Godiva is a premium Belgian chocolatier founded by the Draps family in 1926. For the past ninety years, Godiva has led the chocolate category through its pioneering innovation and impressive culinary artistry.
In 1926, Pierre Draps Sr. began making pralines at his confectionery workshop in Brussels. His children, Joseph, François Yvonne and Pierre Jr., all worked for the family business from an early age – Pierre Draps Jr. later described himself as being “born into chocolate”.
The inspiration for the Godiva name came from Joseph Draps, whose wife, Gaby, had such long and lustrous hair that she was nicknamed “Lady Godiva”. An 11th century English legend; Lady Godiva is said to have protested to her husband’s unfair taxation of the people by riding her horse through the streets of Coventry, UK, clothed in nothing but her long hair. Values associated with Lady Godiva – generosity, passion, boldness and a pioneering spirit are bound up with the essence of Godiva to this day.
Godiva opened its first boutique on Boulevard Leopold II in Brussels in 1945, and a flagship soon followed in the city’s famous Grand Place in 1948. After gaining recognition and popularity in its home country, Godiva’s first international boutique opened in 1958 on the fashionable Rue St-Honoré in Paris. A decade later, after becoming increasingly synonymous with quality Belgian chocolate, Godiva was named an official chocolatier to the Royal Court of Belgium – a prestigious honour.
In 1966, Godiva made its debut in North America, at Wanamaker’s - one of the most elegant department stores in Philadelphia. New York followed a few years later when a boutique was opened on Fifth Avenue in 1972. Venturing into Asia for the first time the same year, Godiva opened a boutique in the prestigious Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi Department store in central Tokyo. Hong Kong followed in 1998, and then Singapore in 2001 and Taiwan in 2002.
In 2008, Godiva was acquired by CEEMEA’s largest food company, Yildiz Holding. Yildiz has a great depth of experience, knowledge and passion, which has been invaluable to Godiva’s continued growth and success throughout the years. In 2016 Yildiz, brought together its core biscuit, chocolate, and confectionery businesses: Godiva, United Biscuits, Ulker and DeMet’s Candy Company, to form a new global company, “pladis”. Consolidating the businesses allows each of them to be even more agile, further enabling innovation and development of brand and product synergies within the group. In order to bring Belgium's finest chocolates, with their heritage and traditional recipes, to more people around the world, Godiva has licensed pladis to create a new range of products for a mass premium market.
Godiva’s innovation pipeline is fueled by five expert Belgian-trained chef chocolatiers who are based across the US, Belgium, China and Japan. Although located in different continents, these passionate chocolatiers continue to protect the Draps family legacy, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of their art.
In addition to Godiva’s ‘core’ range of chocolate products – including the chocolatier’s iconic gold collection; many new recipes, seasonal collections and limited edition ranges are created each year.
With a diverse portfolio consisting not only of traditional Belgian chocolate recipes; Godiva has an impressive selection of innovative ‘self-treat’ items. Premium hot and cold chocolate drinks, pastries, cakes and soft-serve ice-cream sit alongside traditional Godiva creations such as pralines, ganache, truffles, caramels and its popular hand-dipped chocolate items.
Godiva has over 700 boutiques and is present in over 100 countries around the world from Europe to Asia, from North America to the Middle East. The chocolatier also operates through franchise and licensing agreements and global travel retail.
To showcase Godiva’s ever growing product portfolio, Godiva has also opened a range of exquisite chocolate cafes in Shanghai, Beijing, Abu-Dhabi, Turkey and London’s iconic Harrods. Each café offers customers the space to enjoy the ultimate chocolate experience.