For those who’d like to indulge themselves in the moreish goodness of chocolate truffles, we have created a brief and addictively tasty guide on what exactly chocolate truffles are. However, unfortunately for all of us, we have kept chocolate praline enjoyers waiting for too long, but don’t worry. Today we will go over chocolate praline 101 and finish off with some of the must-tries, waiting patiently for you, stocked on our digital shelves. So, whether it’s a chocolate truffle you’re determined to get to know closer or a praline, our field guide blogs can definitely help with that.
Chocolate pralines are on the complicated side of the chocolate category, and the reason is, ironically, simple - they are almost impossible to define. Surprisingly for many, pralines are a morass of a chocolate world - while some know them as caramelized nut confections, others adore them for their chocolate shells. The truth is, they are both. There are three main types of pralines, and they look and taste nothing alike.
We’re sure you’re familiar with New Orleans pralines - melt-in-your-mouth, nutty cookie-shaped confections made with sugar, milk, pecans, and other nuts - resembling French variety, made with syrup and almonds. Yet, French pralines are firmer than American ones. While we adore the moreish crunchiness of nuts, it's the Belgian variety we’re all here gathered to talk about, right?! The chocolate outer shell encloses a soft, sometimes even liquid-like center. That’s not all - the insides of the Belgian pralines, or bonbons, are often enriched with nut pieces or even whole hazelnuts. It’s a celebration of flavors and textures hiding underneath the delicious shell!
It’s pretty much impossible for us to imagine the time when pralines didn’t exist; however, unfortunately for us, none of the types grow on trees, despite how bad we wish for that to be a thing. Nut pralines, just like chocolate truffles, were invented by the French in the 17th century. Some speculate that they were created by the personal chef of César, Duc de Choiseul, Comte du Plessis-Praslin (and, yes, there was no shorter way to spell that), a diplomat and marshall of France. So, you get how they got their name, right?!
However, after Europe got the hang of grinding aromatic cocoa beans and making what soon would be known as the most delicious thing in the world, aka chocolate, the concept of pralines was revolutionized. It was Belgian Jean Neuhaus Jr. in 1912 who first had the idea of creating chocolate pralines with the outer shell and creamy filling inside. This kind of chocolatey experimentation shouldn’t come as a surprise since Belgium has a long-standing chocolate-making tradition!