Belgian chocolate is characterized by a medium dark roast cacao flavor. This base chocolate is then used as a coating around soft centers that are typically lighter and not so heavy or dense. Use of ground hazelnuts with milk chocolate, filled inside molded shapes are a signature Belgian chocolate. Also, whipped fresh cream with chocolate creating a fluffy mousse that is either dipped or enrobed is a Belgian chocolate specialty called a manon.
There are a hundred famous Belgian chocolatiers that run and operate artisan shops around Europe. The most recognized brands are typically large manufacturers that have been able to distribute their chocolates worldwide through retail operations or big box outlet stores. The 13 Belgian chocolate brands below have worldwide distribution while still keeping the quality high. So if you see these brands you can trust the quality and flavor is above average.
Leonidas is a classic Belgian chocolate brand with over 900 years of heritage and several physical and online stores worldwide. Leonidas offers over 100 different varieties of Belgian chocolate made of only the finest ingredients. Leonidas differentiates themselves from other chocolate producers by using 100% cocoa butter and not palm oil in the coating chocolate, hence the difference in taste and texture.
We think the most delicious chocolates from this brand are the chocolate-based orangettes and bars because of the freshness of orange flavor.
Godiva Chocolate is a world-famous brand of Belgian chocolate. The company was founded in 1926 by Joseph Draps, and it is now owned by a Turkish company, Yildiz Holding. Godiva's chocolate is made from carefully selected ingredients from suppliers that they have built long term relationships. Godiva products are beloved by chocolate lovers around the globe and probably the most recognized Belgian brand.
Godiva's chocolate is made mostly from a blend of cacao beans from Africa and South America, and the company is known for its intricate flavor profiles. In addition to the signature dark and milk chocolates, Godiva also offers a wide range of flavor-infused chocolates, including fruit, nut, and Spice blends.
In addition, Godiva has beautiful chocolate boxes that are perfect for gifts or parties because of their high quality construction and presentation.
When it comes to chocolate, Neuhaus has a long and rich history. The company was founded in 1857 by Jean Neuhaus II, and it has been crafting delicious chocolate pralines ever since. All of Neuhaus's chocolate is crafted entirely in Belgium, and the company sources 25% of its cocoa from its own cacao farm. Neuhaus is acknowledged for the inventions of bonbons (good good is the literal translation of bonbon) and is the widely-recognized pioneer of Belgian Praline.
Bruyerre is a brand of gourmet chocolate that has been delighting taste buds for over 100 years. The famous Belgian chocolatiers create truffles, hazelnut praline ganache cream and gianduja.
Whether you're looking for a decadent truffle to savor on your own or something to share with family and friends, there's no doubt that this iconic brand has a memorable chocolate to savor.
Known around the world for its rich, creamy flavor and smooth texture and iconic elephant on the packaging, Cote d'Or chocolate is the go-to choice for chocoholics everywhere. This brand of Belgian chocolate was first introduced in 1883. The chocolate is made from a blend of African and South American cocoa beans, which gives it a distinctive flavor. Cote d'Or chocolate is available in a variety of retail packaged forms, including bars, coins, and even special Christmas shapes.
Cote d'Or has been voted several times the most innovative chocolatier in the world, putting it in an esteemed position as one of the best Belgian chocolate companies.
Corne Port Royal
Maurice Corné was a pâtissier by trade, but in 1932 he decided to go into business as a chocolatier. He opened his shop on Rue Montagne aux Herbes Potagères in Brussels, and it quickly became a local favorite. The shop specialized in hand-made chocolates, and Maurice's creative flair soon earned him a reputation as one of the best chocolatiers in the city. Today, Corné Port-Royal still remains one of the most beloved chocolatiers in Brussels.
The expert chocolatiers at Corne Port-Royal start with fresh cream ingredients and never use fillers to dilute the chocolate coating. This is in fact the first Belgian company Santa Barbara Chocolate imported pralines from in the early 1990s.
