Did Someone Say Swiss Chocolate?
Switzerland is known as the home of cheese, banking and chocolates. Swiss chocolates are world famous as the names Lindt, Toblerone, Läderach, Cailler and even Nestlé feature in stores across the globe.
In this article I will explore the Swiss tradition of chocolate making, and provide some insight into the Swiss chocolate companies, and what makes them famous.
The Introduction of Cocoa Beans
Cocoa beans were first discovered by the Aztecs, who believed it was a gift of the gods, and became known as 'food of the gods.' The Aztecs use the Cocoa to prepare a drink called "xocolatl" or chocolate water, and it is described to be a bitter, salty drink. It was later discovered by the Spanish, who were amazed by its nutritional level and the energy it provided.
From Bean to Bar (a Video from Cailler)
Where does Chocolate come from?
Chocolate comes from Cocoa beans, which are normally grown within the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn (20 degrees from the equator). The majority of the world Cocoa plantation growths are located in West Africa.
From these Cocoa beans, there is cocoa butter, and smaller beans. The butter is used in milk and white chocolates. The smaller beans are normally reduced to cocoa powder, which is used in milk and dark chocolate. A variety of other ingredients are used to introduce or enhance different flavors.
Cailler holds the title as Switzerland's oldest chocolate, as it was founded by François-Louis Cailler. François was born in Vevey, a town close to Lausanne (southern Switzerland), which had 7 chocolate factories in the early 1800's. After owning a small shop, François purchased a factory in 1820 to produce chocolate on a large scale.
Cailler Chocolate Factory
Cailler's Chocolate Factory accepts visits, where you are guided through the history, get a sneak-peak at the factory, and taste test a variety of chocolates (best not to eat before hand and to bring a water bottle!) There is also a shop to purchase a variety of their chocolates with sweet deals.
Adress: Rue Jules Bellet 7, 1636 Broc (Switzerland)
Nestlé started off as a small business in 1867, founded by Henri Nestlé, that initially focused on baby formula. In 1905, after joining companies with Milkmaid, the first Nestlé chocolate was made. Later in in the 20th centenary, they developed more chocolates that are known today, as well as branch out into the pharmaceutical industry and acquiring Mövenpick Ice Cream; a Swiss ice cream brand.
Which of the Chocolate bars do you recognize from Nestlé?
Chocoladefabriken (Chocolate factory) Lindt & Sprüngli AG, more commonly known just at Lindt, was founded in 1845 and is famous for its truffles and chocolate bars. The company started off as a small confectionery store in 1836, called Confiserie Sprüngli, and was run between father and son; David Sprüngli-Schwarz and Rudolf Sprüngli-Ammann. They later aquired Rodolphe Lindt chocolate factory in 1899, where the name was changed to Lindt & Sprüngli, however it is commonly known just as Lindt.
Theodor Tobler created Tonlerone in 1876, and was one of the first to explore different shapes for their chocolate bars. The standard chocolate, unlike milk being the standard for many, is a mixture of nougat, almonds and honey in a unique milk chocolate. It's predominant mountain logo pays tribute to the Swiss mountain Matterhorn.
Frey is a chocolate brand that is associated with the Supermarket Migros. Frey was founded by brothers Robert and Max Frey in Aarau, in 1887 (67 years after Cailler!). The small company gradually expanded until it was purchased by Migros in 1950, and went international in 1997. In 2012, Frey celebrated it's 125th Anniversary.
The Frey Chocolate factory accepts visits, where you can learn the history of the cocoa bean and chocolate, the general production, as well as the chocolate taste test section, where all different Frey variations can be tasted. There is also a shop to buy your favorites, and a photo both to get a digital chocolate memory!
Address: Bresteneggstrasse 4, 5033 Buchs (Switzerland)
Chocolatier Rudolf Läderach Jr. founded Glarus in 1962, which later was rebranded as Läderach in 2008. Rudolf developed the revolutionary truffles design, with a hollow, thin chocolate shell, which improved the manufacturing process of the truffles. Läderach won a bronze medal at the independent World Pastry Team Championship in Nashville, USA in 2008.
Läderach has tours available of the history, has taste tester sections, and a chocolate shop... but indulge yourself in the chocolate fountains, with fresh chocolate by the spoon!
Address: Grabenstrasse 6, 8865 Bilten (Switzerland)
Which is your favorite Swiss Chocolate Brand?
© 2018 Monique K-G