Thursday, April 28, 2011

Belgian chocolates and Elly Beinhorn

This card full of chocolaty goodness arrived last week from Germany. Thanks, Lilly.

chocolate postcard. Postcrossing DE - 891109

Must have been this card that got me stuffing my face with chocolates and sweets (and Nutella, heheh) the past week. I can't see which brand the chocolates on this card is but they are supposed to be from Belgium. You've probably eaten those seashell chocolates from Guylian and Côte-d'Or bars, but Belgian chocolates aren't all about these mass-produced goodies. There are quite a few Belgian gourmet chocolatiers, many of which are now exported worldwide. Among the better known names are Leonidas, Godiva and Neuhaus. More fancy ones include Wittamer and Marcolini, my personal favorite when I was living in Brussels 10 years ago :P. I remember going into Marcolini's and getting a rich hot chocolate while choosing my pralines. They have great modern lovely packaging and you can get more experimental, exotic flavors apart from the traditional favorites.

Belgium produces 172,000 tons of chocolate every year (many chocolatiers still make them by hand) and there are more than 2,000 specialty shops throughout the country. Prices can range from €30 to €58 per kilogram (2.2 pounds), according to the Antwerpt Tourist Guide. It says Belgians eat an annual average of 11.03 kilograms (24.3 pounds) of chocolates - making them the number two country in per capita consumption of chocolate, according to the International Cocoa Organization.

The history of Belgian chocolates dates back to the 19th century under King Leopold II's rule, during which Belgium colonized some parts of Africa. This gave it access to cocoa plants, which led to the development of a Belgian chocolate industry.

Chocolate is like a religion in Belgium. You see chocolate shops everywhere and there are numerous museums that detail the history of the confection, among them the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate. Here a link to a list of chocolate museums, tours, events and chocolatiers at the Visit Belgium website.

75 jahre rekardflug (Elly Beinhorn) and tulip stamps. Postcrossing DE - 891109

The yellow flowers are tulips. Nice! Reminds me of my drives through Belgium and Holland. The pink and black/white one is actually one stamp. Issued on August 12, 2010, it commemorates the intercontinental flight that German pilot Elly Beinhorn made in 1935 from Gliwice (now in Poland) to Ye ilköy in Istanbul and back to Berlin - all in one day. She flew 3,470 km (2155 miles) in 13.5 hours. Beinhorn made a trip around the world in 1931-32 but her plane was disassembled and shipped at certain points, so she didn't circle Earth at the controls of a plane. See a map of Elly Beinhorn's round-the-world journey.

The first woman to fly solo around the world was American Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock in 1964, in single-engine airplane The Spirit of Columbus. She made the 22,860 miles (36,790 km) journey in 29 days, with 21 stopovers.

Related links
Chocolate (wikipedia)

by liberal sprinkles

1 comment:

Lynn said...

Okay, thanks, now I want to eat some chocolate! Nice post, as always, they are so informative and you have such a nice way of telling it.