Brussels – Chocolate Capital of the World
Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium and the center of the European Union but, what most people don’t know, the chocolate capital of the world. Ever since the Belgian Jean Neuhaus created the first praline a hundred years ago Belgium has been home of the chocolate business. There are over 300 chocolate producers in the Belgian capital and many chocolate lovers claim that the best chocolate in the world comes from Belgium.
Europe’s history of chocolate goes back to the 16 th century when Spanish explorers brought cocoa beans home from Mexico. At that time cocoa beans were traded and served as a form of money. When Belgian King Leopold II occupied Congo and made it a Belgian colony thousands of tons of cocoa were shipped home and spurred the growth of the chocolate industry.
Belgium produces 170 000 tons of chocolate a year, sold in over 2000 shops located throughout the country. Every Belgian consumes over 11 kg of chocolate a year.
Belgian pralines are so famous mostly because of the quality of the cocoa that is used. They are a mix of cocoa, butter and milk in different amounts. The hard chocolate shell and the creamy fillings make pralines a delicious treat.
Of the six million tourists who visit Brussels every year, only few of them leave the city without a box of pralines. The city offers them special chocolate tours, where they learn about the history of chocolate, see how pralines are made and taste them in the best shops of the city. Most tours start at the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate, where you receive information on everything you need to know about chocolate.
- amount = quantity
- business = industry
- capital = the most important city of a country and the place where the government is located
- century = a hundred years
- claim = say that something is true
- cocoa bean = small seed of a tropical tree used to make cocoa
- consume = eat
- creamy = soft
- delicious = very tasty
- explorer = someone who travels to an unknown places and tries to find out more about it
- growth = expansion ; to get bigger
- located = to be found
- occupy = to enter a country with an army and control it
- offer = give
- praline = chocolate with a hard shell and a soft filing inside
- serve = use as
- shell = hard outer part
- ship = transport
- spur = to make something happen faster
- throughout = all over
- trade = to exchange something that you have for something that someone else has
- treat = something special that you can eat