Belgium Chocolate Industry
Belgium Chocolate Industry
First introduction is when Spanish conquistadors met Azctec king. 1585 first recorded shipment from veracruz to Sevilla, Spain and spread to Europe from there. The first recorded shipment of chocolate to Europe for commercial purposes was in a shipment from Veracruz to Sevilla in 1585.  It was still served as a beverage, but the Europeans added cane sugar to counteract the natural bitterness and removed the chili pepper while retaining the vanilla, in addition they added cinnamon as well as other spices. In Spain, it quickly became a court favorite.
In a century it had spread and become popular throughout the European continent.  To keep up with the high demand for this new drink, Spanish armies began enslaving Mesoamericans to produce cacao.  Even with cacao harvesting becoming a regular business, only royalty and the well-connected could afford to drink this expensive import.  Before long, the Spanish began growing cacao beans on plantations, and using an African workforce to help manage them.  The situation was different in England.
Put simply, anyone with money could buy it.  The first chocolate house opened in London in 1657. 30] In 1689, noted physician and collector Hans Sloane developed a milk chocolate drink in Jamaica which was initially used by apothecaries, but later sold to the Cadbury brothers in 189715] For hundreds of years, the chocolate-making process remained unchanged. When the Industrial Revolution arrived, many changes occurred that brought about the food today in its modern form. A Dutch family’s (van Houten) inventions made mass production of shiny, tasty chocolate bars and related products possible. In the 18th century, mechanical mills were created that squeezed out cocoa butter, which in turn helped to create hard, durable chocolate. 32]
But, it was not until the arrival of the Industrial Revolution that these mills were put to bigger use. Not long after the revolution cooled down, companies began advertising this new invention to sell many of the chocolate treats we see today.  When new machines were produced, people began experiencing and consuming chocolate worldwide.  At the end of the 18th century, the first form of solid chocolate was invented in Turin by Doret. This chocolate was sold in large quantities from 1826 by Pierre Paul Caffarel in Italy. In 1819, F. L. Cailler opened the first Swiss chocolate factory.
In 828, Dutchman Coenraad Johannes van Houten patented a method for extracting the fat from cocoa beans and making powdered cocoa and cocoa butter. Van Houten also developed the “so-called” Dutch process of treating chocolate with alkali to remove the bitter taste. This made it possible to form the modern chocolate bar. The German company Jordan & Timaeus sold the first known chocolate bar made from cocoa, sugar and goat’s milk in 1839.  In England, the company,J. S. Fry & Sons discovered a way to mix some of the cocoa butter back into the Dutched chocolate, and added sugar, creating a paste that could be moulded.
This led to the first British chocolate bar in 1847, followed in 1849 by the Cadbury brothers. Wikipedia In most cases, the answer will be: chocolate – surprisingly or not. But when and how did Belgium become synonymous for top-quality chocolate? The history of Belgian chocolate reaches back as far as the 17th century, when the country was ruled by the Spanish, whose explorers had brought cocoa back from South America. At the time, cocoa was enjoyed as a luxury drink for the royals, nobility and artists who visited the royal courts in Brussels.
Interestingly, the story of Swiss chocolate can also be traced back to Brussels. In the late 17th century, Henri Escher, the mayor of Zurich, visited Brussels and fell in love with the cocoa drinks he was served. He was so over the moon that he introduced the idea to Switzerland. Three centuries later, Switzerland remains Belgium’s main competitor when it comes to chocolate. In the centuries that followed, chocolate became increasingly popular amongst a wide public, but it took until the second half of the 19th century for Belgium to truly indulge in its passion for chocolate.
Under the rule of King Leopold II, Belgium colonised Congo, where it found its own unlimited cocoa supply. This put Belgium right at the heart of the cocoa trade. Back in Belgium, in 1857, Jean Neuhaus (funnily enough of Swiss origin) had opened a pharmaceutical sweets shop in Brussels, where he also sold bars of bitter chocolate. The first chocolate shop was born. Some 60 years later, it was Neuhaus’ grandson who invented the praline when creating an empty chocolate shell with a sweet filling. So, what makes Belgian chocolate so special, so very delicious and in a league of its own? The secret is two-fold: ingredients and process.
Of course, the origin and orientation of the cacao plantation, as well as the roasting of the beans all help to determine the flavour. But the main reason for the pure and full cocoa flavour is the fact that no vegetable shortening is used. Belgian chocolate traditionally mixes cocoa paste, sugar and cocoa butter in varying proportions. Dark Belgian chocolate uses the most cocoa; milk chocolate mixes in milk; and white chocolate is made be extracting only the butter from the cocoa. On the other hand, there is the process, which to date is steeped in tradition and craftsmanship, and still holds a hint of secrecy.