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I recently read somewhere online that in Belgium there are only 2 companies who make chocolate from the bean.  Two I know of are Belcolade and Barry Callebaut.

First of all, is this true?  Are there only 2 companies in Belgium that make chocolate from the bean? 

Secondly, can anyone point me to where this is written so that I can reference it?

I just can't find the source, either a blog or a website, where I first read this, and it's bugging me.

I'd appreciate your help.

Tags: Belgium

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My understanding is that Barry Callebaut is Swiss, not Belgian, and have spoken to representatives from Puratos (They own Belcolade), who claim that Belcolade is the only remaining Belgian owned Belgian chocolate company remaining in existenced.

I could be wrong though...
Belcolade doesn't manufacture from beans...only from liquors...and with old Callebaut machinery...

I think that it is fair to say that there are only two big companies making chocolate from the bean in Belgium. Giving everything else that's going on in the world of artisan/craft chocolate making, saying that there are only two is a stretch. Brad is technically correct when the question of ownership is brought up - while Callebaut has operations in Belgium they are a Swiss company.

The list at Wikipedia is wrong: Neuhaus buys its chocolate from Callebaut. I got this information directly from a senior Neuhaus rep from Belgium. Same is true for Dolfin, they buy from Belcolade and I have this from one of the founders of Dolfin. Guylian and Leonidas are also cited in the Wikipedia article but they are not chocolate makers (I checked the Leonidas web site and there is no reference to their being bean-to-bar).

The list does include Marcolini and if he's making chocolate from the bean it's in small quantities for his own use, not for resale to others.

Callebaut is the one people refer to when they say "Belgium's Finest." Belcolade (owned by Puratos, who also owns Debelis here in the US) is the Susan Lucci of the Belgian chocolate industry. I don't think it's fair to say that all Callebaut chocolates are better than all Belcolade chocolates. I think that there are some things that Belcolade (also sometimes referred to, unfortunately, as "buck a load") does better than Callebaut - but as with many things, that's a matter of personal taste.

Feel free to quote me as the source.

:: Clay
For the record, I have been trying to get a hold of a representative of Puratos for over a MONTH. Guess what? No reply yet. I wonder if they want to do any business...

On the other hand I contacted Tcho and I had a free sample in my hands in two days (kudos to Robert Kopf!).
While we're talking about Belgian chocolate I really enjoyed Alan McClure's Patric blog article "Chocolate-Myth Busters #2: Belgian Chocolate Is the Best in the World? " Very informative and well written, but also spot on.
Here's what Callebaut says on their website:
We’re proud to offer you the Finest Belgian Chocolate
There are many reasons why Callebaut is called the Finest Belgian Chocolate. For already 100 years, we have been making chocolate to be proud of in the heart of Belgium.
… It’s at this precious moment that the chocolate merits its stamp of quality and authenticity as "Callebaut Finest Belgian".
...From cocoa bean to chocolate: Callebaut’s Finest Belgian Chocolates are produced with 100% Belgian craftsmanship"
Just thinking out loud here: I wonder if any of the 1.6 Billion lbs of chocolate made Callebaut's factory here in Quebec Canada every year gets labeled as the finest belgian chocolate made....

Further to that, and again thinking out loud: Did Cocoa Barry have a factory in the heart of Belgium BEFORE they bought the Callebaut factory from Toblerone in 1986 +/- a year or two, then changed their name, or have they only been able to claim making chocolate in Belgium since they acquired the factory....
Susan Lucci? You mean that Belcolade has been nominated for seventeen daytime Emmys, and only won once? Or maybe it's just that Erica Kane would surely approve of lounging around on the pink satin pillow drenched red velvet sofa, and eating the best Belgian Belcoalde bonbons buyable!?

But this sort of thing reminds me, wouldn't it be a useful thing to have around here somewhere, a list that says, like the bean to bar discussion, a list with all of those not bean to bar companies, and who really makes their chocolate.

For your information:

Belcolade doesn't produce from the bean but from the mass

Callebaut is a belgo-swiss company...and produces massive volumes of industrial quality chocolate

Benoît Nihant Chocolatier was founded 5 years ago and produces since last year single plantation chocolate from bean to bar.

Callebaut is definitely a Swiss company.  In fact, if one were to split hairs, they should be called a Canadian company moreso than a Belgian company.  Callebaut's factory in St. Hiyacinthe here in Canada produces 1.6 BILLION lbs of chocolate a year - far, far more chocolate than the Belgian factory.


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