When Lady Godiva, wife of Lord Leofric, protested against the taxation of his subjects a deal was struck: fair Lady Godiva would ride through the streets of Coventry, “clad in nought” but her long tresses, and if the population remained in shuttered buildings, their tax burden would be lifted. The following morning she made her famous ride, the citizens graciously stayed inside and Leofric kept his word and reduced the taxes.
Lady Godiva won the hearts of many and her legend has lived on through the centuries. Nowhere is her passion, purity, sensuality, style and boldness more symbolised than in Godiva chocolates, which in turn are sure to win the hearts of those who taste them.
This is the true story of a craftsman chocolate maker, whose legendary name has become a symbol of luxury and prestige the world over. This is the Godiva Story.
THE GODIVA STORY BEGINS WITH PRALINE.
This sweet mixture of finely ground almonds or hazelnuts and caramelized sugar was first married with chocolate in Belgium, to create what’s now known worldwide as the classic Belgian Chocolate. In 1926, Pierre Draps Senior handcrafted praline chocolates, or pralines, in the workshop of his Brussels home and the smooth, creamy Godiva praline chocolate was born. Work in Pierre’s at-home chocolate factory quickly became a family affair, with his wife and their four children helping to produce, finish, package and deliver these chocolate confectionary delights. Such decadent and irresistible chocolates deserved an evocative name, and the family decided that Godiva conjured the perfect image to represent their luxury chocolate brand. Inspired by the passion, boldness and generosity of Lady Godiva from the old English legend, the name Godiva is now synonymous with a luxurious chocolate experience and the Lady herself can be seen on Godiva chocolates, packaging and signage worldwide.
Bettys was founded by Frederick Belmont, a Swiss baker and confectioner who came to England in search of opportunities to develop his craft skills. He opened his first Café Tea Rooms in Harrogate in 1919 and named it ‘Bettys’. The reason why remains a mystery to this day. Frederick Belmont brought to Yorkshire from Switzerland nearly 100 years ago.
After losing his parents at an early age, Frederick Belmont spent his teens in apprenticeships for all manner of bakers and confectioners across Europe. By the time he arrived in England his head was filled with knowledge of their craft – and dreams of his future.
Fortunately, the beautiful countryside and sweet clear air reminded him of his native Switzerland – so much so, that he decided to stay. In 1919 he opened his first Bettys Café Tea Rooms in the fashionable spa town of Harrogate. The combination of mouth-watering Swiss confectionery and Yorkshire warmth and hospitality in such an elegant setting proved irresistible. Bettys was an instant success and was soon able to boast of ‘Royal and Distinguished Patronage’ on its letterhead.
In the 1920s Frederick opened a Craft Bakery in Harrogate, complete with its own orchard. Thanks to the new Bakery, Frederick was able to open Bettys branches in other Yorkshire towns including a flagship café in York, the design of which was inspired by the magnificent Queen Mary Cruise liner. His York tea rooms became particularly popular during the war years when the basement ‘Bettys Bar’ became the favourite destination of the hundreds of American and Canadian ‘Bomber Boys’ stationed around York. ‘Bettys Mirror’, on which many of them engraved their signatures with a diamond pen, still hangs in the branch today.
The years passed, and the business was handed down through the family, who still own Bettys today. In the early sixties Bettys bought Taylors of Harrogate, a family-run tea and coffee merchant, also based in Harrogate. It proved to be a winning combination.
After 90 years the identity of Betty still remains a family mystery – although over the years many explanations have been offered.
Frederick could have named his Tea Rooms after the late Queen Mother, Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, who was born at the turn of the century. Or perhaps a former manageress of the Harrogate Spa, Betty Lupton, ‘Queen of the Harrogate Wells’.
There’s a sentimental tale of young Betty, a doctor’s daughter, who died of tuberculosis and whose father’s practice on Cambridge Crescent later became the first Bettys Café Tea Rooms.
Our favourite story, however, is the one which tells of a small girl interrupting the very first Board Meeting when the issue of what to call the Tea Rooms was being discussed. The girl’s name, of course, was Betty.
5] Jacques Torres
Master chocolatier Jacques Torres takes pride in crafting fresh, hand-made chocolate using only premium ingredients in classic and original combinations. Every product is produced in his vast 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art chocolate factory at the historical Brooklyn Army Terminal in New York. His chocolates have no preservatives, no artificial flavourings and no essential oils. Real is his promise to you.
In the late 1970s, Robert Linxe, founder of La Maison du Chocolat, lit up the world of chocolate with a brilliantly fresh approach. A true visionary and trailblazer of taste, he inspired and influenced an entire generation of chocolatiers who followed him. He had an elevated idea of taste, orchestrating the flavours of chocolate like a musical score, infusing it with unique sensations that had never been experienced before.
Totally devoted to his art – and unanimously recognized today as a visionary – Robert Linxe opens his first boutique in 1977 on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris, calling it simply ‘La Maison du Chocolat’. At a time when chocolate is mainly known in France as a sweet to be given as a gift for Easter and Christmas, the talented chocolatier’s spontaneously intuitive and bold treatment of dark chocolate immediately earned him a distinctive status in the heretofore staid – and very sugary – world of chocolate.
Dubbed ‘The Wizard of Ganache’, Robert Linxe elevates chocolate to the rank of an exceptional ingredient. He amplifies its subtleties in his ganaches: a filling with a melt-in-your-mouth texture created from fresh cream, coated with a thin layer of chocolate.
One of his secrets was doing what no one had done before, inviting people to discover a different facet of chocolate, not as sweet or candy-like, more adult, liberated from the excesses of sugar and cream. He refines his chocolate assemblages, stabilizes the consistency of the signature taste, and in a truly revolutionary approach at the time, insists on only the finest quality natural ingredients. His expert touch reveals previously unimagined aromatic subtleties, for the first time associating fruit and infusions with chocolate. Raspberry, mint, lemon and other flavours brings unprecedented subtle scents to his creations. His many fans owe him a completely reinvented taste of chocolate, the birth of the French passion for dark chocolate, and a singular art of tasting that lets chocolate express its full range of emotion. Chocolate-making begins to be compared with making fine wines. Tasting notes are replete with terms like ‘powerful’, ‘roundness’, ‘creamy flavours’, ‘long finish’, ‘mouth-watering tenderness’, ‘smooth’, ‘intense’, ‘full-bodied’… The stage is set.
After Robert Linxe, no longer would anyone simply bite into a piece of chocolate – they would taste it with an entirely new perspective. Robert Linxe is rightfully remembered as the trailblazer who transformed ganache into a noble culinary creation.
Born in the Swiss Alps, teuscher has been one of the world’s greatest chocolates for over 80 years. Founder Dolf Teuscher traveled the world, seeking the finest ingredients for his beloved recipes. This standard of quality and excellence is practiced to this very day. No chemicals, additives, or preservatives. Period. Simply the finest Swiss chocolate the world has to offer.