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Belgian Chocolate

Belgian chocolate has been the food of champions, a lure for lovers, the indulgence of the rich, as it has long been considered the most decadent of foods and the favorite chocolate in the world. Belgium’s connection with chocolate dates back to 1635 when the country was occupied by Spain. In the early 20th century, Belgium was able to import cocoa from its colony, the Belgian Congo. Belgian chocolate is so unique and sought after due to the high standard and quality of the ingredients and the dedication to traditional production techniques. Belgium produces 172,000 tons of chocolate every year, and each beautifully hand sculpted chocolate shell contains a surprising filling exploding with texture and flavor. Many chocolatiers still make their pralines by hand, and every town and even small village have chocolate stores with luxurious pralines.


The tedious production of tons of chocolate is the effort of over 20 separate chocolatiers who use only the finest ingredients. Many of these chocolate houses use traditional methods dating back over 100 years. In addition to their traditional products, most chocolate houses also create new delicacies by combining chocolate with unusual flavors that would not usually be associated with chocolate.
Recipes
Dame Blanche

Ingredientspremium vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate fudge sauce

For the Chocolate Fudge Sauce100 ml. cream or 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 4 ounces (dark) Belgian chocolate

Cooking directionsIn a saucepan over medium-low heat, heat cream. Finely chop chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl that fits snuggly in a saucepan. Fill saucepan with water and bring to a simmer. Place bowl on top, making sure it doesn't touch water. Stir with a metal spoon until melted. Avoid wooden or plastic spoons - these retain moisture that makes chocolate harden. Mix the chocolate and cream together. In a ice cream glass, place two scoops vanilla ice cream. Top with whipped cream. Serve the Hot Fudge Sauce on the side.

Belgian Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate mousse is one of Flanders' best desserts. Made with the best Belgian chocolate you can find it truly is our one and only national dessert. A creamy, airy, delicious, melt-in-your-mouth chocolatey experience.

Ingredients6 ounces (170g) bittersweet or semisweet Belgian chocolate, chopped; 6 ounces (170g) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces; 1/4 cup (60ml) dark-brewed coffee; 4 large eggs, separated; 2/3 cup (170g), plus 1 tablespoon sugar; 2 tablespoons (30ml) dark rum; 1 tablespoon (15ml) water; pinch of salt; 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Cooking directions1. Heat a saucepan one-third full with hot water, and in a bowl set on top, melt together the chocolate, butter and coffee, stirring over the barely simmering water, until smooth. Remove from heat. 2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. 3. In a bowl large enough to nest securely on the saucepan of simmering water, whisk the yolks of the eggs with the 2/3 cup of sugar, rum, and water for about 3 minutes until the mixture is thick, like runny mayonnaise. (You can also use a handheld electric mixer.) 3. Remove from heat and place the bowl of whipped egg yolks within the bowl of ice water and beat until cool and thick, as shown in the photo above. Then fold the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks. 4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until frothy. Continue to beat until they start to hold their shape. Whip in the tablespoon of sugar and continue to beat until thick and shiny, but not completely stiff, then the vanilla. 5. Fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder of the whites just until incorporated, but don’t overdo it or the mousse will lose volume. 6. Transfer the mousse to a serving bowl or divide into serving dishes, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until firm.

based on http://www.visitflanders.us/ and Wikipedia

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