As many of you already know I'm a big chocolate lover. Luckily I live in Belgium. We have amazing chocolate brands over here. One of them is Guylian Chocolates. Guylian Chocolates is famous for its seahorse and seashell shaped chocolates with a soft chocolate filling. When I was little my grandparents used to take me to the Belgian seaside during summer vacation and there was a chocolate store there where we'd always get Guylian Belgian chocolates. Now, whenever there's a family get-together, my grandmother has a box of Guylian Chocolates for my brother and me. You can tell I'm a fan, right? So when GuyLian offered to send me two kinds of their chocolates to review, I didn't have to think twice.
- What is Guylian chocolates?
- What is the history of Guylian chocolate?
- What are the most popular products of Guylian chocolate?
- Where can visitors buy Guylian chocolates in Belgium?
- Which Belgian chocolate festivals feature Guylian?
- What are the options for Guylian chocolate tasting tours in Brussels?
- How is Guylian chocolate sustainable?
What is Guylian chocolates?
Guylian is a prestigious Belgian chocolate brand renowned worldwide for its signature seashell shaped pralines. Guylian chocolates originate from Sint-Niklaas, Belgium where the company headquarters and main production plant are still located today. The brand was founded in 1958 by Guy Foubert, an artisanal Belgian chocolatier. He established Guylian by combining his first name with his wife Liliane's to represent their shared love of chocolate. Guylian has become synonymous with indulgent, silky smooth Belgian chocolates encapsulating a uniquely creamy hazelnut praline filling within a chocolate shell. Guylian is acclaimed for creating the original chocolate seashells. The iconic Guylian seashells comprise two key elements – the exterior shell moulded from Belgian chocolate and the interior filling made from a secret recipe hazelnut praline. The shells demonstrate Guylian's Belgian chocolate making mastery through their flawless shiny finish and delicate marbling using different coloured Belgian chocolates – milk, white and dark.
What is the history of Guylian chocolate?
The origins of Guylian chocolate lie in the Belgian town of Sint-Niklaas where Guy Foubert, born in 1938, first honed his chocolate making skills. After training at a prestigious confectionery school, the young artisan chocolatier began selling his handcrafted pralines at local markets. This early success led him to perfect his recipe and establish the Guylian brand in 1958 by amalgamating his first name with that of his wife Liliane. Their shared passion for chocolate inspired the company name and pioneering products. A key milestone came in 1967 when Liliane designed the first chocolate seashells following a holiday to the Belgian seaside. She devised the decorative seashell shapes while Guy developed the indulgent hazelnut praline filling, now Guylian's signature taste. This innovation propelled Guylian's growth and popularity worldwide.
Guylian opened new chocolate factory in Sint-Niklaas in 1988 dedicated to producing their specialty seashell pralines, to manage escalating demand. Notable events in Guylian's history include the creation of the Temptations range in 2006 featuring individually wrapped chocolate seahorses in assorted flavors. In 2008, the company behind household brands like Toblerone acquired Guylian. Then in 2017, responding to consumer trends, Guylian launched chocolate bars and built a new production line at the Sint-Niklaas site. Guylian's history from the 1960s onwards is connected to the chocolate seashells and their commercial success. Guylian still manufactures the iconic seashell pralines in Sint-Niklaas according to founder Guy Foubert's exacting standards and secret recipes. The praline-filled seashells, combining a chocolate shell and smooth melting hazelnut filling, remain the brand's cornerstone after more than 50 years. The company history has come full circle by returning to Foubert's artisanal approaches but on a large scale, producing up to 75 tons of chocolate per day. Guylian has preserved traditional Belgian chocolate craftsmanship from its origins guided by Foubert's vision. Guylian is now synonymous with indulgent Belgian chocolate seashells reflective of the brand's beginnings.
What are the most popular products of Guylian chocolate?
Guylian's most popular and iconic product is the praline-filled chocolate seashells, Belgian Chocolate Master's Selection and chocolate bars. Firstly, the classical seashells are available in ballotin gift boxes holding anywhere in 16, 22 and 250 grams, the seashells come in dark, milk or white chocolate varieties. Each seashell has an ultra-smooth, lightly marbled exterior made from Belgian couverture chocolate. The seashells encloses the signature Guylian hazelnut praline filling crafted from a secret recipe unchanged since the company's beginnings. The contrasting chocolate shell with indulgent nutty interior is a sublime experience for chocolate devotees. The seashells hold appeal as gifts, allowing easy sharing of the chocolate through the ballotin packaging.
