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Belgian vs. Swiss: it’s a Chocolate-Off

April 20th, 2011

Teuscher chocolate

Belgian vs Swiss chocolate

A couple years ago I developed a keen interest in chocolate – not just in eating it, but in learning more about its origin, sources, and the creation of product. Unsatisfied with Godiva, I found a little store in Yorkville called Simone Marie Belgian Chocolate and it quickly became my go-to place for a chocolate fix. Not only was the product very good, but the sales attendant, Magda, was incredibly passionate about chocolate and loved to share her knowledge. I must have spent hours in the store when it wasn’t busy, talking to her about chocolate and coming away with much more than treats to sate my sweet tooth, test my palate, and appall my dentist. Though Magda is no longer there, the salespeople are always wonderfully helpful and I still visit whenever I’m in the area to pick up some truffles and chocolate-covered candied ginger.

One of the things I learned during my chats with Magda was that Belgian chocolate and Swiss chocolate are very different. Belgian chocolate has a higher cocoa content, lending it a richer flavour, and Swiss chocolate has more cream, which gives it a smoother, silkier texture. One is not superior to the other; they are very different and preference will depend on one’s tastes.

I selected truffles from Simone Marie (Belgian) and Teuscher (Swiss), which are both conveniently located in Yorkville. For an everyday indulgence, I personally prefer the texture and richness of Simone Marie’s Belgian truffles, but I often purchase champagne truffles from Teuscher, which are creamy and luxurious, for small holiday gifts (including some for myself of course!).

Here’s the line-up (top to bottom and left to right):

Belgian chocolate - Simone Marie

Belgian: Simone Marie ($1.60 per truffle)
Champagne Truffle (milk)
Inca – Hazelnut Praline with crushed hazelnut and shaved biscuit (dark) – my personal favourite from SM
Iris – Honey Pistachio (white)
Lime with a hint of Coriander (milk)

Swiss chocolate - Teuscher

Swiss: Teuscher ($2.00 per truffle)
Champagne Truffle (milk)
Zebra – triple chocolate ganache with a dark chocolate shell
Champagne Truffle (dark)
Pistachio (white)
Stammli – milk chocolate ganache heart, pistachio marzipan, dark chocolate shell

Easter chocolate

Seasonal Extras:
Simone Marie – carries foil-wrapped individual eggs, as well as chocolate rabbits in various shapes and sizes. I opted instead for the boxed rabbits/chickens and jellybean eggs ($12)
Teuscher – has a bigger variety of chocolate rabbits and boxed packages, but I fell completely for the champagne truffle eggs, in packages of 3 ($15) or 6 ($30), and available in milk, dark, or a combination of the two.

Which one is better?
Well, as I said, they are both very different. The Simone Marie truffles are bigger, more rustic, and very satisfying. As a fan of dark chocolate, I enjoy that they are not overly sweet. The Teuscher truffles are smaller, more delicate, but also more complex. Because their chocolate has such a smooth texture, it appears that they layer in other elements to contrast with the texture, such as a pistachio filling with a very high ratio of nut to add a marvelous crunch, or a sweet champagne buttercream center hidden inside the ganache of the champagne truffle. Try them both – and let your personal taste guide you!

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