Switzerland – Island Donkey

Confectionary Dream

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:

Cailler

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.

Swiss Chocolate Smothered

Suchard

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.

Lindt

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!

Tobler

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.

Toblerone

Frey

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

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

Island Donkey Martini

  • 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!

December 21 – Santa Shot

Sweet Season

More candy goes through the Sip Advisor offices this time of the year than any other. It doesn’t help that I give Mrs. Sip an advent calendar treat every day leading up to Christmas and Ma and Pa Sip are quite generous with care packages and the like. While there may be too much to go around, it’s all appreciated and here are some of my favourites!

M&Ms

Whether the plain or peanut variety, it doesn’t take long for these Christmas candies to disappear from any bowl they’re poured into. What’s best about the M&Ms company is that they’re always experimenting with different adaptations of their popular product. This year, we’ve really enjoyed their Gingerbread limited release and they have also brought out Mint Chocolate and White Chocolate Peppermint varieties.

Peanut M&Ms

Yeah, fasting around Christmas is whack, yo!

Turtles

Mmmm, I love Turtles. While not being a fan of pecans on their own, there’s just something about these clustered treats that are so good. I blame the wonderfulness of caramel, which is such a delicious ingredient in any recipe it is featured. I’ve noticed this year that there are a couple new options in the Turtles line, including Pecan Praline and Pecan Fudge Brownie. Me thinks I should arrange a taste test with my fellow Turtles lovers!

Mini Eggs

While originally an Easter-only treat, Mini Eggs have migrated to the Christmas holiday, as well. Instead of coming in colours like yellow, blue, and pink, the palette has been changed to red and green, with both packs including white eggs. It’s extremely difficult to only pop one or two of these treats into your mouth. In the end, you’re more likely to have shoveled dozens of the eggs down your gullet like a slithering snake. At least us civilized folk don’t have to regurgitate the shells!

Candy Canes

How could one forget Candy Canes at this time of year? You don’t even have to settle for the mint-flavoured ones anymore, as the treats are available in nearly every flavour. I’m still waiting for Mrs. Sip to open the genital-shaped candy cane I bought her a couple Christmases ago as a gag gift (literally!?), although it has slowly disappeared in one of our cupboards, perhaps to never see the light of day ever again!

candycane

Chocolate Santa

For the homicidal maniac and cannibal in all of us, sometimes grabbing a massive chocolate Santa and taking his head off in one quick bite can be quite rewarding. I can’t decide if I prefer hollowed out Santa’s or the thicker full chocolate Santa’s which you can gnaw on for hours. The same principles apply to everything from chocolate snowmen to reindeer to trees and every other symbol of the holiday season.

Toblerone

A favourite of Pa Sip (and the Sip Advisor), I can still remember travelling through Switzerland and picking up Toblerone bars en masse whenever we had a chance over our two-day tour stop. Chocolate is something that actually helps you adjust to high altitudes, se we had a good excuse to indulge in the Swiss treat. I’ve always been curious about the massive Toblerone bars they sell at Christmas and how long it would take to vanquish it from existence!

Toblerone

Reese Products

The massive peanut butter cups that have been released the last couple years are crazy enormous. I like how the Reese company has partnered with the NHL to make their peanut butter cups resemble hockey pucks. If you’re looking for smaller doses of peanutty goodness, there are also peanut butter trees, bells, and even snowmen. With all those options, you’ll probably be sick of peanut butter by the end of the holidays!

Peppermint Bark

Mrs. Sip loves her Peppermint Bark. Myself, not as much as other options, but I do appreciate the stuff as a snacking option. Chocolate and mint make a pretty wicked pair and they seem to bring their collective A-game to the Christmas holidays. This is one of the few things on this list that you could actually make yourself, but why waste your time when there are so many quality products already out there and you don’t need to deal with all the fuss of doing it yourself.

