In 1814, François-Louis Cailler went to a local fair in Turin, Italy and tasted, for the first time, chocolate. Loving the taste so much he eventually stayed there 4 years learning the art of chocolate making. When he returned to Switzerland he opened the very first Swiss chocolate factory, Cailler, in Corsier, near Lausanne. In 1825 he opened a second factory which he sold to his son Julian and his son-in-law Daniel Peter.
Daniel Peter revolutionised the chocolate industry in 1875 when , with the help of his neighbour Henri Nestlé, added condensed milk to the chocolate solution thus creating milk chocolate.
Rudolphe Lindt then took Swiss chocolate to a new level by inventing, in 1879, the conching machine. It is a vertical fine blade stirring device that gives the chocolate a finer consistency allowing it give that melt in the mouth sensation. Lindt also added cocoa butter to the chocolate mass thus enriching its flavour.
Today in Switzerland almost 160,000 tonnes of chocolate are produced annually generating more than 1.5 billion Swiss Francs (1.2 billion Euro). One of most surprising facts is that almost half, 47%, of Swiss chocolate is consumed in Switzerland giving the Swiss the highest per capita rate for chocolate consumption in world at 11.6kg (25.6lbs) for every man, woman and child.
A visit to Switzerland just wouldn’t be the same without it.