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.

cailler-chocolate

Cailler Chocolate is produced at Maison Cailler in Broc, Switzerland.

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.

cailler-chocolate

Cailler Chocolate makes a wide range of products from the traditional Swiss chocolate treats, to more sophisticated handcrafted chocolate bars and bonbons.

cailler-chocolate

I admit it. I stole one of these delicious chocolates from the beautiful display at Maison Cailler. Well, I didn’t really steal it. But I hated to ruin their beautiful tray of goodies, but did. All in the name of research.

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.

cailler-chocolate

Geraldine Muller Maras is the ambassador for Maison Cailler, and an award-winning chocolatier.

chocolate-art

This life-sized chocolate sculpture is the creation of Geraldine Muller Maras and is on display at Maison Cailler in Broc, Switzerland.

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.

cailler-chocolate

If you choose to visit Cailler Chocolate in Broc, you may wish to stay at the Hotel Cailler located about an hour away in the tiny village of Charmey.

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.

chocolate-spas

I had a chocolate massage at Les Bains de la Gruyere thermal bath and spa, which is connected to the Hotel Cailler via an underground tunnel.

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!

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

71 Responses

  1. Catarina says:

    Cailler chocolate is delicious. Had no idea the company belongs to Nestlé but am not surprised since many well known brands have been bought by multinational companies.
    Catarina recently posted…Do you agree with Harvard that international people are more creative?My Profile

  2. TammyJo Eckhart
    Twitter:
    says:

    Last winter I had a chance through the Amazon Vine program to try out a box of Cailler chocolates, it was wonderful. I’ll never get the chance to travel like you do, Doreen, so I was very happy to see their headquarters.

  3. Donna Janke
    Twitter:
    says:

    Swiss bliss indeed! The chocolate sounds delicious.
    Donna Janke recently posted…The Quaint Seaside Village of Cowichan BayMy Profile

  4. Chris
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’ll be honest, I’ve never heard of Cailler, but let’s be realistic.

    There are so many hidden gems you unearth, that this wouldn’t be the first chocolate label you’ve introduced me to!

    They’re obviously doing something right if they’re now utilising pop up shops in the US.

    Is this a case of testing the waters before introducing something more permanent?
    Chris recently posted…The Ring Road: Hali to Northstar Guesthouse (Day 5)My Profile

  5. Phoenicia
    Twitter:
    says:

    I do not recall eating Cailler chocolate but it looks tasty! The chocolate sculpture – I really would not be able to resist eating this in small chunks!

    I much prefer chocolate selection boxes to chocolate bars – I feel special eating from the box.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Where there is a will, there is a way!My Profile

    • Hi Phoenicia and thanks for sharing your thoughts. I, too, enjoy boxed chocolates. But here’s the dilemma. The ones that are freshly made and contain no additives or preservatives only have a shelf life of maximum three months. And they don’t travel well. So unless you are at the source eating them where they’ve been made, the flavour and presentation will be compromised. Unless … you are eating commercial chocolate that is filled with additives and preservatives. Your choice!

  6. Beverly says:

    I have never heard of pop up shops before. The concept sounds very interesting!

  7. lenie
    Twitter:
    says:

    Doreen, you aren’t called wizard of words for nothing. Your descriptions of chocolate and places always make me feel that I’m right there with you (although I wish I could have been right there in person for that chocolate massage).
    I think the chocolate sculpture is amazing but then I think many of your chocolatiers have been true artists – they just work in chocolate rather than clay or paint.
    lenie recently posted…Remembrance Day: Sacrifices Never ForgottenMy Profile

    • Thank you so very much for your wonderful words of confidence, Lenie. I’m truly grateful that you’re enjoying the chocolate journeys with me. It’s my pleasure to introduce you and all to the chocolate masters and innovators of the world. 🙂

  8. I have always wanted to visit Switzerland. Your post just brought that back to mind. Switzerland and chocolate, I can think of no better combination.
    Cheryl Therrien recently posted…3 Daily Posture Stretches to Do After EVERY Exercise ClassMy Profile

  9. Mimi
    Twitter:
    says:

    If I ever am around, this would be interesting to visit as we are huge chocolate lovers. Never heard of it but so happy to discover new things!

  10. Janice Chung
    Twitter:
    says:

    Delish! Especially the chocolate you stole! (Filled with nuts??). The chocolate sculpture reminds me of the one I saw at the Musée Rodin in Paris last January and “The Thinker” in chocolate at Patrick Roger stores. So nice Nestle kept the Cailler brand name.
    Janice Chung recently posted…4 Lessons Learned The Hard Way In FranceMy Profile

    • Hi Jan and thanks for your comment. Yes, I’m truly amazed at the sculptures these chocolate masters create! My first exposure to this was in 2009 in Paris at the World Chocolate Masters Championships. Such an honour to see them in action!

