make ‘Belgian chocolate’ a by-word for quality though. As with many walks of life, generalisations and stereotypes don’t work. Selection and origin of ingredients are at the heart of ‘the art of the chocolatier’, not quantity.
Next time you visit your local ‘Belgian’ chocolate shop, ask them the origin of their chocolate. If the answer is ‘Belgium’ (to date no cocoa plantations sighted there), make for the exit, fast.