Wittamer is a world-renowned Belgian chocolatier, known for creative confections. Founded in 1910 by Henri Wittamer, the company has been passed down through four generations of the Wittamer family. Today, they continue to uphold the high standards set by their grandfather. All of Wittamer's chocolates are handmade using fresh ingredients like raspberry and hazelnut with each piece a delectable work of art. Wittamer's chocolates are truly a treat for the senses from intricately detailed truffles to delicate fruit creams. If you're ever in Brussels, be sure to stop by the Wittamer shop on Place du Grand Sablon which is the same building where it all began over a hundred years ago.
Wittamer chocolate has several flavors, including dark chocolate truffles in cocoa, butter caramel, ground hazelnut praline, almonds panned in extra dark chocolate. Their products are packaged in traditional Belgian ballotins.
If you are a chocolate connoisseur you've probably seen the company's flagship product: seashell-shaped chocolates, which are filled with creamy hazelnut praline. Guylian's chocolates are made with sustainably sourced cocoa beans. The company is also committed to eco friendly practices, such as using recycled materials in packaging. In addition to the original seashell chocolates, Guylian also makes a variety of other chocolate products including truffles, bars, and spreads. Its chocolates are sold in more than 100 countries around the world. Guylian's seashell chocolates are iconic and have become synonymous with the brand.
The name Pierre Marcolini is from two renowned chefs who teamed up to produce fresh truffles and praline chocolates. Pierre Marcolini is among the oldest Belgian chocolate brands. These famous Belgian chocolate makers operate their stores across Europe in both Belgium and France as well as Japan.
Pierre Marcolini uses cacao beans directly sourced. The chocolate production at Pierre Marcolini isnot as mechanized as other Belgian chocolate companies.
Compared to many of the more established chocolatiers, Belvas is a relatively new player in the chocolate world. Founded in Southern Belgium in 1987, this artisanal chocolate maker offers products that are ethically sourced and environmentally sustainable. Whether you're a gourmand or a chocoholic, Belvas chocolate is sure to satisfy your cravings with their fresh cream manon (manons are typically almond paste base topped with fresh cream mousse with a fresh nut like walnut or hazelnut all enrobed in couverture chocolate).
Mary is the Belgian Royal Warrant Chocolatier and has been since 1942. The Belgian royal family has chosen Mary as their favorite chocolate supplier and has nurtured a strong relationship with them since production began.
We have never tried their chocolates but have heard they are quintessential Belgian in style, meaning they are molded shaped ganache and hand rolled truffles. Mary is famous due to the royal connection.
Zabar specializes in creating chocolate products that get international recognition for their unique aromas and flavors of exotic spices like anise and curry combinations. They have a variety of chocolates, and each bite will give you a unique taste experience.
The list would be incomplete if the famous Belgian chocolate shop from Antwerp was not mentioned. In Choc creates superb products with ingredients not common to other chocolate brands. For example, they commonly use citrus fruits to ensure you get a taste explosion in your mouth every time. The brand is unique for both its use of citrus flavors and the beautiful artwork that comes with it.
Why Are Belgian Chocolate Brands Good?
Belgian chocolate brands have a long heritage of producing some of the world's most high-quality chocolates. And for being some of the first to offer filled center chocolates like truffles or pralines, Belgian chocolatiers have carved out a place in history. There are many factors that contribute to their success and it isn't just history or reputation. Things like the use of artisanal chocolate making techniques, as well as their beautiful packaging and careful selection of fresh ingredients. These qualities in synergism make Belgian chocolate brands stand out as they continue to captivate consumers with their great taste.
Belgium has taken chocolate production to a whole new level with branding and successful distribution world wide. Eye-pleasing packaging and a wide variety of flavors, the brands have gained well-deserved international recognition.
Many of the Santa Barbara Chocolate flavors are based on chocolate making techniques developed in Belgium, and we owe a debt of gratitude to the fine history. We have leveraged the European elegance with American ingenuity so you can have the best of both the old world and new world in fresh chocolate. The results are new, pure and interesting chocolates.
Santa Barbara Chocolate also offers Belgian Chocolate Couverture