Chocolate came to Europe in the 16th century, but it was in the second half of the 19th century when Swiss chocolate gained a revered reputation abroad. The invention of milk chocolate by Daniel Peter as well as the development of conching (fondant chocolate) by Rodolphe Lindt were closely connected with the rise of Swiss chocolate’s fame.
Every city in Switzerland has a handful of local chocolate boutiques, all which offer stellar truffles, pralines, and bars. If you’re planning an epic Swiss adventure and keen to nibble through quality chocolate along the way, here are six of Switzerland’s best bets.
Best Chocolate Shops in Switzerland
In Lucerne just a short hop and a skip from the city’s famous covered bridge you’ll find the family owned Max Chocolatier. The sweet smelling shop is loved by locals for its unique “four seasons menu,” which offers a fresh menu every four months that reflect the seasons. In the autumn you’ll to find truffles featuring roasted nuts and dried fruits while in the summer jelly’s are made of freshly plucked berries and stone fruit.
Those with a sweet tooth looking to sample Bern’s finest chocolates, cakes and creams should be sure to visit the historic Confiserie Tschirren. The family owned sweet shop in the Swiss capital has been serving its coveted desserts for three generations, specializing in chocolates, pralines, truffles, and a parade of pretty pastries.
If you’re keen to chirp “girl power,” while nibbling through Switzerland’s sweetest confections head to Sweetzerland, located a stones throw from the Four Seasons Hotel. Geneva’s popular chocolate boutique is run by a choir of women (in a male dominated world that’s cause for celebration), whose feminine touch can be tasted in each of their tasty truffles. Highlights include cherry and kirsch stuffed dark chocolate, milk chocolate bursting with passionfruit caramel, and a simply sublime preserved lemon rind dipped in the good stuff.
In Lausanne, Master Chocolatier Dan Durig demonstrates the art of chocolate-making in his workshop (located a stones throw from the train station). Durig Chocolatier is most unique because it offers hands on chocolate classes where sweets fans can create their very own truffles and hollow chocolate art. For the latter, during Easter select from moulds of massive eggs or cute bunnies and during Christmas a jolly Santa Clause or a festive tree.
It should be no shock that one of Switzerland’s most visited attractions is a chocolate factory. Fans of Willy Wonka will be jumping for joy at the state-of-the-art multi-sensory experience at Maison Cailler in Broc. Give yourself 90 minutes to enjoy the self guided tour, which begins with a hilarious Disneyland-style history of how the Swiss became so famous for their chocolatiers. You’ll then enjoy a hands-on zone where you can sniff, touch and taste the high quality ingredients used at Switzerland’s oldest chocolate factory (vanilla, cocoa, hazelnuts and almonds). Skip through the chocolate factory and watch as pralines are prepared from tiny logs to freshly wrapped confections. At the end of the tour guests loiter in luxury in an all-you-can-eat chocolate tasting room.
In Switzerland’s Italian Ticino region skip along the sunny streets of Lugano until you find the long line that snakes outside of Vanini Cioccolato. A visit to Vanini stands out from the rest of Switzerland’s top chocolate shops as it has a distinct Italian vibe. The family run business operates a petite cafe where you can enjoy a frothy cappuccino and scoop of gelato as well as a neighbouring boutique featuring classic truffles as well as Vanini’s signature panettone and unforgettable Amaretti Kirsch (a chocolate covered almond cookie filled with cream and cherry liqueur).
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