If you follow me on Facebook you did not miss my chocolate filled visit of Neuhaus. I was amongst a few lucky journalists and bloggers who Neuhaus invited to emerge themselves into their chocolate universe and discover the new Neuhaus History Collection. I mean, seriously, how could I turn such an invitation down? In Belgium? The chocolate centre of the world? So I took off a morning from my daily job and set to conquer the chocolate universe of Neuhaus.
The day started with a delicious Neuhaus breakfast (confession – I should have ditched the coffee and tried out the Neuhaus hot chocolate. still regretting it!), then a short introduction and video on Neuhaus, after which we went all in. And by this I mean white coats and nets over our head we started the visit of the Neuhaus factory and had the privilege to meet some of Neuhaus’s own chocolatiers.
True craftsmen and – women. If I might have walked into the factory thinking ‘hmm, the true artisanal Neuhaus seems to be a bit lost’ I walked out amazed and full of admiration on how much of the chocolate is still hand made. And what a skill it takes to make it look box pretty perfect. Every single chocolate is checked for perfection and if they don’t make the cut? They go into the factory shop (located next to the actual factory in Vlezenbeek) – which really is not a bad thing after all.
I know we all know Neuhaus, as their shops are spread across Brussels. For me though entering inside the Neuhaus world, seeing how the different pralines are (hand)made, understanding a bit of the history, talking about the thinking process behind the different collections was an absolutely fascinating world.
After the factory visit it was our turn to transform raw material into beautiful pralines … well, let’s say some were better at it than others. None of our pralines would pass the Neuhaus quality test, but I still enjoyed my misshapen pralines on the way home. Yes, everything we created we got to take home. Chocolate overdose, if there is to be such thing …
A few fun facts I told myself to remember for those ‘impress-the-guests-after-dinner-with-coffee-and-Belgian-chocolate-knowledge’ which some of you might know … I didnt, but I know I will share them over a Neuhaus praline or two in the near future:
- Before the invention of the Neuhaus ballotin (the perfect shaped box we all know), pralines were sold in cones, like the ones we know from the frites;
- The Caprice and Tentation pralines were specially designed for the World Expo of 1958 (hosted in Brussels) are still amongst the top selling Neuhaus pralines;
- The Manon sucre is entirely hand made! And bonus fact: the name comes from the famous opera by Jules Massenet, Manon. Why? Because Neuhaus’s daughter, Suzanne, a famous opera singer of her time (1940s) performed an unforgettable Manon at La Monnaie. Voila.
- The ‘N’ on all the Neuhaus pralines is drawn by hand and the Neuhaus chocolatiers can each identify their own signature.
- The Plaisir praline mirrored the World Expo 1958 creation and was developed especially for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai
- And the most amazing fact of all … ALL Neuhaus pralines are made in the Vlezenbeek factory we got to visit. Every. Single. One.
A bit for everyone … I like these kind of quirky facts. But enough about me!
Now, you probably noticed I only write about products I love and try out myself, and I rarely (if ever) host any give aways. This time however, because the Neuhaus History Collection is all I love about Belgium – art deco design, a few quirky historical facts, and lets not forget … chocolate – I paired with Neuhaus to give away 3 (yes not one, not two, but three) boxes of the Neuhaus History Collection.
The contest is open to Belgian residents only and will run until 18 October 2015 23:59 (so a full 2 weeks to give everyone a fair chance). There will be 1 winner (box give away) per social media channel – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Details below as well as on the social media channels mentioned.
- Follow onfoodandwine and Neuhaus on Facebook
- Share this post publicly on FB
- Tag 2 or more friends on Facebook you would like to share the chocolate with
- Follow onfoodandwine and Neuhaus on Twitter
- Add 2 friends in your tweet you would like to share the chocolate with
- Tweet this post using #NeuhausHistory
- Follow onfoodandwine and Neuhaus on Instagram
- Tag two friends you would like to share the #NeuhausHistory Collection box with
- Leave a comment on why you want to win this box
… for the love of chocolate good luck!