The Caluwé cachet
Since 1968, the Caluwé family has been making chocolates from their home in Wommelgem, Belgium. Originally Georges and Julie Caluwé made chocolates for the local trade, but as their exquisite chocolates became famous worldwide, the family saw the need to expand and enlarged the production facility to meet global demand.
Upon retiring, they passed the business onto their sons. Today, grandson Koen Caluwé heads up the family business, Caluwé Artisan Chocolatier, continuing the legacy of Belgian chocolates, but notably Caluwé specialties.
As expected, Koen is fiercely proud of the traditions he has inherited and is committed to ensuring every chocolate made reflects the values inspired by his grandparents. At the same time, he’s continually seeking new and wonderful ways to delight Caluwé fans worldwide.
Take, for example, the company’s range of pralines in its Artisan line. The famed Signature praline features a delicate whipped caramel mousse on a hand-made caramelized crunchy nut base, enrobed in thick, creamy milk chocolate. The final touch comes from the master chocolatier, who decorates the praline by hand using a pastry bag.
Compare the Signature chocolate with two more contemporary creations, Fusion and Emotion. Fusion features a griotte cherry drenched in Amaretto, hand placed into a dark chocolate shell, then combined with a sweet fondant cream. This piece provides consumers with an incredible fusion of flavors.
Meanwhile, Emotion fuses traditional ganache with banana, which is then covered in milk chocolate. It has become a new generation Caluwé favorite!
Such attention to detail not only requires a chocolate master, such as Albéric Caluwé, Koen’s father, who brings years of Caluwé experience and expertise to the table, but also a knowledgeable and skilled crew.
To meet the demands of local, national and international clients — the company exports to 25 countries and sales topped 21 million pralines in 2011 — Caluwé employs 45. A video of the company’s production facility (vimeo.com/20035525) captures the merger of automated chocolate production processes with the handcrafted touch of master craftsmen.
All pralines come under the watchful eye of packers who handplace the pieces into a range of boxes, many of which come tastefully decorated with a ribbon. As expected, style does matter for this family-run business.
That style comes through loud and clear in the company’s recently opened flagship retail shop in the center of Antwerp. Here customers enter a modern salon-style setting, knowing their palettes will be pampered with the best combinations of chocolate, ganaches, fruits, nuts and other wonderful ingredients.
Most recently, the company committed to expanding its presence in the United States, having exhibited at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in 2010.
Having supplied such UK retailers as J. Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and prestigious London-based department stores, Ahold’s Albert Heijn in The Netherlands and also Belgian chains as Carrefour and Delhaize, the company believes U.S. consumers would appreciate sampling the Caluwé cachet as well.
For more information, visit www.caluweartisan.com.