After the seashells, Guylian's second most popular item is the Belgian Chocolate Master's Selection, a luxurious assortment of pralines in a decorative gift box. It delivers a chocolate experience through various premium fillings enrobed in Guylian's Belgian chocolate. Elegantly packaged boxes of the Master's Selection chocolates are a prestigious gift suited to gifting or sharing at celebrations.
Next in line by popularity is Guylian's chocolate bars now produced in Sint-Niklaas such as Sea Salt Caramel or No Sugar Added Dark Chocolate. These appeal to the trend toward premium chocolate bars from artisanal makers. Guylian Temptations in soft nougat, truffle and caramel flavors are also a consumer favorite as bite-sized indulgences.
Guylian has expanded into chocolate bars, truffles and novelty items, the seashell pralines remain their hero product globally based on uniqueness and taste.
What are the most interesting facts about Guylian chocolate?
Listed below are the most interesting facts about Guylian chocolate.
- Production. The Sint-Niklaas chocolate factory can produce up to 75 tons of pralines, truffles, bars and other chocolates every day. This high output means Guylian chocolates are available in over 100 countries around the world.
- Exports. The company exports 60% of its products outside Europe to places like Asia, Australia and America.
- Products. The company makes chocolate bars, truffles, chocolate fruit and nuts as well as the signature seashells.
- Sustainability. Guylian uses fair trade cocoa beans and aims for sustainability in production. Guylian aims to use sustainable practices such as only purchasing cocoa beans from fair trade producers. They have initiatives to reduce food waste in production and create recyclable packaging.
What are the ingredients of each product?
Guylian chocolates stand out due to the premium quality ingredients used across their product range, like the signature seashell pralines, chocolate bars and truffles. At the heart of all Guylian chocolates is Belgian couverture chocolate made from 100% pure cocoa butter according to traditional processes. For the outer shell, Guylian uses either milk, white or dark Belgian chocolate of the finest grade to achieve a flawlessly smooth texture and taste. The chocolate's cocoa butter content enables it to melt luxuriously on the palate. For fillings, the principal ingredient is hazelnut praline made exclusively by Guylian using hand selected Mediterranean hazelnuts. These nuts are slowly roasted in small batches in copper kettles to enrich their flavour before being combined with Belgian chocolate. The resulting hazelnut praline delivers an utterly creamy and indulgent tasting experience. It forms the basis of fillings across assortments from iconic praline seashells to specialty truffles and chocolate seahorses. Guylian's master chocolatiers carefully select complementary ingredients to enhance each product's taste and texture. For instance, the Opus chocolates showcase exotic fruit flavours like pear and mango alongside praline and truffle creams.
The chocolate covered nuts and dried fruit range uses ingredients like blueberries and raisins to create exciting flavour fusions with dark chocolate. Even in Guylian's chocolate bars, premium touches are added such as crunchy caramel pieces or a touch of sea salt to balance the sweetness. Whether milk, white or dark, Belgian chocolate remains fundamental. For certain products like the No Sugar Added range, all ingredients from cocoa to sweeteners are meticulously chosen to ensure an exceptional flavour profile.
Across all items, from silky smooth praline fillings to the chocolate exterior, Guylian focuses on taste perfection through premium sustainable ingredients. The expertise of Guylian's master chocolatiers combines with only the finest raw materials to create an elevated chocolate experience consistent across the portfolio.
Where can visitors buy Guylian chocolates in Belgium?
Guylian chocolates can be readily found across Belgium. As the chocolates originate in Sint-Niklaas, visitors can purchase them at the large Guylian factory store adjacent to the production plant located there. This shop offers the full chocolate range from signature gift boxed seashells to limited edition products providing a fantastic experience. Tourists can also find Guylian chocolates at two Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafés situated in Antwerp and Blankenberge. The cafés sell chocolates for takeaway or to enjoy in-store along with a menu of drinks and patisseries with a chocolate focus.
Guylian operates Chocolate Ambassador stores in Bruges and Brussels dedicated to showcasing their new products. Major cities like Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent house numerous independent chocolate boutiques retailing Guylian seashells as part of their selection of Belgian pralines.
