Living in the “kingdom of chocolate”, finally I decided to write something about the Belgian pralines. When it comes to Belgium, many of my Chinese friends back home could associate it with the world-famous chocolate. But what exactly is Belgian chocolate famous for? Most local people will tell you the pralines, you can so many chained or independent chocolatiers in any Belgian cities.
Neuhaus is now a well-known Belgian chocolate chain. Behind this chocolate master, there is the story of how Belgian praline is invented. In 1912, Jean Neuhaus expands his grandfather’s idea of filling medicines with chocolate, Jean replaced the medicines with delight to create the first filled chocolate. He calls it ‘praline’, which becomes symbol of Belgian chocolate and praline later becomes the most important product of every Belgian chocolatier.
Unlike the American cream-based pralines, Belgian pralines are with a softer or liquid filling. The filling can be made of hazelnut, almonds, sugar, syrup and often milk-based pastes. Nowadays there’re some chocolatiers that use all kinds of creative flavoured paste.
The other day, I discovered a chocolate atelier called Bittersweet in the centre of Leuven. The shop was opened in 2011, but it isn’t that noticeable from the exteriors, it looks more of a small random office. Maybe that’s the reason I keep missing it for like 5 years?!
Just as the company philosophy writes,
To surprise customers and make them smile and enjoy through tastes, shapes and colours.
When I entered the shop, I was so surprised how colourful and cute those pralines are!
The chocolatier is always experimenting with new flavors and shapes. I couldn’t get my eyes off those lovely shaped pralines. They don’t look so “serious”, there’re shaped in cloud, “love”, rock, robot, lego, skull, even the Brussels sprouts, lol.
I picked some cute ones in a small box. How do you like my choice?
So, is it tasty?
When I sent the picture to some friends, they asked me if they are tasty or just look cute. I know…. they look too beautiful. Don’t be fooled by their “not so serious” look, but they taste seriously great just like any traditional-looking pralines. The flavor wasn’t that usual, for example, the “robot” one has the “Green sencha” filling and the “love” one is with the “chilli peanut” filling. Interesting , isn’t it?
Here is how the filling looks like. xd
More than pralines
Easter is one month away, you can find Easter chocolate eggs already everywhere. Those ones look so arty.
Brownie and chocolate orange
Some days of the week, the chocolate atelier is open for public to visit. It was an interesting experience for me to see how a praline is shaped from the mold and how they colour it or add some special pattern on the surface. I feel it’s such a great job to be a chocolatier.