Belgium sheds a chocolate tear as another manufacturer sold off

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Sales of historic chocolatiers to foreign firms have caused almost an existential crisis

Chocolate is not only a major economic player for Belgium, worth €2.8bn (£2.5bn) in exports a year, but one of the few cultural artefacts, along with frites (fries) and beer, which bind this complicated country of many languages.

Yet the latest takeover of a stalwart of the Belgian scene, this time by the Qatari royal family, has caused something of an existential crisis. The Flemish daily newspaper Het Nieuwsblad asked: “How Belgian is Belgian chocolate, if just about all the top players are in foreign hands?”

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