2_4_DiscoverBenelux_13_Januar_2014_MADS_Scan Magazine 1 17/12/2014 15:20 Page 13
Discover Benelux | Special Theme | Chocolate
pralines are, with much thought and love for the crafts. The real deal is often free of additives as well, which means you’ve got to eat the pralines quite quickly. But that doesn’t seem to be a problem for most people.
Praline and praliné Perhaps you never realised it, but there is a distinct difference between praline and praliné. One being a piece of chocolate filled with a soft or liquid filling, the other being a certain type of filling. Praliné, a type of creamy filling, is made from crushed almonds, hazelnuts or other nuts combined with boiled sugar, vanilla and cocoa (and sometimes cocoa butter), reminiscent of the original praline invented by Clement Lassagne in 1636.
BELOW: Galerie de la Reine, where the Neuhaus pharmacy was located in 1900
Praliné can also be a stand-alone candy: covered by only the wrapping and not, as is the case with pralines, covered by a layer of chocolate. Due to its popularity, a praliné paste can be bought in jars and used – for example – as a spread on sandwiches and cakes.
Delicate chocolate, delicate flavour The flavour and texture combination for which pralines are known, and which
helped them gain their fame, is unique on its own. It took other Belgian chocolatiers years before they were able to create a praline as delicate as the ones made by Neuhaus Jr. Now, over 100 years later, the praline has become not only an export product, but Belgian’s pride as well.
Pralines? Bon bon! Bon is French for ‘good’. A reduplication of the word by French children created a nickname, if you will, for the filled chocolates that are also known as pralines. In the Dutch language, the name ‘bon bon’ was also adopted. Currently, this is widely used for chocolate sweets and ‘praline’ is usually used to describe the filling.
Artisanal pralines While Belgian chocolate is very popular, not all chocolatiers use the nation’s own produce to create pralines. As a matter of fact, Geert Vercruysse of Patisserie-Chocolaterie Vercruysse in Kortrijk, doesn’t use Belgian chocolate at all. “I work exclusively with artisanal chocolate makers and the only chocolate from Europe I use, is Swiss chocolate. Personally I think the Swiss still make the most delicious milk chocolate,” says Vercruysse. By using chocolate from artisanal brands such as Marou (Vietnam), Pacari (Ecuador) and the Grenada Chocolate Company (Caribbean), Vercruysse believes he has a head start when it comes to making pralines. “Because I use the best chocolate from around the world I have the best possible base from which I can create my pralines,” he says. “I don’t think there is a secret to Belgian pralines; we have a long-standing tradition when it comes to praline making and chocolate, but in the end it’s the ingredients you use that matter.”
Issue 13 | January 2015 | 13
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.