What are the differences between Swiss, French and Belgian chocolate?

Submitted by Aurélie on Mon, 11/16/2020 - 09:00

Chocolate has been offered as a gift for many centuries and for many different occasions. Chocolate is known as a food of the gods and was also considered an aphrodisiac during ancient times. As a result, it became popular in Europe despite its bitter taste at the time.

Chocolate has now become a very popular gift for all occasions. Some chocolates are more sought-after than others due to their aroma and delicacy.

If you take a walk through some of the best chocolate shops in Paris, you will not only find the famous French chocolate makers, such as Patrick Roger and Jacques Génin, but also the Belgian Pierre Marcolini or the Swiss-influenced Bretons, Henri Roux and Philippe Pacoёt. In any case, each chocolate has its own characteristics that make it unique. These three great chocolate families are in fact quite different.

The bitterness of French chocolate

French milk and dark chocolate bars and baking chocolates tend to have a bold and bitter taste compared to Belgian and Swiss chocolate. French chocolate is generally not as sweet as Belgian or Swiss chocolate and tends to be lower in fat than Belgian or Swiss chocolate, making it the perfect for dark chocolate lovers!

French Chocolate Styles

French chocolates such as truffles and ganache can be found in many different styles. You will most often find coated sliced ganache in the chocolate shop. The flavors are subtle and delicate with a slight bitterness.

French people love their chocolate the way they love most things: rich and luxurious. This should come as no surprise, it's the land of soufflés, croissants, and sweet and savory pancakes! The French are best known for what they do with their chocolate, which tends to be dark, extravagant and crafted with great craftsmanship. If you are in the mood for fancy truffles or chocolate mousse, find a French chocolate shop.

French chocolate candies are usually dipped rather than filled like their Belgian counterparts, giving them a thinner chocolate shell that melts more easily in the mouth.

The Fineness of Belgian Chocolate

Many Belgian chocolatiers use emulsifiers to get the same texture as Swiss milk chocolate. As a general rule, Belgian chocolate is darker than Swiss chocolate. This small country produces more than 172,000 tons of chocolate per year. It is also the birthplace of filled chocolates. Belgian chocolate is famous for its high quality resulting from a unique manufacturing process. Belgian companies receive their chocolate in a hot state rather than fresh before it is further processed and packaged into bars. This allows it to preserve more flavor and aroma.

Belgian chocolate is different from chocolates produced in other parts of the world. It contains 100% cocoa butter, while other chocolates only use a fraction  and all the rest is replaced by vegetable fats. In some cases, cocoa butter is completely replaced.

What makes Belgian chocolate unique is the quality of the ingredients and an almost fanatical commitment to Old World production methods. Even in today's automated and mass-produced environment, most Belgian chocolates are still made by hand in small stores using original equipment. These small chocolate stores are a popular attraction for tourists visiting Belgium. Visiting chocolate factories in Belgium also includes tastings and special souvenirs, just like a tour of the vineyards.

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Delicate Swiss Chocolate

Every time we hear about Switzerland, the word chocolate comes to mind. Switzerland is a small country in Europe and chocolate is its most famous product. Every year, it attracts a large number of visitors eager to buy famous high quality chocolate products. Swiss chocolate slowly melts in your mouth and leaves a lasting taste of alpine milk. The two main characteristics of Swiss milk chocolate are its high percentage of cocoa butter, which allows the chocolate to melt quickly, and the dense alpine milk produced by grass-fed cows in the Alps.

With their luxuriously creamy milk chocolate, Switzerland is often hailed as the chocolate capital of Europe. Swiss chocolates, like their snow-covered Alps, are peaks of creamy, unctuous treats that have been made for centuries. The Swiss have been perfecting chocolate making since the end of the 17th century. Swiss chocolate also has an ultra-creamy texture thanks to the conching technique, which involves heating the chocolate while grinding it.

For all Nutella fans, the great idea of combining hazelnut and chocolate was born here. The Swiss are known for their milk chocolate, but even the darker varieties have the same smooth flavor. There's a reason why the Swiss company Lindt puts pictures of creamers on their bars!

In short, French chocolate is less sweet than its Belgian and Swiss counterparts. Swiss chocolate is made with Alpine milk and Belgian chocolate includes more cocoa butter in its blend. These three types of chocolate are different and have different characteristics. The most important thing is to evaluate each chocolate according to their merits or the strengths of the chocolate manufacturer, no matter where they come from.

It's up to you to choose the chocolate that suits you best. There's something for every taste!