Belgian Chocolate Pralines: The Successful Story of Jean Neuhaus
From the 18th century, the Belgian chocolate has risen in fame. In 1912, a chocolate genius Jean Neuhaus created a new procedure and increased its popularity ten-fold. He used a “couverteur” which is a specialized chocolate version. It is also the pralines cold shell. But it is different from the American sugary treats found in most candy shops. Chocolate pralines from Belgium are filled with varieties of flavored creams or nougats, such as hazelnut, fruit, more chocolate, or coffee. Some of the chocolatiers in the time of Neuhaus could duplicate his pralines complex flavors.
Jean Neuhaus’ successful years were after the end of the First World War And this time, Louise Agostini, his wife made another breakthrough by creating the ballotin or praline box, significant type of pralines preciously made by hand. It has a very practical green and gold packaging embossed with letter “N”. Because Jean never patented this ballotin, it became the design favored by all chocolate manufacturers in Belgium since its creation.
The creativity of Jean Neuhaus led to the development of new methods for applying a precise standard quality to all praline productions. They ensured that the finest ingredients are selected to produce chocolates of high quality. He became the unfaltering source of ideas for creating new pralines. Even the Royal Family of Belgium is one of his satisfied customers. In 1918, The Prince of Wales and Prince Leopold have visited the Neuhaus shop to try what everybody is talking about in town.
In 1923, the son-in-law of Jean Neuhaus Adelson de Grave was initiated in praline manufacturing and was taught the secret of the family’s business. His creations also brought additional distinction to the Neuhaus Company. His son Pierre also contributed his genius by helping his father create Tentation and Caprice and opened other Neuhaus shops outside Brussels.
In 1978, the Neuhaus Chocolate Company was put under the management of Claude Poncelet and Jean-Jacques. Their goal of making Neuhaus the world’s most famous brand was clear to capture the foreign markets. Thus, more Neuhaus outlets were opened in Japan, Canada, Guadeloupe, Colombia, United States, and other capital cities in Europe.
In 1991, Neuhaus became the leader in the luxurious praline sector industry in Belgium as well as in Luxemburg. Their well-defined strategies for marketing and international networks kept Neuhaus in maintaining an enviable position in the market. Modern technology investment also contributed to the success of Neuhaus, but one-third of praline productions remained handmade. In 2000, King Albert accredited Neuhaus as their chocolate supplier.
Neuhaus Company has remained in the chocolate industry until today. The legacy of Jean Neuhaus continues to make the best Belgian chocolate pralines. Their technical advantage among other chocolate manufacturers is the couverteur storage before use. In the process of making chocolates, the fine grinding of cocoa beans is first done. Afterwards, it is mixed with cocoa butter and sugar and then smoothened through tempering. Adding heat during the process must be carefully done. Many chocolate companies received the chocolates in solid forms. It means they have to reheat it to become usable. But Belgian chocolate companies often received the chocolates in a heated tanker after the tempering process. Chocolates that are not cooled retain most of its aroma.
Belgian chocolates can be expensive. However, those people who have tasted it revealed that nothing can compare with its true quality. And this is what Belgian chocolates are known for throughout history.