By Puja Gupta
Did you know that your favourite chocolate brands like Nestle, Lindt, Toblerone are all Swiss? Chocolates from this beautifully diverse country are famous across the world for a few reasons. Here they are:
The nation has a long history of excellence in chocolate making that goes back 200 years when Francois-Louis Cailler opened the first mechanized chocolate factory in Vevey in 1819. He put into practice all the tricks he’d learnt as a trainee in Ticino with Italian chocolatiers. That was the start of Switzerland’s love affair with chocolate that continues even today with local chocolatiers still using traditional recipes handed down from generations. Though the Swiss chocolate industry is founded on tradition, it is always looking to break new ground which is one of the secrets of its success. In 1887, after many attempts, the Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter, created the original formula for what was to become the first successful milk chocolate in the entire world. Peter called his product, “Gala” from the Greek, which means, “from the milk”. Before this, Chocolate was not considered a delicacy. It was more of a nourishing and medicinal food because of its bitter taste. Apart from this, the Swiss have taught confectioners several new and important techniques like tempering of chocolate and conching to texture and flavour the chocolate that creates a melt-in-the-mouth experience.
Last year, one of the oldest Swiss chocolatiers in the world — Lindt, launched the ‘Home of Chocolate’ in Zurich. This 65,000 sq. ft., three-floor, multi-functional museum space dedicated only to chocolate, is devoted to the history and production of one of Switzerland’s most delectable exports. The space also houses the world’s largest ‘Chocolate Fountain’ which stands tall at 9m at the entrance of the building, as well as the world’s largest Lindt chocolate shop, a Lindt cafe, and a Lindt Chocolateria for people who like to make their own chocolate creations. An ode to chocoholic’s world over, this chocolate haven is yet another reason why we all need to add Switzerland to our travel bucket lists!
Across Switzerland, travellers can experience different chocolate tasting tours in Zurich, Bern and Basel. One of the more unique and fun chocolate tours takes guests through Lavaux. On this route, travellers can go on a hike to learn more about the history of this sweet temptation while also savouring the delights of Grand Cru pralines en-route! One can also head to the Funky Chocolate Club in Interlaken to discover the art of chocolate making. The Club provides visitors with aprons, a chef’s hat and all the ingredients needed to step into the shoes of a real chocolatier and create a personalized Choco masterpiece!
In addition to the tours, the Montreux-Berner Oberland railway has dedicated a whole train to the world’s most irresistible temptation. The Chocolate train runs between Montreux and the Cailler-Nestle chocolate factory at Broc and is a ‘must-do’ for those who want to satiate the ‘sweet tooth’ as well as for the railway and travel enthusiasts. With such an abundance of chocolate available across the country, it is not difficult to imagine that the Swiss are the biggest consumers of chocolate than any other nation in the world. They eat a record 11kgs of chocolate a year! No wonder then that they are a happy lot. Chocolate is known to have extremely soothing properties and is a known brain stimulator. So, the best thing to take your mind off morbid news and thoughts these days would be to grab a bar of Swiss chocolate, uplift your spirit and relax! (IANSlife)