Chocolate arrives in Switzerland…
Travelling journeymen also came to Italy from other countries to learn the art of the confectioners and Ciocoolatieri, among them François-Louis Cailler (1796-1852), who then opened a mechanised chocolate production facility in Corsier near Vevey in 1819, establishing the oldest brand of Swiss chocolate still in existence today. Thus chocolate had finally arrived in the country where it was soon to find it’s greatest patrons and pioneers who make chocolate the number one country for chocolate by the early 20 Century.
The Swiss seem to be born with a certain tendancy to produce sweet treats. But it is still amazing that the Swiss, of all people, became so successful with a product whose ingredients-cocoa and sugar had to be purchased from abroad at high prices. They managed this thanks to their striving for high quality -another innate Swiss virtue-and their realisation that they, working in a small country with few raw materials, could only stand up to powerful foreign competition if they were better than the rest.
…and finds pioneers
In 1825, Philippe Suchard (1797-1884) opened a confiserie in Neuchâtel, and a year later, in 1826, he set up a chocolate factory in Serrières. With just one worker, he was already producing 25 to 30kg of chocolate per day. And as early as 1880, the busy and versatile entrepreneur opened a branch abroad in Lörrach. An overview of the sector dating from 1883 shows Suchard’s company to be the largest Swiss producer: it accounted for half of total national production, and employed about half of the 500 or so people working in the chocolate industry at the time.
In 1826 Jacques Foulquier (1798-1865) also started producing hand-made chocolate in Geneva. His son-in-law Jean-Samuel Favarger would later succeed him.
Charles-Amédée Kohler (1790-1874) a grocer in Lausanne, began by trading ready-made chocolate. He eventually moved into manufacturing in 1830. Like Cailler et Suchard, he too strove constantly for improvements in the types of chocolate commonly available. On of his attempts gave rise to an important innovation: hazelnut chocolate. Together with his sons he produced this new speciality in Lausanne.
1845 saw the establishment of the first chocolate factory in German-speaking Switzerland. Rudolf Sprüngli-Ammann (1816-1897) produced chocolate for the first time in his confiserie in Zurich using a sophisticated process.
Aquilino Maestrani (1814-1880), whose father was one of the Ticinese who had gone to Lombardy to learn the art of chocolate making in the mid 18th century, opened a chocolate factory in Lucerne in 1852 which he soon relocated to St. Gallen
In Vevey, Daniel Peter (1836-1919) found not only his lifelong companion Fanny Cailler, eldest daughter of F.L. Cailler but also, along with his love, his life’s work, chocolate to which he devoted himself from 1867 onwards with the establishment of the Peter-Cailler et Compagnie" factory. A true Swiss citizen , he took the milk which was so abundant in his country and combined it with chocolate. In 1875, the whole chocolate landscape changed. Milk chocolate had been invented.
Johann Georg Munz established a confectionary factory in Flawil in 1874. Later, his son Albert Munz also took up chocolate production.
Bernese pharmacist’s son Rodolphe Lindt (1855-1909) opened up a chocolate factory in the Matte district by the Aare in Berne in 1879, following an apprenticeship of sorts with his relative Charles-Amédée Kohler. With his natural love for fine details, he developed a process which enabled him to successfully produce the first "melting" or "fondant chocolate", the incomparable quality of which was soon to make him famous.
In 1884, Alexis Séchaud set up his company in Montreux. Jules Séchaud invented filled chocolate in 1913.
In Länggass district of Berne, the trained confectioner Jean Tobler (1830-1905) ran a "Confiserie speciale" As well as his own specialities, he concentrated mainly on selling chocolate from other producers such as Rodolphe Lindt. In 1899, with his sons, he set up the "Fabrique de Chocolat de Berne, Tobler & Cie.", and in 1908 his son Theodor successfully developed what is probably the most famous Swiss chocolate, the triangular "Toblerone" made form milk chocolate with honey and almond nougat.
Henri Nestlé (1814-1890) was not concerned with the chocolate himself. He had invented a milk-based "infant cereal" the famous "farine lactée" and established a factory in Vevey which soon gained international recognition. His company moved into chocolate in 1904 through a contract with "Peter & Kohler réunis" who developed and produced a sweet milk chocolate for Nestlé, which sold via it’s international distribution network. Other companies were set up during the pioneering years and later, whose activities helped to shape the international reputation of Swiss chocolate and which are still operating successfully today.
1887 Robert et Max Frey, Chocolat Frey SA, in Aarau
1901 Villars SA, in Fribourg
1908 Max Felchlin SA, in Schwytz
1928 Stella SA, in Lugano, then in Giubiasco
1929 Camill Bloch SA, in Berne, then in Courtelary
1931 Carma, became Barry Callebaut SA, in Dübendorf 1933 Bernrain SA, in Kreuzlingen
1933 Halba SA, in Wallisellen
1957 Titlis SA, nowadays known as Chocolat Alprose S.A., in Caslano