Have you ever imagined the reason why Swiss chocolate became so popular? Well, your imagination is logical. Switzerland has emerged as a leading chocolate manufacturer without having any cocoa plantation on its home grounds. Moreover, the chocolate business around the world emerged more than 3000 years ago when south and central American inhabitants gathered around a fire. Further, they made themselves merry and used to drink Zocotatl, a bitter and grainy drink.
Historical Facts of Swiss Chocolates
It may be noted that by the 17th century the Europeans had started sipping chocolate beverages. However, today we enjoy various brands of Swiss Chocolates to satisfy our sweet tooth desires. But, do you know who contributed to this world-famous delicacy? The contributions of a few notable entrepreneurs and confectioners cannot be ignored. After World War I, there was a sea change in industrial work culture during the Industrial Revolution. Not only automation but also mass production paved the way for industrial sectors all around the world. Moreover, services could be afforded by all groups of people. Furthermore, the contribution by the pioneers should not be ignored.
Francois Louis Cailler
In 1819, the world’s first mechanized chocolate industry was built in Switzerland. It was the time President James Monroe reigned in the White House and Queen Victoria was just born. A former mill in Vevey, overlooking the Geneva lake, was converted to a chocolate-producing unit. Cailler introduced the first-ever brand of Swiss Chocolates, which exists even now. Designated as the father of chocolate bars, Cailler underwent a four-year apprenticeship in Turin. After four years, he returned to his homeland. His experience as a chocolatier’s apprentice enabled him to discover techniques to solidify chocolate. However, Cailler’s innovation was not free of criticism. Especially the Italians who were unhappy and accused Callier of sticky fingers having
Fanny, the Caillers’ daughter, married a candle maker in 1863. But, with rising demand for oil lamps proved to shift, it provoked Peter to make a career shift in 1867. By this time, he had become acquainted with chocolate-making techniques followed by his in-laws. He built a firm in Vevey itself. But unfortunately, his business was not performing well. Moreover, Peter became vigilant in finding a solution to his failure. Till he knows about Henri, a German immigrant, Peter’s friend, and neighbor. Further, Henri was up to a business dealing with milk powder. Peter came up with an idea to mix his chocolate with milk powder and produce something innovative. But this time it was not worth it. But Peter didn’t quit his search till the time of Henri’s collaboration. He used condensed milk. This time he succeeded. Peter’s Milk chocolate became a category of Swiss Chocolates.
Known for his brilliant entrepreneurship and knowledge of business, Henri has become one of the famous business tycoons of today. He was born in Heinrich Nestle, located in Frankfurt. Further, in 1839, he moved to Vevey in Switzerland. However, Henri didn’t personally get involved with chocolate making. Furthermore, he assisted companies merging like those by Peter, Cailler, and Charles Amedee Kohler. By 1929, when the merger was complete, Neste emerged as the largest amongst other food companies spread around the world. Henri was well known for appreciating the innovations of Swiss chocolate making companies. Milky bars, white-colored chocolate produced by Nestle company, were introduced in Europe in 1936.
Phillippe used to assist his brother at a young age in operating his confectionary shop around 1819. The shop was located in Bern. Further, after seven years, he planned to set up his own business. Philips established his own chocolate-making company. He chose Serrieres, canton Neuchatel for creating the firm. Suchard himself was a proto-chocoholic. He felt chocolate produced during that period was gritty and grainy. He felt that chocolate needed to be made more palatable. Philippe invented his mixing machine named Melangeur. The machine allowed fine mixing of cocoa powder and sugar grains into a paste. Suchard is known to produce about half a portion of Swiss Chocolates. Because of his Melange, he was the first person to manufacture chocolate outside the country. Swiss chocolate making was introduced in Germany in 1879, followed by Milka in 1901.
In 1830, Kohler established his chocolate-making factory in Lucerne. Kohler was contemporary to Suchard. However, his inclination for creativity made him distinct. Kohler’s son trained his distant cousin Rudolf Lindt. He is recognized for inventing hazelnut chocolate. As well as sticks of chocolate.
As soon as he learned the business techniques from the Kohlers, Lindt returned to Bern. Almost immediately and set up his chocolate-making factory. He presented the world with a wide variety of milk chocolates after four years. He invented the unique machine conch that earned him a lot of fame. What was the conch? It is a machine that renders vigorous mixing chocolate. The mixing takes place for a long period. Kt chocolate is aerated to remove turbidity and acidity. However, people have experienced a peculiar habit of Lindt. Every weekend he used to keep the machines on before closing the shop. Furthermore, on Monday when he returned, the stirrers would be left with lumps of burnt chocolate. The residues sparkled but its smell was terrific. Lindt liked the smell and passed into serendipity.
He was the first customer of Lindt in Bern. However, Tobler originally belonged to Appenzell Aussar Roden, who had built his chocolate shop in 1867. In this shop, Tobler used to sell goodies on behalf of others. Further, in 1899, he set up his chocolate-making factory in the burn. Tobler’s son Theodor joined the business. Jointly with his cousin Emil Thadmann, they innovated a product that made the family memorable. It was Toblerone, famous among Swiss Chocolates available worldwide.
In 1970, Tobler merged with Suchard to build Interfood. Further, a lot of acquisitions happened in between. However, the conclusion is that both Toblerone and Milka are owned by Mondelez International, a US multinational. But the most prominent was the Lindt and Sprungli merger that happened in 1899. Not only the factory but also the secrets of the conch were sold to Sprungli. Why the merging? Sprungli’s father and grandfather, David, owned a shop of confectioneries and cafes in Zurich. So, Sprungli had an inherent knowledge of the chocolate business. In 1892, when Sprungli inherited his family, he wished to change the way business was being done. He wished to follow the same philosophy as Lindt in Burn.
