a visit to Cailler Chocolate in Broc
My 2016 Chocolatour of Switzerland took me to the village of Broc, where Cailler is headquartered. In North America, we are quite unfamiliar with the brand of Cailler chocolate. But in Switzerland, Cailler is a highly creative, very well known and respected brand with a high sentimental connection to the Swiss people.
Founded in 1819, Cailler encountered financial difficulties in the 1930’s and was bailed out of debt by the Nestlé company, which now owns Cailler. But Maison Cailler continues to operate under its original name within Switzerland, and remains a Swiss favourite.
As the Swiss still love their milk chocolate more than any other type of chocolate, 75% of sales at this location are milk chocolate, 5% are white chocolate, and 20% are dark chocolate–and that is primarily to those of French descent who live in the area.
Swiss chocolate heaven at Maison Cailler
Perusing through the Cailler chocolate factory, known locally as Maison Cailler, you are transported away to a world of Swiss chocolate heaven. There are traditional chocolate treats of all types, in addition to artisan bars and bonbons.
the queen of cailler chocolate
I also had the pleasure of meeting Geraldine Müller Maras, who is pictured below with her “Snack on the Go” winning entry in the 2015 World Chocolate Masters Championships–the only woman out of 10 global finalists. Maras is the ambassador for the Cailler brand, and opened the new Cailler pop-up chocolate shop in New York City this week in the Meatpacking District. It will be open until November 26th. Maras will be opening a pop-up chocolate shop in San Francisco in mid-December.
In addition to meeting with Geraldine in the Atelier du Chocolat, a lovely workshop area that can be booked for private chocolate functions, I enjoyed shopping and tasting at Maison Cailler, and found their video and hall of chocolate to be interesting. They primarily use cocoa beans from the Ivory Coast in Africa, as well as some aromatic cacao from Ecuador.
If you spend time in Broc, you may wish to visit the four-star Hotel Cailler and the Les Bains de la Gruyère spa located in the village of Charmey in the district of Gruyère. It is just 11 kilometres from the village of Gruyères, where we spent our first night, and about an hour from the Cailler chocolate factory.
Les Bains de la Gruyère spa and thermal baths is joined to the hotel via an underground tunnel. I was treated to a chocolate massage at the spa, and honestly can’t remember much of it. It may be because I experienced this treatment immediately on arriving in the area after my long overseas flight from Canada. It may be because I was not permitted to use my camera inside the spa and my memory just ain’t what it used to be. But any venue that does not permit a working journalist to take a couple of photos (not of anyone else, but I had just wanted to photograph the treatment room, and perhaps some of the supplies used in my treatment as I always do) has wasted a huge opportunity in my humble opinion. The hotel does look very nice and has a stunning setting, so I would certainly consider staying there in future. In addition to 16 treatments rooms, the spa has inviting thermal baths that you can swim in or lounge around while enjoying the beautiful scenery through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Now this … is Swiss Bliss!