Belgian Chocolate: Pralines
The luxury chocolate trade is centred around Belgium and Belgian companies. The cornerstone of this position is the Belgian praline - a chocolate layer covering a soft fondant centre.
The Duke of Plessis-Pralin, an ambassador serving Louis XIII is responsible for naming pralines. He had the idea of inventing a candy that would distract the rebels of Bordelais. When discussing this with chef the idea was born to coat almonds in a sugar-based crust, and so the idea of the praline was born. Belgium pralines, were first made in the year 1912.
Jean Neuhaus invented a chocolate shell that could be filled with cream or nut pastes. In essence, he invented the real Belgian chocolate: the praline.Belgian pralines are chic and elegant. Appropriate packaging was therefore needed to protect them from being broken.
In 1920 Neuhaus came up with a solution to his problem, designing a suitable packaging for his pralines: the famous rectangular box, also known as the ballotin, that to this day cherishes Belgian chocolates all over the world.
Until this revolutionary packaging, Belgian pralines were wrapped in small cone-shaped paper bags. Belgian pralines remain as popular as ever. Industrialisation has reduced prices and allowed pralines to be enjoyed by not only the moneyed classes. Regardless of this, they still retain an air of luxury and decadence which only adds to our appreciation.