Drink #355: Santa Shot

Santa Shot Shooter

  • Rim glass with Crushed Candy Canes
  • 0.5 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Menthe
  • 0.5 oz Grenadine

What’s your favourite Christmas time candy? Make sure to send some my way, so we can experience all the joys of the holidays together… and then we can hit the gym in the New Year and work off all this treat goodness!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shot can be found under other names (Candy Cane Shooter, etc.), but the recipe doesn’t change. It tells you to layer the ingredients in the following order: Grenadine, Crème de Menthe, Peppermint Schnapps for the desired layering effect. I found that the clear Peppermint Schnapps at the top of the shooter was too hard to really see, so I decided to blend the two mint ingredients for a better visual effect. The shot tastes pretty good, despite a fair dose of Grenadine.

February 12 – Skor Bar

He Shoots, He Skors

There are a number of drinks named after popular chocolate bars. Today we enjoy the Skor Bar cocktail and we learn what some of The Sip Advisor’s favourite chocolate treats are:

Chocolate PayDay

The Chocolate PayDay bar has become a unicorn of sorts for myself and Mrs. Sip. We found it once, in a hotel vending machine. It was the last bar of its type in the machine and we’ve never seen it again. It took the classicly awesome PayDay bar – salted peanuts held together by chewy caramel – and covered it with chocolate. Had I not seen the bar with a witness, I’d begin to wonder if my years of drinking were taking a toll on the ol’ noggin.

Chocolate PayDay

Wunderbar

The Wunderbar is a favourite shareable for me and the little lady. Hell, she thinks every chocolate bar is a shareable… and don’t even get me started on our long standing McDonalds’ fries dispute (if I knew you were going to eat half of my fries, I would have ordered the larger size!!!). But I digress. I like to accuse her of eating more than her fair share of the chocolate bar and then she leaves me more the next time. It’s the ol’ bait and switch, executed to perfection!

Twix

Twix is another perfect “sharing” bar that brings out the Cookie Monster in me. I hate when chocolate bars are hard to share, like what do you do with the third peanut butter cup (note: in the United States, packages come with two cups, but in Canada, there’s three… yup, we’re better! …never mind the fact that you can probably buy two U.S. 2-packs for the price of one Canadian 3-pack). Obviously, you can break the third cup in half, but then your fingers get all chocolatey and delicious and such. Perfect for wiping on your loved one’s finest clothing.

Snickers

I like the new line of Snickers “you’re not you when you’re hungry” commercials, as it’s always nice to see Joe Pesci in front of the camera again. Mrs. Sip isn’t a fan of Snickers bars, so I get this one all to myself! She doesn’t like Oh Henry!, either, so I bet you can guess which treats are well-stocked at the Sip Advisor offices… that’s right, not these ones. These are the delicacies I hide around the house – toilet tank, recycle bin, among the DVD collection – for when I’m not acting myself.

Snickers

Toblerone

They were 3-D first and we have to thank them for that. While travelling through Switzerland a handful of years ago, it seemed we were buying Toblerone bars like they were going out of style. When we took the trip up Jungfrau Mountain, we made sure to have this wonderful chocolate on hand, as eating some can actually help you adjust to the altitude. Either that or you need to down some serious wobbly-pops.

Drink #43: Skor Bar Cocktail

Skor Bar Drink Recipe

  • Rim glass with Skor bits
  • 1 oz Irish Crème (I used Bailey’s)
  • 1 oz Kahlua (or Frangelico for a twist)
  • 1 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao

Everybody has their favourite chocolate bar… what’s yours? I know it’s a hard choice to narrow down. Maybe it’s easier to pick one you hate. It is Fat Tuesday today, so make sure to enjoy as many bars (chocolate or otherwise), guilt-free, as possible!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This actually tasted like a Skor Bar. I know that’s how it’s advertised, but sometimes the results don’t match the name. Butterscotch Schnapps and Crème de Cacao make an amazing pair and the Skor Bit rim was a lot of fun, too.