Since the early 1600's, chocolate has seduced people with its mesmerizing aroma, opulent appearance, and irresistible taste. Switzerland was the birthplace of chocolate as we now know it. Here, chocolate was transformed from a bitter, unsweetened drink to a mouthful of sweet ambrosia.

As with fine wine there is an art to savoring fine chocolate and recognizing its superiority. The aroma of the chocolate should entice you. It will be full-bodied, subtle and velvety. Allow the chocolate to melt on you tongue. It should immediately start to dissolve. The consistency should be smooth and creamy, not sticky or gritty. There should be no distinct or cloying aftertaste.

There are different grades of chocolate. The Swiss are recognized for their chocolate couvertures, the highest grade available. The intricacy of fine chocolates lies not only in its ingredients and production quality, but in its very foundation - the cocoa bean. Only the finest beans - Cirollo, Trinitario, and Forestero from Ecuador, Venezuela, Java, Trinidad, The Ivory Coast and Ghana - and the most complex blends of these beans are used to make our chocolates. The beans are masterfully blended and roasted to develop their unique aroma. The addition of sugar is kept to a minimum allowing the true cocoa flavor to emanate.

Milk chocolate is made by adding milk solids to the cocoa blend. It was Swiss ingenuity that first created milk chocolate. It has a smooth, light brown, velvety appearance, and is more aesthetically pleasing to some than darker chocolates. The milk components give it a creamier consistency and a sweeter taste. Because of these elements, this chocolate is slightly more sensitive to heat and moisture. It is for this reason that milk chocolate is more preferable for eating than it is for baking.

White chocolate is not, by definition, a true chocolate. It is referred to a chocolate because it is made with cocoa butter.

Like any highly refined product, care must be taken in preserving chocolate. It is important to keep it cool and dry, away from moisture, bright light, heat and odors. Refrigeration is not recommended. While this will not greatly affect its taste, it will delete the chocolate of its shiny appearance and smooth finish.
  • 600 A.D. - The Mayans undertook a massive migration which led this highly advanced civilization from Central America deep into the northern regions of South America. In the Yucatan, they established the earliest known cocoa plantations. There is evidence, however, that the Mayans were familiar with cocoa several centuries earlier. From the earliest days of cocoa production, Central Americans used beans as a form of payment. It is also believed that cocoa beans were used as units of calculation as early as 1000 A.D.

  • 1200 A.D. - The Aztecs conquered and enslaved the Mayans. By doing so, the Aztecs strengthened their supremacy in Mexico and were able to demand deliveries of cocoa which were imposed as tributes upon the conquered tribes.

  • 1502 - On Christopher Columbus' fourth voyage to the America, he and his crew landed on what is now Nicaragua and became the first Europeans to discover cocoa beans. They were used by the natives as currency and also in the preparation of a tribal drink.

  • 1519 - Cortez conquers part of Mexico and is introduced to cocoa. He finds the taste very bitter and sees no value in the plant as a food source, but realizes its value as currency. He immediately establishes a cocoa plantation in the name of Spain to cultivate the plant as a form of money.

  • 1657 - London's first chocolate shop is opened by a Frenchman.

  • 1670 - Helmsman Pedro Bravo do los Camerinos decides that he has had enough of Christian voyages of exploration and settles in the Philippines, where he spends the rest of his life planting cocoa, thus laying the foundation for one of the great plantations of that era.

  • 1677 - A royal decree is issued for Brazil that establishes the first cocoa plantations in the state of Para.

  • 1697 - Heinrich Escher, the mayor of Zurich, visits Brussels where he drinks chocolate and returns to his hometown with samples of this new luxury beverage.

  • 1704 - Towards the end of the 17th century, chocolate makes its appearance in Germany. The policy of restricting the importation of foreign produce leads Frederick I of Prussia to impose a tax on chocolate in 1704.

  • 1711 - Emperor Charles VI transfers his court from Madrid to Vienna. Chocolate goes with it.

  • 1720 - The coffeehouses of Florence and Venice begin offering chocolate.

  • 1755 - America first learns of chocolate and its growing popularity in Europe.

  • 1780 - The first machine-made chocolate is produced in Barcelona, Spain.

  • 1792 - The Josty brothers from the Grisons made a major contribution to the reputation of Swiss chocolate in Germany. In 1792, they opened a confectioner's shop and chocolate factory in Berlin.

  • 1810 - Venezuela’s leading position in the production of cocoa is established. A survey in this year shows that this country produces half of the world's cocoa. One third of the world's entire cocoa production is consumed by the Spaniards.

  • 1819 - The first Swiss chocolate factory is set up in a former mill near Vevey. The founder, Francois-Louis Cailler, had learned the secrets of the chocolate making trade in Italy.

  • 1875 - After eight years of experimenting, Swiss-born Daniel Peter puts the first milk chocolate on the market.

  • 1879 - Rodolphe Lindt of Berne produces chocolate which melts on the tongue for the first time.

  • 1900 - Spain, formerly the classic land of chocolate, falls far behind. Germany takes the lead in consumption per capita, followed by the United States, France and Great Britain. In just a decade or two another country will take the lead of the chocolate nations - Switzerland

Shopping Cart
Your cart is empty.