Guylian also has wide availability in Belgian grocery stores such as Carrefour or Delhaize and in convenience outlets like gas stations or newsagents.
Brussels Airport is a convenient location to pickup Guylian on departure as the chocolates are prominently displayed in duty free stores.
The Brussels Chocolate Museum provides a wonderful experience into Belgian chocolate production along with a well-stocked gift shop selling all the famous brands.
Chocolate specialty stores like Brussels Chocolate Village stock an extensive selection of Guylian products both at their Brussels boutique and online shop delivering worldwide.
Which Belgian chocolate festivals feature Guylian?
Guylian actively participates in two Belgian chocolate festivals and events to showcase their products given the brand's status as a top national chocolate maker. These are the Brussels Chocolate Week and Blankenberge Chocolate Festival.
Brussels Chocolate Week. Brussels Chocolate Week is held in February is a key event Guylian supports through its master chocolatiers providing live demonstrations. Chocolate aficionados can observe firsthand techniques for creating Guylian seashells and sample products. Guylian educate consumers about the craftsmanship involved at Brussels Chocolate Week seminars and inspire artisanal chocolate making.
Blankenberge Chocolate Festival. Blankenberge Chocolate Festival takes place in March and Guylian collaborates to create chocolate sculptures and pop-up shops. A highlight is their life-size chocolate sea scene sculpture reflecting the seaside town's location. Guylian also unveils novelty chocolates and seasonal items at Blankenberge for attendees to taste.
What are the options for Guylian chocolate tasting tours in Brussels?
In Brussels, visitors can try chocolate tasting tours are available in Brussels through companies like Brussels Chocolate Tours. These tours stop at the Guylian Café where you can taste their chocolates paired with drinks. You can also take a tour of the Guylian factory in Sint-Niklaas to see how the chocolates are produced.
Can you buy a Guylian chocolate as a souvenir from Belgium?
Yes. Guylian chocolate seashells gift boxes make an ideal souvenir to take home from Belgium. The chocolates give a summary of the country's confectionery excellence as a pioneer in pralines and truffles. The decorative boxes adorned with images of the seaside provide a memorable Belgian memento. Guylian chocolates have a shelf life of 120 days ensuring freshness for transport and storage after travel. The 22 or 34 piece ballotin sizes allow savoring the chocolates gradually post-vacation.
Can you buy Guylian chocolate online?
Yes, people can buy Guylian chocolate online. Guylian operates its own e-commerce website with global delivery to over 120 countries. Consumers can order Guylian’s full range directly. UK residents can buy Guylian chocolates online from British retailers like Selfridges or Harrods who carry selections of the seashells and novelty chocolates. In the US market, Amazon provides access to imported Guylian chocolates from Europe across the assortment range. Amazon Prime delivery means receiving your Guylian chocolate fix rapidly.
How is Guylian chocolate sustainable?
Yes, Guylian pursues several sustainability initiatives spanning fair trade sourcing to recycling with the aim of reducing the environmental impact of chocolate production. A key focus is obtaining cocoa beans exclusively from fair trade certified sources. Guylian commits to paying fair minimum pricing to cooperatives for sustainably grown cocoa which supports farmer livelihoods. The company also invests in communities through the fair trade premium to facilitate training and farming improvements. Guylian's pledge to use 100% fair trade cocoa promotes equity in the cocoa supply chain.
Guylian avoids palm oil and instead uses sustainably sourced sunflower oil. This alteration makes their chocolates healthier with decreased saturated fats. Guylian also sources hazelnuts destined for praline fillings from Mediterranean regions near the production site which minimizes transport miles. The brand embraces reducing food waste through careful forecasting and recycling unusable chocolate. Production waste is just 0.1% owing to initiatives like reworking offcuts into new products. Guylian's chocolate wrapping contains no plastic and their seashell boxes utilize recyclable materials.
Guylian communicates environmental commitments on packaging and through certification partnerships. The boxes highlight fair trade cocoa sourcing and display certifications like Fairtrade International or UTZ labels. Guylian wants chocolate lovers to feel their purchase aligns with ethical values. The company also supports conservation groups like Project Seahorse through funding and consumer awareness campaigns. Guylian takes care to conduct business sustainably from chocolate making through to interactions with communities and customers.
What is the Project Seahorse?
