Saturday, 16 July 2016

Maison Calliers

Everybody knows that Switzerland is the country of chocolate. Some weeks ago we have visited the Lindt factory outlet. Unfortunately, it was not possible to visit the factory itself. It left me with a feeling of disapointment. It took me some time to find a cure for this feeling but finally I was sucessful - dear friends, let me take you to Maison Cailliers.

Cailliers is a famous Swiss brand of chocolate, produced for over a century in Broc, near Gruyère. Since a couple of years, it is possible to visit the factory and take a tour to understand better how chocolate is made. Let's grab our choco-guides and off we go.

In the lobby, you can meet the two fathers of the Calliers chocolate. François-Louis Cailler was the first Swiss manufacturer of chocolate.  

Henri Nestlé, the founder of Nestlé and the inventor of condensed milk is the second important person in the history of Calliers. The combination of the art of both gave the world the milk chocolate.

Because chocolate was not always a sweet milky melting treat as we know it today. Cocoa trees used to grow mainly in South America.

The Aztecs believed they were given to humans by their gods. Aztec gods were nothing close to nice so the way cocoa was prepared and drunk was bitter and strong.

It is Hernán Cortés who brought cocoa to Europe. Initially, it was considered by the church as a pagan drink, coming from the devil himself. A special letter from the pope was required to open the doors of European dining rooms for chocolate.

So do you know what is needed to make good chocolate? Of course cocoa beans. If you wish you can try to eat one. It is rather bitter.

Then comes the cocoa butter.

My favourite type of chocolate would require also milk. Did you know that the taste of milk depends on what the cows were eating? There is also a difference in the taste of summer milk and winter milk. The employees of Caillers are able to judge from the taste of the chocolate if it was made with summer or winter milk.

Last but not least, you can pimp up the chocolates with some additional ingredients. My favourite are almonds.

So how is the chocolate made? Everything starts here. In these huge devices the chocolate is mixed.

Here it is formed and cooled.

The smell is just awesome. Those tiny pieces of chocolate are called "Branches" and they are a spécialité of Calliers.

As a last step, they are packed into colourful packaging.

As we leave the manufacturing site, the smell of chocolate becomes even stronger. Yes, this is heaven on Earth - the tasting room.

Do not be shy, try these ones.

And those ones as well.

You can also try to make some chocolate yourself in the Atelier du Chocolat.

Unfortunately we did not book a session so we can only sneak through the window and admire young chocolatiers at work.

If you are still not fully filled with the brown gold, you can follow me to the factory shop. You will find there Calliers chocolates in all colours and tastes.

For those who look for something more special wait those friendly chocolate farm animals.

Before Calliers, chocolate was hand made. As a result, it was very expensive and available for aristocrats only. François-Louis Cailler invented a way of automated manufacturing of chocolate, making it accessible for everyone. I do not know what you think, but for me the man really deserved a Nobel Prize. Or at least a standing applause.

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