Belgian Chocolates

Chocolate as a new cure to holiday depression 

Holiday times around Christmas and New Year go hand in hand with stress that most of us know from our own experience. According to the calendar you should be in a time of festive celebrations with your loved ones but the weather outside is gloomy, you are struggling with endless arguments at home and the atmosphere at work is getting intense. If that sounds familiar then you probably suffer from the so-called holiday depressions. It is a time when we are more likely to fall into bad habits to manage our stress, like looking for comfort in eating. As such people under stress tend to crave for food rich in sugars.

The stress described during the holiday season is a common “disease” which according surveys affects almost 45% of all adults, especially women. Moreover, it has been shown in recent study done by American Psychiatrist Institution that women rather than men report an increase of stress during the holiday season as they take charge of many activities, particularly the tasks such as decorating the home and preparing meals. Combined with an availability of candy and sweets this can mean an alarming number appearing on the scale.

Luckily for us chocolate lovers, latest research also proved that consumption of chocolate can have in a long-term positive effects on human psyche. The World Health Organisation confirmed that the ratio of suicide level is lower in the countries with high consumption of chocolate. Let´s take Belgium as an example: Not only ranks Belgium with its consumption of chocolate – almost 6kg per capita- as one of the highest in the world, the capital of Belgian chocolates also confirms the lowest suicide ratio in the western countries.

For centuries, Belgian chocolates have been the treat for kings and peasants. The more people experience the negative impacts of the modern world such as stress, the consumption of chocolate will be on its rise. Important for consumers to recognize these days is what the real benefits between a standard candy and luxury Belgian chocolates such pralines or truffles is. Imagine a hand-made truffle with coconut filling and colourful icing on the top…Don’t you feel relaxed already?

Belgian chocolates as a present handy for every celebration

You have exactly one hour to arrive to your friend´s dinner party or birthday celebration and you bought literally nothing to give to your host. As you do not want to arrive with empty hands, you are raiding around candy aisle in your local market, desperately looking for something delicious that would suit for this occasion. Perhaps a bouquet of flowers but which one to choose? Most of us will in the end decide to pick one of the chocolate boxes but then the dilemma continues – how to recognize the luxury chocolates from everyday candies?

As chocolate products come in many shapes and sizes, it is the number one item you would think of as a universal present for any celebration. In fact, the number one sales of chocolate mention three biggest exporters: Switzerland, Germany and Belgium. Where Swiss chocolate might surprise you with its finest taste and German with its smooth texture, Belgian chocolates guarantee that your host will love the originality of each piece. As Belgian chocolates are known for its hand-made production. No wonder, there are almost 2000 chocolatiers located in Belgium which makes it a capital of chocolate in Europe.

If you still want to be creative and have a lack time to prepare or organize anything, instead of buying a ready-made chocolate box, you can also please the celebrator of the party with a voucher to a cooking course where Belgian chocolates such as truffles or pralines are made. It is handy as you can purchase a voucher right from your phone. You can go even one step further and let deliver one of the current trend in the market: fresh flower bouquets made with fruit covered in the highest-quality Belgian chocolate. The Belgian chocolates and fresh fruit in the combination with the silky smooth consistency of the chocolate are the best match for the fruit lovers who also crave for something sweet and healthy.

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Regardless of what will be your final choice, chocolate is a key to hearts. Be sure that from now on, you will be invited to every party as the most welcome guest.

Belgium: destination for chocolate lovers

Belgium is a country of many wonders and beauties. Apart from amazing green scenery and rich architecture heritage, Belgium recently became a new number one destination among travellers seeking new tastes. Food tourism and gourmet-tasting is what attracts foodies from various parts of the world. Certainly there is a lot to offer for food and beverage lovers, next to reputable beer production, Belgium is a place to be for consumers of sweet miracle- the world class Belgian chocolates.

Chocolate production as such has a long history going back to times when cocoa was brought to Europe by Spanish explorers in the 17th century, who originally learnt about cocoa beans from Aztec Indians. However, it was the Belgian chocolatiers who made Belgian chocolates the world-class product by inventing pralines in 1912.  Even the best-known Swiss chocolate has its origin in Belgium as it was brought by Belgian crafters to Switzerland.

The Belgian chocolates have shaped the cities as we know them today and you can find traces of chocolate history all around the country. The first time remark of chocolate trade can be traced back to 1635 in the city of Gent. Put also the city of Bruges into your list of must- see-places, there is a very good reason why people nicknamed it the “Chocolate city”. Additionally, the country´s capital Brussels is also unique among other chocolate capitals in Europe. It has more high-end shops per capital than any other city in the world.

The foodies and gourmets all around the world are no longer seeking only culinary experiences. It is more about seeking stories that are connected with the high-end dining and flavour experiencing. And this is what they find in ancient romantic cities while enjoying the unforgettable taste of Belgian chocolates such as pralines or truffles. Although Belgium probably does not come first in your bucket list with places to visit this year, if you are a fan of latest trends, you are a food lover and crave for the tastiest sweets available, Belgium should be definitely your next target destination. So go ahead and book your ticket, the chocolate season never ends.

Denisa Antalová