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Eight delicious facts about Swiss chocolate

March 31, 2018, No comments

Chocolate. It’s one word that many people instantly associate with Switzerland, not just at Easter but all year round. But as you munch on a piece of brown magic, take a moment to mull over these delicious facts about Swiss chocolate.

The Swiss consume 11kg of chocolate per head per year, narrowly beaten into second place by the Germans on 11.5kg per head. Both are actually sales figures and with so many tourist buying chocolate, who knows how much the Swiss really eat.

François-Louis Cailler opened his factory near Vevey in 1819, making his brand the oldest one still on sale in Switzerland. Today Cailler is part of Nestlé and the main factory is in Broc, near Gruyères, and can be visited.

Monsieur Cailler’s son-in-law was Daniel Peter, originally a candle-maker but luckily for us switched to chocolate making: he was the man who created the first solid milk chocolate in 1875. Peter’s brand of chocolate also became part of Nestlé.

Milk is definitely the most popular, with around 70% of all the chocolate consumed in Switzerland. Dark might be my favourite but it’s only 25% and white a mere 5%, but that may be because most people sensibly realise it isn’t really chocolate.

The man who made chocolate what it is today was Rudolph Lindt, a Bernese chocolatier who invented the conching process. It’s said he did it accidentally by leaving chocolate mixing overnight, but the result was a smoother, creamier product.

The Swiss chocolate industry employs 4,500 people and has an annual turnover of 1.8 billion Swiss francs – but it only accounts for 1% of the world’s cocoa harvest. Ghana (59%) and Ecuador (24%) are the two main suppliers of cocoa beans to Switzerland.

Imported chocolate accounts for 40% of all the chocolate consumed in Switzerland. Yes, imported! That’s 35,000 tonnes of foreign chocolate coming into the land that is most famous for it. Shocking!

Twice as much Swiss chocolate is exported as is consumed here, with the top five markets being Germany, Britain, France, Canada and the USA. Together they account for over half of all exports.

That’s enough facts and figures for one day. Now it’s time to get down to the real business of enjoying another piece of heaven, aka Swiss chocolate.

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