There are a few things Switzerland is known for and chocolate is one of them. We’ve certainly enjoyed trying all the Swiss chocolate brands we come across. Cailler is one of those brands. They are the oldest Swiss chocolate brand still in existence, and the first brand to produce milk chocolate. Today, they are owned by Nestle, but you can still visit the Cailler factory in Broc, Switzerland. So, one Sunday we recently hopped in the car and drove out to Broc. La Maison Cailler, the factory where Nestle produces Cailler chocolate is nestled in a picturesque valley at the foot of the Alps.
After parking our car, we headed into the Cailler factory to take a tour. Luckily, they offer tours in many languages so we were able to go on the English tour. This was a big bonus for several reasons because La Maison Cailler was packed (even on a Sunday) with people and families. We managed to avoid a crowded tour with lots of unhappy kids because there were so few English-speakers at the factory- there were only four of us on the tour. The tour wasn’t quite what I expected. It began as a series of elaborately decorated rooms depicting the history of chocolate from the time of the ancient Mayans up through 17th century Switzerland. At this point, the tour explained the history of Cailler chocolate and how Nestle came to own Cailler.
After going through the history of chocolate and Cailler, we came to the part of the tour I was expecting and looking forward to: seeing how Cailler makes chocolate. We first got to see a room with chocolate beans and nibs that would be used to make the Cailler chocolate. The room also contained various nuts which are used in Cailler chocolate (luckily, no peanuts- just hazelnuts and almonds) and milk jugs from the various sources of milk used in Cailler’s milk chocolate.
Next up was a machine making branches. This was a type of chocolate I’d never heard of before. It’s a type of chocolate that looks kind of like a stick or a branch and is one of the original types of chocolate made by Cailler. The Cailler recipe for branches hasn’t changed since 1907. The machine extruded the branches pieces, coated them with chocolate, and packaged them. At the end, we got to sample the freshly made chocolate branches.
As we walked away from the branches machine, we could see into the rest of the factory where the chocolate was processed and some of the other types of Cailler products were produced. We ended the tour in the Cailler tasting room. Every type of Cailler chocolate was out on a long table for us to taste as much as we wanted. I was really looking forward to tasting the different types because I’d only had one or two types of Cailler chocolate in the past and I hadn’t heard of most of the types they made. The Frigor, Femina, Ambassador, and Branches were my favorite types.
At this point, the tour was over and we headed back into the Cailler shop where the tour began. After tasting all the delicious chocolate in the tasting room, we had a hard time deciding what kinds of chocolate to buy! We settled on a box each of Frigor, Femina, and Branches. At the end of the day, we were quite full from chocolate and were looking forward to heading home to enjoy the chocolate we’d purchased.
To see more photos from our trip to La Maison Cailler, see the original post on my personal blog.
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