Yum, chocolate. This delicious dessert has been around for more than 2000 years as a beverage, and since the 1800s in solid form. Several ancient civilizations believed chocolate had magical powers, and the Aztecs even used cocoa beans as currency at one point. For most of us, though, chocolate is simply a sweet treat we love to eat. It is manufactured bu many barands all over the world, like Santa Barbara Chocolate makes great healthy sweets in California. Here’s a look at some of the most famous chocolate brands in Europe and how they came to be.
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Though not the first producer of candy bars in England—that distinction goes to Joseph Fry’s chocolate factory—Cadbury was certainly an early entry into the race. By introducing a bittersweet bar in 1849 and the first chocolate eggs in 1875, this British chocolatier quickly gained in popularity that remains to this day. Cadbury’s “Dairy Milk” bar, which is more comparable to the milk chocolate we now know than its bitter predecessors, came onto the scene in the early 1900s and was soon a runaway hit. Cadbury eventually merged with front-runner Joseph Fry and went on to create a wide variety of well-loved chocolate bars featuring various fruit, nut, and crème fillings. The next time you’re in the UK, you can even visit Cadbury World for a fun and immersive chocolate experience.
In 1868, Jean Tobler began selling chocolate products in his confectionery shop in Bern, Switzerland. Demand for these creations eventually became too great, so in 1898 he opened his own chocolate factory. Several years later, the now distinctive triangular-shaped Toblerone bar was born. The moniker combines the family name Tobler with the Italian word torrone, meaning honey and almond nougat—the ingredients found inside the distinctive milk chocolate bar. Today, dark and white chocolate versions have joined the beloved original along with a fruit and nut bar. Which is your favorite?
The son of a Belgian baker, Guy Foubert developed his culinary skills at the Antwerp School of Confectionery and Patisserie. After meeting wife Liliane, the two combined their love of chocolate—and their names—to form the chocolate company Guylian. Based in Sint-Niklaas Belgium, they are best known for their unique hazelnut praline filling, signature G stamp, and sculpturally shaped candy. Many of Guylian chocolates take the form of seashells and seahorses, so it comes as no surprise that they also sponsor Project Seahorse, a marine conservation group.
Lindt and Sprungli
Zurich chocolatiers Lindt and Sprungli both began experimenting with new recipes to make solid bars in the mid- to late-1800s, and eventually joined forces in 1899. The company is best known for the iconic Lindor truffle, featuring a smooth filling encased by a delicate chocolate shell. Today, Lindt and Sprungli boasts one of the largest chocolate-making facilities in the world. Though they make many different kinds of bars, including ones featuring fruits, nuts, and varying percentages of cocoa, Lindt also produces a sublime white chocolate.
Back in the 1920s, the Draps family of Brussels began making sweets in their local shop. These traditional pralines were then sold in high-end stores all around town. At the age of 14, Joseph Draps began developing his skills as a master chocolatier. Eventually he developed the exclusive look and taste of Godiva, which to this day comes in the distinctive gold box and supplies the Court of Belgium. Named after the bold and generous historical figure, Godiva now sponsors the Lady GODIVA Program supporting extraordinary female leaders worldwide.
Since 1922, this French chocolatier has been making high-end designer chocolate creations. It was among the first candy makers to classify chocolate in the same manner as wine, citing cocoa bean origins, terroir, and estates as key descriptors. Known for it’s unique flavors and gourmet pairings such as the spicy Xocopili bar, Valrhona even owns and operates its own cocoa plantations in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic as well as runs it’s own pastry and chocolate school. Ooh la la!
Since 1942, this Italian candy maker has been serving up extravagantly packaged balls of chocolatey goodness. From the gleaming gold foil wrapping to the distinctive taste of caramel and wafer candy wrapped in milk chocolate, Ferrero Rocher candy is instantly recognizable. The company is also responsible for other crowd-pleasing sweets such as the prize-filled Kinder egg and Nutella hazelnut spread.
Enjoy without Reservations
With such rich history and delicious sounding recipes, you might as well try something from all these chocolatiers. After all, chocolate has recently been touted as having some excellent benefits beyond just tasting good, such as lowering cholesterol, heart disease risk, and stroke while enhancing fetal development, athletic performance, and cognitive function. It even contains antioxidants, which prevent cell damage. So good ahead and enjoy—healthy chocolate is no longer just a dream!