Here’s a riddle you might like to try. It’s sinfully delicious. Comforting when you are feeling stressed. And it can be a work of finely crafted, delicious art. The ancient Aztecs famously enjoyed theirs as a beverage, often mixed with peppers, and then the conquistadores took it back to Spain. Welcomed at the Spanish court, it spread to Italy and the rest of Europe, where its rarity and exorbitant price made it a specialty reserved for the aristocracy and the well to do. The industrial revolution, and its introduction of mass production, helped make it an affordable everyman’s treat, and with time, it circumnavigated the globe on trading ships and with soldiers bound for war in far flung locales.
It seems few cultures are immune from its charms, because billions, from Boston (according to statistics, chocolate sales in the United States are expected to reach $22.4 billion in 2017, from an estimated $21.1 billion in 2015) to Brussels, Beijing, and Budapest enjoy it. We are of course talking about chocolate. One of the best known of all chocolate companies is the Belgian firm Godiva, opened in 1926. What began as an atelier in Brussels owned by the Draps family now owns 600 boutiques in more than 100 countries in North America, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.
Godiva's team of chef chocolatiers includes a group of award-winning pastry chefs and chocolatiers — masterful innovators who may rely on science to develop recipes, but create chocolate inspired by aromas, spices, the cuisines of other cultures, and by the latest in gastronomy, fashion, and architecture.
In February of 2016, Godiva celebrated its ninetieth anniversary, and feted media in Brussels from around the world as part of a gala celebration. A signature anniversary chocolate bonbon was created for the anniversary by Godiva's chocolatiers, and the familiar gold box was given a new design by acclaimed Belgian artist Oli-B.
After almost a century, we wanted to find out more about Godiva, Here are 12 things we found out about it that you probably didn’t know:
1. Pierre Draps, the company’s founder, named his chocolate atelier GODIVA because he was inspired by the ancient legend of Lady Godiva of Coventry and, it is said, her passion, fearlessness, and generosity.
2. Godiva still uses some of the original recipes developed by the founder Pierre Draps, including the pralines that go into bonbons like the Corail, which is coconut cream filling flavored with rum, layered with hazelnut praline, a nougatine square, and then covered in dark chocolate.
3. Godiva has five chef chocolatiers who work together as a team to research and develop new chocolate formulas, discover new flavors, and design new ways to work with chocolate.
4. Every year, the chocolatiers create, on average, about 30 to 40 new chocolate recipes and 11 new seasonal collections, and oversee production of about 290 million chocolates in Godiva's Brussels factory.
5. It takes the Godiva team about a year to work on a new concept, test it, get it ready for final tasting, and then prepare the recipe for production at the factory.
6. Godiva boutiques dip approximately 16,000 strawberries per hour on Valentine’s Day each year.
7. In the last couple of years, the company's “More Than Just Chocolate” campaign has introduced new products that offer customers chocolate as a treat they can give themselves, a new trend for a company that made its reputation on gift boxes. This campaign also includes chocolate snacks and rewards including chocolate bars, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate shakes called Truffelatas, soft-serve ice cream, and a Rewards Club.
8. The Truffelata frozen drink may look like a milk shake, but it’s pure chocolate and it is definitely not made with ice cream. Instead, it’s made with the same ingredients used to make truffles, which depending on the recipe can include a blend of ice with chocolate, ganache, fondant, pralines, and other nuts, fruits, and ingredients. The six flavors include Milk Chocolate and Oreo® Cookie, Chocolate Lava Cake, Salted Caramel, Strawberry Crème, and Hazelnut Crunch,.
9. Godiva's Soft Serve comes in three flavors: dark chocolate, white chocolate vanilla bean, and Swirl, which is a swirl of both flavors. It is served in a cup or you can have it in a Belgian waffle cone with the rim dipped in white or dark chocolate with almonds.
10. Godiva's Rewards Club offers members benefits that include,a free piece of chocolate every month in participating Godiva boutiques, free gifts for every $20 spent, free standard shipping for one online order, and special members-only offers and new product announcements every month.
11. Hand-dipped berry cones feature paper cones filled with your choice of perfectly ripe strawberries, blueberries, and black berries dipped in dark or milk chocolate. You can even watch them do this right in the store.
12. In 2012, Godiva founded the Lady Godiva Program in honor of its namesake’s generosity to her people, and to recognize the work of women. The program celebrates and supports women making a difference around the world. According to the company, “The Lady Godiva Program highlights and honors extraordinary women who embody the spirit of Lady Godiva through their attributes of selflessness, generosity and leadership.”