Belgian chocolate, a mouth-watering experience...
Belgian chocolate may be best, but it was not first
Cocoa was probably first used by the Olmecs, a people living in the
East-Mexican lowlands from 1300-400 BC. More recent historic records show
that the Mayas and Aztecs drank chocolate, but it was not something that most of
us would have enjoyed: it was bitter, being based on roasted kernels seeds of
cocoa blended with spices. The Mayas gave it its name: xocolati, or 'God
Food'. The Aztecs considered the drink so sacred that only rich people
could afford it. Lesser mortals had to wait for the special ceremonies.
Cocoa seeds were so valuable that they were frequently used as currency.
It is said that when the Spanish conquistadors seized the great Aztec Emperor
Montezuma's palace they found large piles of cocoa beans instead of gold and
So, what's Belgium got to do with it then?
The country benefits from a high concentration of highly-skilled chocolatiers,
who make almost all their chocolate by hand and also put a lot of work in the
filling and the decoration. They will only use the finest cocoa.
What is good chocolate?
Colour is not always a good indicator of quality. A darker colour may mean richer but not necessarily better chocolate. Look out for following telltale signs of good chocolate :
The different types of chocolateMilk chocolate: is a creamy, sweet variety of chocolate with more sugar, milk, vanilla and cocoa. A good-quality milk chocolate bar should contain a minimum of 30% cocoa solids.
White chocolate: is made from cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids, but does not contain any actual cocoa liquor.
Dark (or plain) chocolate: does not contain milk solids, just cocoa liquor and cocoa butter. A good-quality dark chocolate bar should contain a minimum of 50% cocoa solids. It is the healthiest of the three chocolates.