Everyone knows that Belgium is world-renowned for their chocolate. But do you know why? Here are some fun facts about Belgian chocolate that you might not be aware of, and just some reasons why Waterbridge loves carrying them!
Belgium makes a lot of chocolate.
The little country of Belgium has more than 320 chocolateries. The chocolate industry is so big there that it employs 8.5% of their entire workforce.
That's 17 out of every 200 people! To compare, if the city of Toronto had 8.5% of its workforce working in chocolate, it would have 124,187 full-time chocolatiers!
...like, a lot of chocolate...
Those 320 chocolateries produce over 725,000 tonnes of chocolate every year. 725,000 tonnes! That's the weight of about 145,000 full-grown elephants!
...and not all of it leaves the country.
Chocolate isn't just a job for Belgians; it's a passion. That's why the average Belgian consumes 6kg of chocolate every year.
They've been using chocolate for over 380 years (though not always as food).
Chocolate came to Belgium from the 'new world' in 1635, but it wasn't initially sold as a tasty treat: it was bottled and sold as a tonic. While that might have seemed strange in the past, it's actually not surprising now that we know about the very real health benefits of chocolate.
Belgians seemed to spend a century making chocolate-related innovations.
From 1840 to 1940, Belgian confectioners invented most of the chocolate treats we know and love:
- A Belgian chocolate maker made the first pressed chocolate tablet in 1840
- A Belgian chocolatier made the first chocolate with a soft filling in 1912
- A Belgian confectioner was the first to package individual chocolates and pralines into a box (called a 'ballotin box') in 1915
- A Belgian chocolate maker was the first to create a chocolate with a praline filling in 1936
That's the sort of innovative progress you get from employing 8.5% of your population in the chocolate industry!