  11. I’m reading this delicious post and am already pining for Swiss chocolate! And the chocolate massage sounds perfect later in the day:-)
    Irene S. Levine recently posted…Eataly NYC Downtown: A quick trip to ItalyMy Profile

  12. I’ve not heard of Cailler before but I love the look of the ones Geraldine is holding! I always think that the appearance of artisan chocolate is a part of its appeal.
    Karen Warren recently posted…Understanding Swedish Rune StonesMy Profile

    • I do, too, Karen. For me, the packaging and presentation of the chocolate is almost as important as the taste of the chocolate itself, as to me, eating chocolate should always be a memorable experience. Not just a matter of slapping a piece in your mouth. 🙂

  13. Rachel Heller
    Twitter:
    says:

    It seems almost a shame to make such a lovely sculpture knowing it’ll only be eaten or melted or whatever. The same goes for beautiful chocolate creations like Ms. Muller Maras is holding in her hand in your photo. So much talented effort, and it just gets eaten!
    Rachel Heller recently posted…Watching America Fall Apart on my Renunciation AnniversaryMy Profile

  14. I miss my Cailler chocolate in South Africa. It’s only Lindt – also good but Cailler would be awesome!
    Marcelle Simone Heller recently posted…Lion Escape And Black EaglesMy Profile

  15. Pop-up in NYC this week!!??? I guess I should go!
    Vicki Winters recently posted…Boracay #1 Island In The World 2016 Conde Nast TravelerMy Profile

  16. I’ve never heard of Cailler chocolate, but I’ll keep my eyes opened for it now. I agree with you about photography for a writer–you’d think they would like the advertising. Still, you manage to convey the best of it.
    RoseMary Griffith recently posted…Harry Chapin…Cats in the Cradle and Happy Thanksgiving!My Profile

  17. Tatia
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Doreen. Stopping by from BHB on LinkedIn. Thanks for sharing your taste of Swiss bliss! I wasn’t familiar with Cailler chocolate, but I’m open to expanding my milk chocolate knowledge base, especially around the holidays. The life size chocolate sculpture must’ve been quite the sight.

  18. Very nice look. I have heard of and even eaten Cailler chocolate but I do not remember hearing of the town of Broc.
    Charles McCool recently posted…Favorite Travel Pinterest Accounts Selected by Travel ExpertsMy Profile

    • Hi Charles. I only had a brief look at Broc, as we spent a lot of time with the chocolate. 🙂 But I would love to go back and stay on the outskirts at the Hotel Cailler so that I could enjoy those thermal baths I didn’t have time to try.

  19. I always love your images Doreen – and the chocolate sculpture is a real jaw dropper! I’ve seen some chocolate sculptures at the hotels where I worked but nothing that even came close to this. I’ve only been to Switzerland once, but I remember it with great fondness.
    Marquita Herald recently posted…Reflections on the Willingness to RiskMy Profile

  20. I especially love dark chocolate (close to heaven) and melt-in-your-mouth truffles and, after reading your post, find myself with a serious craving. Your picture of the prize-winning “Snack and Go” creation had me longing to plop in a chair, sit and savor! Mmmm!
    Anita recently posted…Emigrating, Immigrating and Celebrating Our First Year in PortugalMy Profile

    • Thx for your comment, Anita, and it had gone thru the first time. It just somehow ended up in my spam folder and I had to retrieve it. 🙂 Yes, it’s amazing how each kind of chocolate creation can touch different sense points. The dark chocolate releases those endorphins and makes us feel happy and good. The creamy milk chocolate is more about sensuality and the thrill of the melt. And the chocolate art satisfies our visual senses. I hoped you were able to satisfy that chocolate craving you were feeing.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…a visit to Cailler Chocolate in BrocMy Profile

  21. Luxury resorts, underground tunnels, chocolate massages – Doreen, you’re the James Bond of chocolate. You make Broc sound amazing. Other than the pop up shops – is there a way to get Callier’s in the US?
    The Travel Ninjas recently posted…Unexpected Insight at Bali’s Rice Terraces – UNESCO World Heritage SitesMy Profile

    • Well, thanks so much for the wonderful compliment, Vanessa! I’ve been called Doreen the Chocolate Queen, the Rick Steves of Chocolate, and now the James Bond of Chocolate! It’s definitely my pleasure to uncover every possible chocolate pleasure on the planet for my readers. I know that Cailler has a US Twitter account. I think it’s @caiilerny, so you may wish to try tweeting them on that. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

  22. Sushmita
    Twitter:
    says:

    I have never heard of Cailler Chocolate, but now whenever I get a chance will try them out. Also loved the location of the resort must have been a delight. Thanks for sharing dear!
    Sushmita recently posted…Sharing Fundamentals of how to handle your Startup Finances?My Profile

  23. I can imagine how great this visit was. Not only do you get to taste this wonderful chocolate, but also have the Swiss landscape to view, and visit a spa at the same time.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  24. Amy
    Twitter:
    says:

    I’ve never had the luxury of tasting Cailler, but it looks divine, and this is my kind of experience. We did a tour of Ganong last summer and it was heaven! For the record, I would have ‘stolen’ two of the chocolates off the display 🙂

  25. Cailler Chocolate sounds delicious. That chocolate sculpture was beautiful. Bummer they wouldn’t let you take photos for your chocolate massage.

