Today, Godiva is sold in over 100 countries around the world, from Europe and North America to the Middle East and Far East, and is an official chocolatier to the Royal Court of Belgium. Here, we explore the brand’s humble beginnings and the exceptional family that propelled it to success.
A Recipe for Success
The Draps family’s passion for chocolate was underpinned by a skill and expertise, which was honed through a tireless dedication to their art. Their dream was to bring beautiful Belgian chocolate not only to the people of Brussels, but to chocolate lovers around the world.
However, Godiva’s beginnings were humble; Pierre Draps Sr. began making pralinés out of his home kitchen, often calling upon his young family – Joseph, François, Pierre and Yvonne – to help. Many years later, Pierre Jr. described himself as being “born into chocolate”.
Word spread fast about the Draps family’s exquisite chocolates, and it wasn’t long before their handmade creations were being sold in Brussels’ most fashionable food shops.
After Pierre Sr. passed away in 1937, his children took over the business. With big plans for the future, Joseph focused on the financial side of the company, while his brother Pierre became Godiva’s creative mastermind. Following in his father’s footsteps as maître chocolatier, Pierre Jr. worked hard to refine his skills while dreaming up delicious new chocolate recipes
Pierre Jr. described himself as being "born into chocolate"
Inspired by a Legend
Few people know that the name ‘Godiva’ was not the brand’s original name – it was called ‘Draps’ after its founding family. The Draps family were inspired by the legend of Lady Godiva because of her strong values and a generous spirit. It was also said that Joseph’s wife Gaby, bore a striking resemblance to Lady Godiva, with her lustrous long blonde hair.
Of course, Godiva's unique story doesn't stop here. In the next instalment of Chocolate Notes, we will reveal how the Draps family moved their business out of the home atelier and on to the world stage.