Well, we began our layover in Switzerland with a helping of cheese fondue and today we move onto dessert in the form of Swiss chocolate. The Swiss are the world’s largest consumers of the sweet stuff and therefore, are home to some of the greatest chocolate factories in existence. Let’s take a look at some of those famous confectionaries:
After learning the art of chocolate manufacturing in Italy for four years, François-Louis Cailler opened Switzerland’s first factory in 1819. In 1875, Cailler’s son-in-law, chocolatier Daniel Peter (ironically, this dude’s name features both the Sip Advisor’s and Broski Sip’s names), concocted the brilliant idea of combining his chocolate with Henri Nestlé’s condensed milk, thus creating milk chocolate, which is by far the best chocolate in existence. Things came full circle in 1929, when the Cailler company was absorbed by Nestlé, which had grown to be one of the world’s largest manufacturing conglomerates after Henri Nestlé sold his company to fellow associates.
Phillippe Suchard opened Switzerland’s second chocolate factory in 1826 and struggled to keep the business running until a mass order of his creations by Frederick William IV, King of Prussia, in 1842. Suchard selected the unique packaging colour of purple, believing that it would separate his products from others and eventually became the largest chocolate producer by the end of the 19th century. After Suchard passed away in 1884, his company created the Milka product, which is immensely popular in Europe. Today, Kraft Foods owns Suchard’s factory.
This company produces one of Ma Sip’s favourite lines, the Lindor chocolate balls, which now come in a variety of different flavours, including Peanut Butter, Raspberry, Mint, Coconut, Caramel, Mocha, and so many others. Each style comes wrapped in a different coloured foil. Lindt runs six factories around the world, including facilities in Germany, France, Italy, Austria, and the United States. Swiss tennis star Roger Federer was named Global Brand Ambassador for Lindt in 2012 and now plays his sport solely using the chocolate spheres, walking off courts if they insist on the old fuzzy green tennis ball!
Earlier, we looked at one of Ma Sip’s favourite treats and now we get to Pa Sip’s chocolate of choice, Toblerone. Perhaps Toblerone’s greatest mark on the industry came in 1932, when they created the first filled chocolate bars, with the Tobler-O-Rum (I can certainly appreciate their desire to bring liquor into the chocolate game!). Since then, the Toblerone bar has been stuffed with everything from fruit and nut to honeycomb. The company has also played a role in politics, as Swedish Prime Minister candidate Mona Sahlin was bounced from the ballot in 1995, after it was discovered that she had purchased two Toblerone bars using taxpayer money. I only hope the marketing folks at Tobler jumped on this fortuitous occurrence.
Over 500,000 chocolate bars leave the Frey factory in Aargau, Switzerland every single day thanks to the enterprise’s 2,400 different products. That totals approximately 42,000 tons of the sweet stuff every year. The unicorn head that adorns the company’s logo and labels is a nod to the brothers (Max and Robert Frey) family crest. The siblings started the business in 1887. Frey makes six million Easter bunnies each year and has given their line of rabbits the names Sunny, Funny, and Lucky. The company also dabbles in chewing gum just in case people ever stop eating chocolate!
Teuscher outlets can be found around the world, including posts in New York City, Toronto, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Berlin, and a number of other major cities (I’ll concede, just this once, that Toronto is, in fact, a major city). Teuscher is perhaps most famous for their Champagne Truffles, which the company invented. The treat uses Dom Perignon champagne in its recipe, meaning it’s the candy choice of thug rappers everywhere. Despite their operations being run out of Zurich, the company also bakes popular cookies (a gingerbread-esque offering) for the city of Basel, Switzerland, a top rival to Zurich.
Switzerland: Island Donkey
- 1 oz Chocolate Liqueur
- 1 oz Coconut Rum
- 0.5 oz Goldschlager
- Garnish with Swiss Chocolate
After all that chocolate talk, I need a nice cold glass of milk to wash it all down. This drink may do the trick, as well, but I’m not sure how well it will pair with the Lindor and Toblerone snacks I’ve put aside for my own enjoyment!
Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
I’m not a fan of the name of this cocktail, but it did allow me to find a Goldschlager recipe that included chocolate, which goes perfectly with the theme of this article. The drink was a little thicker than I would have liked, but I couldn’t complain about its flavours. I used some Toblerone Chocolate for the garnish and that’s always an enjoyable element!