Project Seahorse was founded in 1996 by two scientists doing research on seahorses. The goal of the project is to protect seahorses and other marine life from overfishing, incidental catch and the destruction of their habitats. With the seahorse as its signature chocolate I think it's very fitting that Guylian supports this project. The brand does this in two ways. The first is by organizing activities and events to raise awareness about the subject; the second is by donating a part of the sales to the project. So each time you buy some Guylian chocolates, you're also supporting Project Seahorse. If you'd like to know more about Project Seahorse, check out the website.
What chocolate brands are popular in Belgium?
Find below the best chocolate brands in Belgium.
- Neuhaus. Neuhaus, a chocolate brand from Belgium, began in 1857 with Jean Neuhaus in Brussels. Initially a pharmacy, Neuhaus introduced chocolates to mask medicines' taste. Jean Neuhaus Jr., the founder's grandson, created the praline in 1912, using hazelnut paste as filling instead of medicine. Neuhaus's pralines, known for their variety, include fillings of gianduja, ganache, and praline. The praline stands as Neuhaus's signature item.
- Godiva. Godiva is a Belgian chocolate firm founded in 1926 by Joseph Draps in Brussels. The first shop opened near the Grand Place and has grown to over 600 stores worldwide. Godiva prides itself on premium ingredients and esteemed chefs. Its signature chocolate truffles feature flavors such as fruit, nuts, and liqueur-infused ganache. Other Godiva offerings encompass chocolate bars, hot chocolate, and chocolate gift boxes.
- Côte d'Or. Côte d'Or is one of the oldest Belgian chocolate brands founded in 1883 by Charles Neuhaus. Its name meaning ‘Gold Coast' refers to Ghana where it sources its cocoa beans. Côte d'Or is known for its wide selection of chocolates like bars, truffles, pralines, and spreads. Its most popular product is the Chokotoff, a chocolate-covered toffee bar. Other variations include Les Bouchées pralines, dark chocolate bars, and chocolate with flavors like hazelnut and salted caramel.
- Leonidas. Leonidas is a Belgian chocolate brand founded in 1913 known for its affordable price and high quality. Leonidas uses only natural ingredients like pure cocoa butter and offers over 100 different pralines. Leonidas' most popular product is the chocolate truffle. Leonidas also makes chocolate bars, chocolates with fruit flavors, and sugar-free options.
- Bruyerre. Bruyerre is a Belgian chocolate label established in 1909 in Gosselies. It specializes in dark chocolate as well as pralines with fillings like hazelnut paste and ganache. Bruyerre's most popular product is its dark chocolate bar made with 64% cacao. Similar products from Bruyerre include milk and white chocolate bars as well as truffles and chocolate with flavors like orange, lime, and sea salt.
- Mary. Mary is a family-owned Belgian chocolate brand founded in 1919 by Mary Delluc, the first female chocolatier in Brussels. Mary produces quality chocolates like pralines, truffles, and bars using high-end ingredients. Its most famous items are truffles and pralines in flavors like hazelnut, pistachio, and creamy fruit fillings. Mary is also known for its ornate chocolate gift boxes.
- Galler. Galler is a Belgian chocolate enterprise created in 1976 by Jean Galler in Liege. Galler is known for its diverse flavors and products like chocolate bars, truffles, macarons, and packaged chocolates. Its most popular items are its chocolate bars that come in over 20 flavors. Other varieties include bite-sized chocolates, chocolate spreads, and seasonal items like chocolate bells and Santas.
- Guylian. Guylian, known since 1958 for its seashell chocolates with hazelnut praline, presents these in varieties of milk, dark, and white chocolate. Beyond its iconic seashells, Guylian's range extends to bars, truffles, and sugar-free options, with the praline-filled seashells as its hallmark.
- Wittamer. Wittamer is a family-owned company since 1910, crafts chocolates, pastries, and sweets with fine ingredients. Wittamer's chocolate-dipped strawberries are a renowned delicacy. Wittamer also offers truffles, seasonal chocolates, and gift boxes with assorted fillings and flavors.
- Belvas. Belvas is a newer Belgian brand established in 2005 as one of Europe's first organic chocolatiers. Belvas focuses on ethical and sustainable production. Its most popular creations are its chocolate truffles and chocolate bars. Alternative products of Belvas include vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free chocolates as well as specialty flavors like honey and roasted almond.
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