Written by Bob Monk

The word “Chocolate” is derived from the word “xocolatl” of the Aztecs of Mexico. The Aztecs associated chocolates with the goddess of fertility, “Xochiquetzal“.  No wonder, even today chocolate is considered aphrodisiac.

The Spanish Conquistadors learned about chocolates from the new world and introduced it to Europe through Spain in the year 1502. Spanish explorer Herman Cortés learned how to convert the bitter cocoa bean to the wonderful chocolate drink from the Aztecs and brought this treasure back in Spain.

Chocolate grew in popularity with the Spaniards and the preparation method remained a secret with Spain for over 100 years. It’s a wonder then when we discuss who makes the best chocolates, we discuss about Belgium or France or Switzerland but hardly any body discuss chocolates made in Spain.

In France, Chocolate was received with skepticism and was considered a “noxious drug”.  In 1615, a French Queen, Anne of Austria, wife of Louis XIII declared chocolate as the drink of the French court and saved the day for the French and Chocolate.

In the early 17th century, chocolate traveled to Italy and England and very soon became popular. In 1650, chocolate became quite a rage in Oxford.

So far, from its introduction to Europe in 1500 till 1650, we do not find any association of chocolates with the Switzerland or Belgium. And we are still left wondering, how come these two countries became synonymous with highest quality of chocolates.

In fact, Switzerland began making chocolates only in 1800. At that time, they had lots of cows but not much cocoa or sugar. Another interesting little known fact about chocolate is that it was available only as a cocoa or a liquid form till 1879. It was Rudolph Lindt who thought to add cocoa butter back to the chocolate. Adding the additional cocoa butter helped the chocolate set up into a bar that “snaps” when broken as well as melting on the tongue. And in 1876, M. Daniel Peter of Switzerland attempted to add milk to chocolate to produce a smoother chocolate although it took him 8 years to perfect the technique in collaboration with Henry Nestle who has perfected the art and science of evaporated milk.

Lindt

Lindt

From then on, the Swiss became the master of making milk chocolates.

A Belgian company, Berwaerts, was the first to sell chocolates as tablets, pastilles, and figurines in the year 1840. In 1912 the Belgian confectionery Jean Niihau created the “praline“, a chocolate pastille or shell filled with delicate chocolates. In 1929, the Drape family, the original owners of Godiva, added to the Belgian reputation by inventing and introducing chocolate truffle. Today Belgium produces 172,000 tons of chocolate per year with more than 2,000 chocolate shops throughout the country. Chocolate is now a way of life for the Belgian people.

Today, we are fortunate to enjoy the fruits of the labor of love of all these countries and people and have access to the finest of chocolates from around the world. From the evolution of the chocolates over the centuries and from our personal tasting experiments we can safely conclude that when it comes to milk chocolates, “Swiss chocolates” wins hands down. When it comes to chocolate bars, the Swiss chocolate bars are rich, creamy and sweet.

Swiss ChocolatesHowever it has more sugar content and less cocoa compared to the French or Belgian Chocolate Bars.

Lindt, the world famous chocolate company, makes chocolate bars both in Switzerland and in France and both are top of line. However our taste buds tell us that chocolate bars made in Switzerland are creamier and has more milk whereas chocolate bars made in France is more mellow and has a wider range of flavours.

However in the category of covered chocolates or truffles, we would give the edge to the Belgian chocolates. The Belgian chocolates / Pralines are richer in flavours, has more cocoa and less sugary. They are also filled with incredible fillings which simply burst in the mouth with an explosion of varied taste. It is said that there are over 600 compounds in the chocolates, and when tasting a Belgian Praline, one can really feel and enjoy the best of the best.

Let us keep in mind that there are good chocolates and no so good chocolates that are made everywhere. Today, we find very good quality chocolates are being made in America and people are experimenting with chocolates like never before. You will find chocolates with chili, tea or even bacon. More about that later. For now, dig in the web store of http://www.Giftswish.com and find out the widest selection of chocolate bars and chocolates from around the world.

