The Swiss take their chocolate very seriously and with good reason. Switzerland produces about 150,000 tons of chocolate per year and the Swiss have the world’s highest per capita rate of chocolate consumption (25.6 lbs. per year). Most Swiss chocolate (a designation which means the actual production of the chocolate takes place in Switzerland) is consumed by the Swiss themselves (54% in 2000.)
Just for you, dear readers, I did an informal survey of the chocolate offerings in Zurich which at this time of year is in the form of bunnies and Easter eggs! I hope you’re ready for some serious chocolate porn.
First stop: Laderach, where their claim to fame is handmade chocolate.
My next stop was Sprungli, originally a family chocolate company dating back to 1845. Since then, the company has expanded with the aquisition of the Lindt chocolate company in 1899 and the American chocolatier, Ghirardelli in 1998. While you can still find Ghiradelli in the U.S., in 2009, Lindt closed 50 of its 80 retail stores in the States because of weaker demand in the wake of the recession. So you have to go to Zurich…
I love the Sprungli Easter egg display in their main window.
Final stop: Lindt (although as noted above, my research revealed that Lindt & Sprüngli are one and the same despite maintaining a separate retail presence.) Sprüngli (originally from Zurich) acquired Lindt (originally from Bern) in 1899. You probably recognize Lindt from the Lindor, a chocolate introuced by Lindt in 1955, which is characterized by a hard chocolate shell and a smooth chocolate filling. There are approximately 20 kinds of Lindors depending on the season and region – you know what is inside by the color of the wrapper.
I know you’ve also seen the Lindt bunnies that pop up in your local drugstore on Feb 15. Lindt has produced the iconic Gold Bunny, a hollow chocolate rabbit in a variety of sizes, every Easter since 1952. Each milk chocolate bunny wears a small red ribbon bow around its neck, the dark chocolate bunny wears a dark brown ribbon and the white chocolate bunny wears a white ribbon.
All in all, Swiss Chocolate is pretty damn good and very expensive. It is amazing to see so the art that goes into these creations and the swarms of people who are buying it! I wish I could send you all some!
After an afternoon of chocolate the best thing to do is (continue to) sample the local beer. Have you ever seen a pretzel holder for your beer? Don’t worry Dad, I am bringing home a few of these for you. I know that says I love you more than chocolate 😉