Think of Switzerland and many images come to mind, perhaps one of the most indulgent being Swiss Chocolate, as Alain Wey says ‘mention Switzerland abroad, and the person you’re talking to may start dreaming of mouth watering chocolate’.
Although one of the first countries to manufacture chocolate after Belgium, Switzerland was suprisingly late in developing their own signature brands. It is believed that 100 years after Heinrich Escher, the then Mayor of Zurich, drank chocolate for the first time in 1697, the first chocolate factory was eventually opened in 1819 after Francois-Louis Cailler, ‘discovered the secrets of chocolate making in Italy.’
The Swiss then went on to become pioneers of chocolate craftsmanship. One of its most notable chocolatiers is Daniel Peter, who in 1875 created the most popular chocolate in modern history, milk chocolate. Daniel’s discovery revolutionised the chocolate industry in Switzerland. Close friend and Daniel’s business partner, Henri Nestlé (a pivotal name in modern chocolate production) was responsible for the marketing of Daniel’s milk chocolate discovery.
No article on Swiss chocolate however would be complete without paying homage to the most famous names in Swiss chocolate Lindt and Toblerone. Rudolf Lindt opened his first chocolate factory in 1879, which went from strength to strength, Rudolf became famous for creating chocolate that ‘melts in the mouth’, and this in turn heralded the birth of modern chocolate.
In 1908 following in the foot steps of revolutionary chocolatiers before him, Theodor Tobler, son of confectionary shop owner Jean Tobler, created the ‘most famous of all Swiss chocolate, Toblerone’. Toblerone’s unmistakable triangle design is regularly accredited to the Swiss mountainous region in which Theodor grew up.
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