Robert Lindt and Rudolf Sprungli Contribution to Swiss Chocolates
Sprungli was trying to imitate the business of Lindt of Bern in Zurich as well. However, he failed in copying the same. Moreover, Sprungli bought the factory belonging to Lindt. Over and above the secret information about Lindt’s Cronch. The largest premium chocolates available throughout the world is the brainchild of the Lindt and Sprungli association. Speaking in the German language in Switzerland began due to Sprungli. The golden bunny, introduced in 1892, was a joint contribution of Lindt and Sprungli.
Swiss Chocolates standard of quality
- Switzerland is recognized as the first country to have introduced chocolate. As a part of the chocolate revolution, the pioneers have contributed immensely to adding to today’s list of delicacies. By the 19th century, many new chocolatiers were added to the varieties we can see today.
- The milk chocolates create a perfect blend of milk and chocolates that was invented by Daniel Peter. In 1875, the final Swiss Chocolates were introduced with the world-famous milk chocolate variety. Peter succeeded in inventing the blending process after several attempts.
- Melt-in-the-mouth chocolates are another variety that has resulted in the popularity of Switzerland’s chocolate supremacy. Courtesy Rudolf Linte’s innovation in 1879. Chocolate lovers have got exposure to tasting smooth chocolates.
- Chocolates that are manufactured in Switzerland are mostly traditional. To keep up with the latest trends, they are continuously searching for development techniques. Moreover, scientists have got involved in the search for new designs. Furthermore, the scientists share their findings with professor Eric Windham. He works for ETH Zurich Institute of food, nutrition, and health
- Typically, Swiss Chocolates are well known for their high standard of quality. Not only the quality of raw materials, but also the methods used for producing them. Good quality chocolates won’t leave a sandy feeling after eating them. As per a chocolate standard of quality, it is the flavor associated with the smoothness of chocolates.
- People in Switzerland are chocolate experts. They need no suggestions from others. Moreover, studies reveal that the Swiss are the largest chocolate lovers in the world. Furthermore, the report also provides the information that per capita consumption annually ranges between 11 and 12. Moreover, by the end of the 19th century, companies manufacturing chocolate began advertising their best offers.
Knowing Cocoa Used for Swiss Chocolates
Cocoa is the prime ingredient used in chocolate and a tedious process is followed before it finally appears for chocolate. The most productive cocoa producers are
The cocoa seeds grow in pods. It turns orangish when ripe. The first step would be collecting them and extracting the pods. The pods are like footballs in size. The second step would be fermenting the cocoa seeds. If the weather is permitting, it would be better than if the seeds are soaked in sunlight. The process lasts for six or eight days till the seeds turn brown. As a third step, the seeds are scooped in sacs and transferred to manufacturers.
About Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is a type of vegetable fat that forms a vital ingredient in chocolate-making. They are available in cocoa beans. Manufacturers ferment, dry, roast and by pressing, extract the creamy cocoa butter. Not only preparing chocolate but cocoa butter has profound health values. The remaining cocoa pods are converted to cocoa powder.
Making of Chocolate
Once the cocoa beans arrive at the chocolate-making station, they are stored in warehouses in the form of silos. Strict quality control norms are there before approval. The cocoa beans that arrive are checked to see whether they are properly fermented, dried, and healthy. Besides, the lab technicians also check whether during transport there is any damage. Bad odors and contaminants may damage the stock. The warehouses are located separately and monitored for proper storage conditions. Powerful vacuums suck the cocoa beans into the silos.
Steps to Making Swiss Chocolates
- To begin the process, cacao beans need cleaning.
- After cleaning, subject the cocoa beans to roasting
- Post roasting the shells of cocoa beans might get damaged. Hence, removal of shells will be required.
- Cocoa butter is an important ingredient. It has to be refined and converted into a butter-like paste.
- Cocoa beans are also treated to paste
- If milk chocolate is flavored, milk, sugar, cocoa, and essence will be required. They need to be mixed to form a uniform mix. Moreover, rotating machine bowls and kneader arms can deliver a homogeneous mix. In particular, machines like Conches are quite effective at mixing and grinding. Remember only low-fat milk is suitable for the purpose.
- The process of chocolate making is subjected to tempering. This is the process where the mixture is subjected to heating, cooling, and reheating. This is done to add texture, aroma, and flavor to get better results.
- The next step would be molded into different shapes. First of all, varnish the surface of the molds with cocoa butter. Pour the hot mix to take the shape of the mold. Allow it to dry.
- Finally, pack them to make the chocolate ready for consumers.
Few Renowned Swiss Chocolates
By the end of the nineteenth century, a lot of other varieties of chocolate were introduced. It became hard to select the best. However, traditional Swiss Chocolates have created their platform for customers who are dedicated to trying their offers. The age of the internet has allowed people to find their favorite Swiss Chocolates. Some of them are
- The Lindt
- The Cailler
- Most known Toblerone
- The Villars
- Traditional Frey
- The breakfast treat Ovomaltine
- Innovative Camille Bloch
Cultural Significance in Anthropology
Swiss Chocolate is a loveable delicacy preferred across the globe. It can serve as one of the favorite gifts one can desire. It evolved as a chocolate revolution; several pioneers contributed immensely towards innovating the reputed brands we can enjoy today. Industrial revolutionized production The traditional way of achieving the palatable form of chocolate you can get today has been noted. The usefulness of conches could be noted. How the bitter drink of the past gets transformed into sweet, aromatic, glossy, and flavored food is a wonder. In this 21st century, a lot of new chocolatiers have sprouted but traditional chocolates remain supreme. Chocolates from Switzerland are a Wow for all. However, you have to DIY your selection.