The history of Belgian chocolate

Chocolaterie Mary – A Belgian Royal Warrant Holder since 1942 - One of the best Belgian chocolates.
The popularity of Belgian chocolate is due to its fine structure, the unique taste of African cocoa and pure cocoa butter. Chocolate in Belgium is an all-round experience.

Share This Post

Belgian chocolate

The popularity of Belgian chocolate is due to its fine structure, the unique taste of African cocoa and pure cocoa butter. Belgian chocolatiers are very creative: we can find a wide variety of flavours and combinations from classic pralines to exotic flavours, from classic shapes to the most original and unique ones.

Chocolate in Belgium is an all-round experience: it consists in a great variety of activities like visiting chocolate museums, taking part to chocolate tours and workshops where visitors can design their own chocolate.

Chocolates tasting tours in Brussels – Unique experience in Brussels.
Belgian chocolate

Belgian chocolate’s history

The history of Belgian chocolate dates back to the year 1635, when the abbot of Baudeloo Abbey in Ghent bought some chocolate. At that time, chocolate was only used by pharmacists as a tonic. In 1840, the chocolate manufacturer Berwaerts began to sell the first chocolate bars, tablets and statues. Afterwards, the first companies specialising in the production of chocolate were born, and are now the most popular ones: Neuhaus (1857), Côte d’Or (1883), Jacques (1896) and Callebaut (1911).

Four other important moments mark the history of Belgian chocolate:

  • In 1912, Jean Neuhaus Jr. invented the praline, the first chocolate with a soft filling.
  • In 1915, Louise Agostini, wife of Jean Neuhaus Jr., developed the first ‘ballotin’, a box in which pralines were packed.
  • In 1925, Charles Callebaut made one of the most important inventions: the transport of liquid chocolate.
  • In 1952, Côte d’Or launched the chocolate spread for the first time.

Belgium and its chocolate industry in annual figures.

  • Consumption of chocolate per person in Belgium: 6 kg.
  • Total turnover of the Belgian chocolate industry: 4,179 billion Euros (confectionery included).
  • Total production: 661,673 tons.
  • Total exports: 578,043 tons.
  • Total retail sales value of the Belgian chocolate market: 700 million Euros.
  • Proportion of the workforce employed in the chocolate industry: 8,5%.
  • Proportion of exports of the chocolate and confectionary industry: 11,2%.
  • Number of chocolate and pastry plants: 320.
  • Number of employees involved in the production of chocolate and confectionery: 7,619 employees (confectionery included).
  • Raw cacao arriving at the port of Antwerp: 190,000 tons.

Unique experience in Brussels: Belgian Chocolate tasting tour in Brussels.

Belgian chocolates tasting tour in Brussels: discover the history of Belgian chocolate and taste the well-known chocolate in the best shops of Brussels.

Belgian chocolates private tasting tour in Brussels: discover the history of Belgian chocolate and taste the well-known chocolate in the best shops of Brussels. Private and customized tour available.

Top activities

Guided tours - Private tours - Day trips - Unique experiences

More To Explore

White Beer “Blanche de Namur”
Antwerp

Belgian White Beers

Discover the rich history and refreshing taste of Belgian white beers. Known for their cloudy appearance and thirst-quenching qualities, Belgian white beers are brewed with a blend of cereals and spices like coriander and curaçao. Explore iconic brands like Blanche de Namur and Hoegaarden on our guided Belgian beer tour in Brussels. Book your spot now for an unforgettable experience!

Maredsous Abbey Beer (Copyright Tanguy Vercamer)
Antwerp

Belgian Abbey Beers

Discover Belgian abbey beers, their brewing method, and the history of this beer in this article. Leffe, Maredsous, Saint-Bernardus…

Orval and Chimay Beers
Antwerp

Belgian Trappist Beers

Discover the rich tradition of Belgian Trappist beers, authentic masterpieces of high fermentation produced exclusively in Cistercian abbeys. Explore iconic brands like Achel, Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, and Westvleteren, each with its distinctive flavor and alcohol content. Immerse yourself in the history, the limited availability of Westvleteren, and the prestigious ‘Authentic Trappist Product’ seal. Additionally, learn how these beers contribute to the global reputation of Belgian beers. Dive into our fascinating world of Belgian Trappist brewing now!