Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A sticky Belgian

No, it’s not a politician, nor a crook (or is that the same?) nor an artist, nor an animal, nor a vegetable … What is it then? It’s a toffee. But not your everyday kind of toffee …

You either like sweets or you don’t. That’s only human. However, there is one Belgian specialty that even the world’s biggest candy hater loves: Chokotoff, a sticky chocolate caramel with a luscious coating of dark chocolate. It’s made by the famous Belgian ‘chocolatier’ Côte d‘Or, a.k.a. ‘the Elephant’.

As the maker describes it, this bonbon is made for the real gourmets who want to make the chocolate sensation last as long as possible. What you do is this: you remove the wrapping paper, next you delicately put the bonbon on you tongue. Then you close your eyes and you let the chocolate coating slowly melt in your mouth. Hmmm, sheer heaven!

When the chocolate is melted, careful bite on the caramel and very, very slowly savour the delicate chocolate caramel flavour that fills your mouth. Take it easy; don’t try to chew too fast, as the caramel will stick to your teeth, making it impossible for you to answer when someone asks you: “What’s that you have in your mouth?"

When you eat a Chokotoff as described above, the pleasure will last for a very long time; up to 10 minutes if you are really careful.

I had to unwrap a Chokotoff to shoot this photo.
And then of course ... I had no other option than to eat it!
Is your mouth watering by now? In that case, you can order your Chokotoffs here.

Chokotoffs have been around for as long as I can remember. In order to write this post, I did some web surfing to find out when they were first sold. This is what I found. The brand ‘Côte D’Or’ was registered by the artisan chocolatier Charles Neuhaus on April 24th, 1883. It refers to the ‘Gold Coast” in Ghana, where he used to buy part of his cacao beans. In 1898 he sells the brand to Mr. and Mrs. Bieswaél. In 1899 Bieswael’s company merges with NV Lambert Michiels. On July 16th, 1906 both companies launch the NV Alimenta and the brand Côte d’Or. The logo with the Elephant, the palm tree and the three pyramids is introduced at that moment too.

The ‘Chokotoff’ is launched in 1929 as the ‘Supertoff’*. During the World Exhibition of 1935 in Brussels the brand ‘Côté D’Or’ gains international fame. Due to a lack of cacao beans the production of the Côte d’Or factory comes to a temporary halt during WW2. After the war the ‘Elephant’ sets out to conquer the world!

Btw just recently Côte d’Or launched a white Chokotoff. Hardly a week later the company informed the public that, due the immense demand, the complete stock had already been sold. Each time I go to the supermarket I look out for the new Chokotoff, but all my attempts have been in vain till now.

(*) Although the suffix 'toff' refers to 'toffee', in Flemish the word 'tof' (with one 'f') means 'swell'! No wonder everybody likes a Chokotoff!


Carolyn said...

Thank you, Martine! That information will come in very handy on our next trip.

By the way, Cote d'Or chocolate bars beat all other chocolates we have tried in France. On each trip, I love to look over the huge chocolate selection in a hypermarche. There always seems to be something new.

Mark said...

Those first few paragraphs and your description of eating that candy had me wanting a cigarette by the time that I had finished reading. Perhaps you should be a romantic novel writer?
Hey, good news! I'm really sick with the flu or something. I know, that part is bad. But the good news is that when I came home from work yesterday, I was craving hot tea. We actually had green tea in the house. It was delicious. Now I guess I'll go home tonight and search the cupboards for some Chokotoff.
See what an influence you have over me.
Your Friend, m.

Olga said...

Whenever I read your blog I always feel like I'm flipping through a magazine. Today it was a magazine about a chocolate.

ladybird said...

Carolyn, Côte d'Or has a very large assortment of chocolates. I buy their 'Fondant 70%' (black bitter-sweet chocolate with minimum 70% of cacao) to make 'Moelleux à chocolat', individual dark chocolate cakes which you bake for only 12 minutes in the oven so that the inside stays nice and gooey ... Delicious!

Mark, Sorry to hear taht you are ill. Maybe you've caught Claire's germs :)?!
I'm glad the green tea brought you some comfort. Did you find a Chocotoff in your cupboards?
Get well soon!

Olga, Thank you. It's always nice to hear that people are enjoying my 'prose' ;). It also encourages me to keep this blog going.