Food9 July 2023
Chocolate holds a rich history of captivating people's hearts and taste buds. The earliest civilizations to discover and embrace chocolate were the ancient societies of Mexico and Central America. The Mayans and Aztecs revered chocolate as a sacred beverage and cherished it as a precious sustenance—a divine offering. As Spanish explorers journeyed to the Americas, they introduced chocolate to Europe, where it swiftly gained popularity.
Arguably the most universally beloved flavor in the world, chocolate transcends age, nationality, and gender, finding a place in countless applications. This delectable treat, which occupies a significant role in our daily lives, even has its own dedicated day. Every year on July 7, chocolate enthusiasts from all corners of the globe come together to commemorate the day this delightful indulgence entered our lives.
To mark this occasion, we present to you five varieties of chocolate that we would love for you to discover on "World Chocolate Day." If you have your coffees at the ready, let's embark on our delectable journey.
Switzerland undoubtedly stands out as one of the foremost countries associated with chocolate. The question arises: why is that the case? Switzerland is home to several globally renowned chocolate brands like Lindt, Toblerone, Nestlé, Cailler, and Sprüngli, and chocolate production is considered an art form. From the invention of milk chocolate to the advancement of innovative techniques, Switzerland has been at the forefront, pioneering various aspects of chocolate-making. Strict regulations are in place to ensure that the highest standards are met during the production process. The outcome is chocolate of exceptional quality, renowned worldwide for its flavor.
Swiss chocolate offers a rich, dark taste and an extensive range of fillings, incorporating nuts and creamy milk. It boasts a highly refined flavor profile that caters to nearly every palate, and each year, new creations are introduced to the market. By combining local ingredients such as honey, hazelnuts, and fruit with meticulous craftsmanship, Swiss chocolatiers entice chocolate enthusiasts from around the globe to visit and experience the chocolate heritage firsthand. These chocolate lovers travel great distances in pursuit of this delectable taste, endeavoring to learn everything about the art of chocolate by visiting Swiss chocolate factories, attending tastings, and participating in workshops.
Now we shift our focus to another country, Switzerland's closest competitor in the chocolate realm: Belgium. Belgium is renowned for being home to some of the world's most famous chocolates and is almost synonymous with the indulgence itself. Its chocolates, often compared to those from Switzerland, boast a massive fan base. Let's delve into what sets Belgian chocolate apart from its closest rival.
Belgian chocolate distinguishes itself with a higher cocoa content, resulting in a more intense dark flavor compared to Swiss chocolate. It also contains less milk and sugar in comparison.
Belgium's chocolate makers have achieved this unique flavor profile by utilizing high-quality cocoa beans. The country even has laws in place to ensure that the percentage of cocoa butter used in chocolate production never falls below thirty-five percent. Furthermore, these laws stipulate the exclusive use of high-quality fats, such as superior-grade butter.
It can't be a coincidence that a country that places so much importance on chocolate and enforces strict rules about it produces world-class chocolates, can it? Famous chocolate brands such as Godiva, Leonidas, Neuhaus, Wales, Mary, Mary, Belvas, Guylian, Monet, Lindt, Anton Berg and Bruyerre support our argument. Moreover, many of these chocolate brands have a long history. For example. Godiva, one of Belgium's most prestigious and expensive chocolate brands, has been producing chocolate since 1926. Leonidas, which offers traditional Belgian chocolates at more affordable prices, was founded in 1913, while Neuhaus, one of the oldest chocolate brands in Belgium, started its operations in 1857.
Now let's explore another country, Mexico, which may come as a surprise to some as it joins the list of "Countries famous for their chocolate." Mexico, known for its spicy and flavorful cuisine, showcases these characteristics in its chocolates as well.
It has gained significant popularity, particularly in European countries. In Europe, the term "Mexican chocolate" often refers to hot chocolate varieties infused with flavors like vanilla and cinnamon. The combination of spice and chocolate might not have crossed your mind before, but in Central America, both solid and hot chocolates seasoned with chili pepper enjoy great popularity.
Dubbed by its enthusiasts as "a rare and luxurious treat," Ruby chocolate is a novel type of chocolate crafted from a distinct and special cocoa bean known as the "ruby cocoa bean." In 2017, Barry Callebaut, the renowned chocolate brand based in Zurich, introduced Ruby chocolate after an extensive period of research and development, aiming to offer a unique chocolate experience to those seeking something different. Characterized by its pastel pink color and an entirely distinctive flavor, this chocolate is the culmination of 13 years of meticulous work. Ruby chocolate derives its natural color and flavor profile from unfermented Brazil Lavados cocoa beans, resulting in a taste that appeals to those with discerning palates. It is swiftly gaining recognition as a must-try indulgence in the world of chocolate.
As you may already know, matcha refers to the finely ground powder made from green tea leaves, which holds a significant role in Japan's traditional tea ceremonies. With its vibrant emerald green color, distinctive aroma, and slightly bitter taste, matcha has found its way into the world of chocolate.
Matcha Chocolate combines the unique bitterness of matcha tea with the flavor of white chocolate, offering a distinct chocolate experience that serves as a delightful gift, particularly for green tea enthusiasts. If you are familiar with the flavor of matcha, you are likely to appreciate this special chocolate creation, which deserves to be savored for its intriguing taste.