About the Author

Bob Monk is the president of Giftswish.com, the leading online retailer of high end Gourmet Foods

Photo Credits:  http://www.habitatflowers.com, http://www.chocolates-uk.co.uk

Belgian chocolates provide many options that can meet everybody’s needs when talking about chocolates. Belgian chocolates have become the food of the champions, the indulgences of wealthy people, the sole favorite of the average masses, and the lures of lovers.

Yearly, Belgium can produce about 172,000 tons of chocolates from 2,000 chocolate outlets all over the country. So, the supply is unlimited for your gift baskets.

Belgian chocolate basketChocolate gift baskets are increasingly becoming popular. Belgian chocolates have soothing tastes that fits any age group. Belgian chocolate gift baskets can work effectively because most everybody is a chocolate lover.

Some people just love chocolates with particular flavors and some don’t care about the brands anymore as long as it is chocolate. People have different reasons why they like chocolates. Some like its sweetness, some like its bitterness, some like its nuts, and some like its caramel fillings. Others may prefer white chocolates.

Different varieties of Belgian chocolates in gift baskets can satisfy chocolate lovers all day. Belgian chocolate gift baskets suit all types of occasions.

Most kids also love to receive such gifts during special occasions. Rose or heart shaped Belgian chocolates are perfect for your gift basket if it is intended for your girlfriend.

She could never resist such a wonderful treat. In addition, Belgian chocolate baskets can be combined with a bottle of wine if you are planning for a romantic evening.

Chocolates are known to be aphrodisiacs. It is associated with simple sensual pleasures upon consumption. Some studies revealed that serotonin as well as other chemicals such as phenethylamine is responsible for mild sexual stimulation. Furthermore, giving chocolate gifts to your sweetheart is a traditional ritual of courtship.

There are also different methods when packing Belgian chocolates in gift baskets. It depends on the receiver. There are also chocolates in gift boxes already with finest materials. If you prefer this, you don’t need to make the basket gift wrapping.

One good idea to make Belgian chocolates gift baskets really especial is to send it to someone you do not know really well. The recipient can be surprised that such an expensive gift is given to them. Likewise, you do not have to worry whether the person likes your gifts or not.

Low calorie Belgian chocolates are fine for health conscious people who are afraid of calories. They can appreciate it well since you are also concerned with their health as well as never deprive them of enjoying chocolate treats.

Recently, some research claims the highly medicinal benefits of eating chocolates.

You can try the most sublime confection of chocolates called Belgium pralines. These chocolates are beautifully sculpted in shells concealing a central filling of surprising flavors and textures.

Many chocolate manufacturers still make Belgian pralines by hand. There are also luxury chocolates which provide the best ever tasting chocolates ever manufactured. However, this is not a good gift for allergy sufferers and diabetics. Instead you can select from chocolates that are dairy-free, sugar-free, and which suits diabetic people.

The creation of Belgian chocolates is truly a genius undertaking. The manufacturers really see the importance of chocolates in the lives of many people even from the past centuries until now.

These treats make people happy regardless of whatever reasons. So, never fail to incorporate chocolate gift baskets into your lives and continue the tradition in touching other people’s lives. It is only a matter of giving chocolates.

Written by Jill Smi

Chocolates have been around for quite a long time now and many people are still devoted to eating chocolate. Besides, you can never deny the fact that chocolates are very delicious treats that everybody loves. Perhaps even your sister going on a “strict” diet is hiding some in her bedroom to conceal her guilt for loving chocolate.

In fact, in the past, chocolates were considered to be a sacred drink in the Americas where only the elite society can afford. The Aztecs even made the cocoa bean as part of their monetary system in order to buy their gold. As you can see, chocolates have indeed been cherished by society and up until today, chocolates are still considered to be the best candy in the world.

A lot of countries have their own chocolates that they can be proud of. Today, the original recipe of the Spanish aristocrats has been kept for a secret for centuries and which is now called today as the Belgian chocolate. Belgian chocolates were originally in a fluid form where people drank it. Today, there are available Belgian chocolate bars and other kinds of Belgian chocolates. Some are even fruits and biscuits coated with Belgian chocolate.

Indeed, Belgian chocolates are considered to be high quality and expensive chocolates that everyone should taste. Some Belgian chocolates contains liqueur for additional taste.

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