Albert II

Belgian chocolate, the art form

Belgian chocolate, the art form

BRUSSELS, Belgium — In a shop just a few steps from this city's famed Grand Place, there's barely time to breathe as Svenja Schmitz serves a steady stream of customers.

They're mostly locals with whom Schmitz converses in French or Flemish. But she easily switches to other languages, including English and German, as tourists stop by for a taste of history.

It was in this very shop that Jean Neuhaus Jr. created the first filled chocolates. In Europe, they're commonly called pralines. In America, they're sometimes known as bonbons.

Neuhaus' father had opened the business as a pharmacy in 1857. His namesake son stumbled across the idea for pralines while still filling...