Beginning of the 17th century
The first chocolate manufacturers saw the light of day at the beginning of the 17th century in what is now the country of Belgium.
Part of the area of Belgium was dominated by the Spanish and this is how cocoa-flavoured drinks were first introduced to our regions. At the time, chocolate was rare and expensive and was only sold in chemists’ and tobacconists’ shops
The 19th century
In 1835 a steam engine was installed for the first time in a chocolate factory in Belgium.This meant that much greater quantities of cocoa beans could be ground.
In the early 1840s Bernaerts and Claret became well known in Brussels for their chocolate.
Towards the middle of the 19th century chocolate became a popular delicacy. It disappeared from the chemists’ shops where it was mixed with certain medicines to disguise their bad taste to become a sweet in its own right.
Gradually new companies opened all over the place :
Meurisse in Antwerp, N. de Launoy and A. Joveneaux in Tournai, Jean Neuhaus, Senez-Sturbelle and Demaret in Brussels.
By the end of the 19th century, chocolate-makers had multiplied. Martougin set up in Antwerp and Jacques in Verviers. The brand name Côte d’Or was registered in 1883 when Kwatta was just starting business.
The 20th century
Aiglon was established in Verviers and Clovis, Saga Crista, Faucon, Decerf, Angenot-Hongresse and Manguette were also set up. The chocolate industry developed new products that were widely advertised to make them known to the general public.
At last chocolate had become available for everybody, whatever their class in society.