Most people associate travel to Switzerland with two things: 1) mountains and 2) chocolate. The former is easy to experience as wondrous mountain scenery can be enjoyed in practically every corner of the country. A meaningful Swiss chocolate experience, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated.
Of course, Swiss chocolate is everywhere including at the airport should you not make it a special store while on the road. The point is that experiencing Swiss chocolate in an impactful way entails more than buying a wrapped bar of chocolate. There are two very different options to weave into a trip. One is to visit one of the oldest chocolate factories in Switzerland, Maison Cailler in Broc, and the other is to get your hands dirty in a chocolatier’s workroom in Lausanne.
The fairytale setting of the village of Gruyères
Why is Swiss chocolate so good? Happy cows! The reason for that in the case of Maison Cailler is clear; the factory is located in Broc, part of the Gruyère district (also famous for the well-known fondue cheese), and features endless grass-filled pastures.
Maison Cailler is now part of Nestle; this iconic Swiss company has created a state-of-the-art visitor experience. Disneyland meets chocolate-making. Visitors are whisked into a dynamic tour of the factory with animated storytelling around the history of chocolate-making in Switzerland.
Beware, a chocolate hangover is likely after the free sample room at Maison Cailler
The full one to hour-and-a-half visit is just the right length for young children. In this case the best is last when you can visit the all-you-can-eat tasting room. Beware, a chocolate hangover is likely, although there is a small playground for kids to burn off the sugar overload.
Maison Cailler is open seven days a week except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Check the website for seasonal hours. 10 CHF per adult and children under 16 are free. Maison is a 45-minute drive from Lausanne.
A drink from this faucet of chocolate is mighty tempting!
Durig Chocolatier Lausanne
Durig specializes in certified organic and fair trade chocolate and they make all of their goodies from their shop in Lausanne. The shop organizes an array of chocolate making demonstrations and workshops in English for adults, as well as children.
Chocolate Moulding Workshop
I participated in the Chocolate Moulding Workshop where we created and decorated a figurine. I won’t quit my day job just yet but this hour-and-a-half class is very entertaining. A visit includes a lesson about chocolate production and all the crazy (and delicious) ways to pair chocolate with expected and unexpected treats.
While the factory visit is a more elaborate presentation, the Durig shop is small and the intimate setting gives participants the opportunity to get up close and personal with the chocolatier and his goods.
Workshop pricing starts at 15 CHF and up. Check the website for options and hours. Advance reservations are required.
Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy
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