In our never ending endeavor to find attractions that are not on the usual tourism radar, we visited "Choco-Story; the Chocolate Museum". Located just a block away from Le Grand Place, this museum presents the history of chocolate, its introduction into Europe, as well as the process of turning raw cocoa beans into edible treats.
Throughout Central and South America, the Aztecs, Olmecs, and Maya's began cultivating cocoa trees thousands of years ago. They used the cocoa beans for currency and a bitter beverage. Columbus introduced cocoa into Europe after his fourth voyage to America in 1502. By 1528, Spain had fallen in love with this new treat. Anne of Austria, daughter of Phillipe of Spain, introduced chocolate to France after her marriage to Louis XIII in 1615. By 1635, chocolate was introduced into Belgium. The law in Belgium is that their chocolate has to be made with 100% cocoa butter, and that makes theirs unique.
Today, 70% of the world's 3.5 million tons of cocoa production comes from West Africa.