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How Belgium Got the ‘Jump’ on Fine Chocolate
Belgium had a jump on most of the rest of the world in the appreciation and development of fine chocolate. Through a unique set of circumstances – some just plain luck and others political, Belgium was one of the first developed nations of the world which was exposed to chocolate and figured out what to do with it.
A Little Chocolate History
The earliest history of human interaction with chocolate can be traced back to more than 2,000 years ago when the ancient cultures of Mexico and Central America discovered the fruit of the cacao tree and mixed the seeds with spices to create a dark, frothy drink.
Monks who worked in Mexico and Central America shared the cacoa plant and its fruit with Spanish explorers who then returned to Europe from South America and popularized the new drink in the royal court.
Chocolate & Politics
If chocolate first came to Spain you might wonder how chocolate got to Belgium so quickly. This is where politics came in.
During the 17th century, Spain ruled Belgium, which meant that a number of Spanish aristocracy and rulers lived in Belgium and traveled back and forth from Spain to Belgium. Chocolate gained notoriety as royalty, artists and others of nobility enjoyed the drink.
Belgium got another jump on the competition when King Leopold colonized the Belgian Congo in 1885, giving the country a ready supply of cacao.
Soon, imported cacao became a trade, new recipes were invented and shared, and within 100 years, fine chocolate spread throughout Europe.
ChezSlaughter Chocolate of Shreveport-Bossier City, LA is a roving artisan chocolate company. We make chocolate confections from premium Belgian chocolate and handcraft artisan caramels and cookies such as Biscotti. We also offer chocolate workshops and chocolate-themed parties.
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