Important Questions Answered: Is Belgium Still the Chocolate Capital of the World?

Illustration for article titled Important Questions Answered: Is Belgium Still the Chocolate Capital of the World?

It turns out, great chocolatiers aren't banished to Belgium any longer, they're popping up all over! It's making chocolate more of an International game, and I do not hate the player and I do not hate the game. The more chocolate competition, the better for us all and our ever-growing sexxxy rear ends.


The BBC reports that countries such as Australia and Japan are rising up through the chocosphere. In fact, the next World Chocolate Masters is happening in Paris in November 2013 and entrants are coming from 20 different countries. Also, how do we all secure tickets to this immediately? My inner Augustus Gloop is literally bursting at the seams with excitement.

As far as the Belgium's packing up their candy thermometers and going back to a time without chocolate, Veerle de Pooter, a magazine writer who has also worked as a chef for the country's federal government, says "Just because one [non-Belgian] chef happens to win a few prizes, sponsored by a chocolate brand, I don't think Belgian chocolatiers should start to quake in their boots." Since only Germany sells more chocolate abroad (ABC, Germany!), I think de Pooter (he) is probably right.

Of course, while Belgium is still Queen de Chocolat, their association with chocolate has terrible roots — cocoa was first shipped from the Congo, one of their African colonies. Not to be a super downer, but as we all know, chocolate can come from some incredibly shitty, human-rights-violating sources. When I binge on the good stuff, I stick to the Food Empowerment Project's list of fair-trade chocolatiers that don't fund child slavery. Well, this story took a turn for the worse.

Point is, nobody is the boss when it comes to chocolate, but everyone else is gonna have to really pop-off to officially take the chocolate crown from Belgium. Personally, I hope it's somewhere on the continents of Africa or South America because, you know, that's where the heart of the delicious product comes from.

Image via Aleksandar Bozhikov / Shutterstock.


A Small Turnip

I lived in Switzerland for a year, and it was cocoa butter heaven. The Swiss take that shit seriously. Every supermarket you go to will have an entire aisle—an entire goddamn aisle—devoted to chocolate. Like it's no big deal. Like it's breakfast cereal. Dark, milk, white, nougat, almonds, marzipan, hazelnuts, ganache, praline, as far as the eye could see. IT WAS BANANAS.

I love the Swiss. I love their cuckoo clocks. I love their solemn efficiency. I love their tiny little forks for dipping crusty bread into molten cheese. I love their zopf and their nusstortes and their geschnetzeltes. But most of all, I love their sweet, sweet, melting chocolate. Oh blessed, blessed country!