Albert Premier co was started in 1947 by an engineer, who, eager to create something new, wanted to produce chocolate coins. To be able to do this, he designed and built the chocolate coining machines himself in his residence, which was located on the square ‘Albert Premier’, in the city of Brussels. In the beginning, he bought the chocolate from a local chocolate maker, wrapped the blanks into gold foiled chocolate coins, and re-sold the coins to the chocolate maker, who took care of the selling of the coins to the confectionery trade.
The quality of the coins was so good that his business grew steadily every year, and he had to change premises in 1955 to increase the space needed to place more equipment. In 1968, by lack of successors, he sold the company to an investor. The investor installed a professional director who had the task of integrating the production, expanding the customer base, and to start with exports.
In 1976, the company moved to other premises (JB Baeck street) in Brussels, and a chocolate moulding line was installed. This integration offered the Chocolaterie the opportunity to increase its quality, its flexibility and, its efficiency. The focus lay for 100% on the production and marketing of chocolate coins. In 1993, the Chocolaterie had some difficult time with new competition from southern Europe, combined with the devaluation of the Italian and Spanish currencies.
In 1995, the investor, by lack of successors, had sold the company to the present owner, the Talpe family. Peter Talpe, with a background of more than 15 years in the food production and trade, of which 2 years in the Godiva chocolate company, became managing director.
In 1998, a new product line was introduced: mini- tablets 10g, milk &dark chocolate. In the same year, to sustain the recent growth of the company, and to respond to the more demanding customers, the Chocolaterie moved into a new, purpose build, plant just outside the city of Brussels, in the town of Lot, Belgium. This is its present location which still offers space to grow.
Because of that move, Albert Premier can now offer a complete range of chocolate coins, made in white, milk or dark chocolate, together with a range of 10gram mini tablets in milk or dark chocolate, it can produce custom recipes, custom made coins and medallions, and is BRC and IFS certified. In 2010, 2 new product lines have been introduced: Chocolate Gold Bars and Golden Hearts.
These products are new and exclusive in their form and presentation, and cannot be found elsewhere in the world.
The chocolate in our factory is produced on lines that do NOT process nuts or dried fruits, only chocolate. There is always the (very small) possibility on traces of fruit or nuts cultivated together with cocoa beans in the cocoa growing countries. We refer therefore to the statement of the European Cocoa Board on this subject that the potential traces of peanut in cocoa are very low (below 1mg/kg cocoa) and therefore there should be no precautionary allergen labeling for these substances.
The milk chocolate coins are
produced on lines that do not
produce gluten, using a gluten
The milk chocolate is suitable for
Our milk chocolate contains the
following quality ingredients:
- Cocoa Butter
- Milk Solids
- Cocoa Mass
- oya Lecithin
From Bean to Coin
The cocoa beans arrive from Africa, Latin America and Asia. Cocoa beans from different origins are first examined for quality and then carefully mixed into a blend. This is done to obtain chocolate with a predetermined taste and aroma. Cocoa beans are cleaned of stones, dirt and sand and dried quickly under heaters. This makes it easier to break the beans and to remove the shell around them. Only the pieces of kernel or "cocoa nibs" remain. Cocoa nibs are then roasted, which develops their aroma. In special grinders, nibs are ground to a very fine, liquid mass, the cocoa liquor. This is one of the main ingredients of chocolate. Cocoa liquor can be further processed into two different components: cocoa butter and cocoa powder. However, it can also be used directly as an ingredient in chocolate.
From cocoa liquor to chocolate
Depending on the kind of chocolate, different ingredients are used:
Dark chocolate: Cocoa liquor + cocoa butter + sugar
Milk chocolate: Cocoa liquor + cocoa butter + sugar + milk powder
White chocolate: Cocoa butter + sugar + milk powder
Vanilla or vanilla essence can be added to all types to enhance the taste.
The ingredients are first dosed very precisely according to the recipe.
These ingredients are mixed into a homogeneous chocolate dough. This
mixture is then refined between rollers to form a fine chocolate powder
in which the particles are so small that the human tongue can no longer
distinguish them. This gives the finished chocolate an extremely smooth
texture and a homogeneous flavor.
The chocolate powder is put into large conches where it is kneaded for
several hours until the aromas have fully developed. Conches are large
tanks with a powerful stirring device inside that kneads the chocolate
mixture slowly over a long time. Contact with air, heat and friction result
in several different physical and chemical processes:
The cocoa butter present in the cocoa liquor melts. This also occurs with
the milk fat from the milk powder used for milk and white chocolate.
These fats are spread through all the minuscule particles in the mixture;
Moisture present in the mixture evaporates;
The volatile acids disappear partially or totally, depending on the
conching time, and this affects the flavor of the chocolate.
A caramelization process also takes place, depending on the heat and
the conching time. This also affects the flavor of the chocolate and is
particularly important for milk and white chocolate.
The conching process
The conching process demands particular knowledge, experience and constant checking. At the end of the conching process, cocoa butter and an emulsifier (soya lecithin) are added to the conch.
The amounts of cocoa butter and emulsifier affect the viscosity. Besides enhancing the flavor, the added cocoa butter makes the chocolate more liquid. The liquid chocolate is then stored in large heated tanks
Chocolate molding and wrapping.
The liquid chocolate is first tempered. Tempering ensures the formation of the right type of cocoa butter crystals so that the chocolate will harden into shiny, hard, stable shapes. Only after tempering can chocolate be poured into molds. ,During cooling, chocolate becomes hard so that it comes out of the molds perfectly shaped and ready for packing. The chocolate for the coins has the form of circular disks, 'blanks', without any image.
The (cold) chocolate disks are brought into the coin wrapping machines which will wrap the coins with aluminum foil and, at the same time, press the image into the coin, on both faces. This is obtained by means of a machine tool which we call the engraved punch tool which has the mirror-image of the chocolate coin image. It is not necessary, as many may think, to heat the chocolate to get the image into it, because the pressure allows the chocolate to shape into the image instantly. Although this may seem an easy process, it requires quite some knowhow to produce a quality image into chocolate coins.