  26. Susan cooper
    Twitter:
    says:

    That chocolate sculpture is amazing! What a cool work of art. I’m not that far from SF. I might have to get to her pop up shop in December
    Susan cooper recently posted…Publication Process Workflow for Blogging Books: #Cookbooks #MemoirsMy Profile

  27. neha
    Twitter:
    says:

    Now this is one place my daughter will immediately agree to visit. That building also looks like a big bar of chocolate only. Then there are so many delicious looking chocolates inside..yumm!!
    neha recently posted…Kumbhalgarh fort & its walls : epitome of royal strengthMy Profile

  28. Nancie
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi, Doreen! I wasn’t familiar with this brand, but if it’s Swiss chocolate it has to be good! I would love to try the chocolate spa. That sounds delightfully sinful! 🙂 (and fewer calories than the chocolate bars and treats!)
    Nancie recently posted…Bandung, Indonesia: Five Reasons to Visit the West Java CapitalMy Profile

    • Nancie, I have become quite the addict of chocolate spas. I absolutely love being slathered in molten chocolate. So far, the best experience I’ve had has been the Pure Jungle Spa in Costa Rica, both for the authenticity of the ingredients and the authenticity of the experience. But to be honest … They’re all good.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…The Travel BookMy Profile

  29. Wont miss out on try Cailler next time when we are in Swiss! That life sized chocolate sculpture is amazing! Chocolate massage sounds very interesting, more thing added to our must do list!!

  30. Choc-a-Broc full of good ideas!

  31. Sue Reddel
    Twitter:
    says:

    Oddly enough, I’ve not experienced the Cailler chocolate brand. I’ll keep my eyes open for it in the states. Sounds like a luxurious trip. I agree with you – I would have loved to see at least one photo on the chocolate massage. Maybe they’ll rethink that in the future.
    Sue Reddel recently posted…Best Ever: Food Travel Holiday GiftsMy Profile

    • Hi Sue. Yes, I agree. It’s most unfortunate when venues don’t instruct their staff to accommodate media in any way they can. In the case of the spa, I don’t think management gave staff any authority to bend the rules for media. They must have a “no cameras” rule. That is understandable for the general public, but should not be applicable to int’l media who have come halfway round the world to experience a service at the spa.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…the many flavours of MontreuxMy Profile

  32. Josie
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hi Doreen,

    I just love Geraldine Muller Maras, with her very pretty award-winning chocolate snack, amazing sculpture, and now a pop-up in NYC in the meatpacking district???!!!! She’s incredible — just love her accomplishments.
    So thank you so much for this peek at Cailler — we’re so glad you take us along with you on your Chocolatour!
    ~Josie
    PS: Have you been to Simon Coll Chocolate in Spain? It’s outside Barcelona? I thought of you when we toured the factory there.
    Josie recently posted…Everything You Need to Know About House Sitting Delivered in a Summit over the Thanksgiving Weekend 2016My Profile

    • Hi Josie and thx for your comment. No, I’ve not previously heard of Simon Coll. I shall look him up. What did you think of the experience, and of his chocolates?
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…being grateful will improve your healthMy Profile

      • Josie
        Twitter:
        says:

        Hi Doreen,
        Conrad and I were blown away by the state-of-the-art multi-media presentation of their factory tour. I learned more about chocolate than ever before, (and we’ve taken the Hershey tour in Pennsylvania — and not that that one is any kind of gold standard, but you would think Hershey would have a good presentation. It fell flat compared to the one at Coll.) I don’t find THAT much difference in the taste of Coll, as compared to other high end chocolates, but overall very nice. http://www.simoncoll.com/
        As an aside, I did an article about Mindo, a bean-to-bar chocolate company based in Michigan and Ecuador. I was so enamored by the owners that we’re going to visit their factory in Ecuador. We will get to visit the local farms where the beans grow.
        Josie recently posted…Everything You Need to Know About House Sitting Delivered in a Summit over the Thanksgiving Weekend 2016My Profile

        • Hi Josie: You’ll love the experience of visiting a cocoa farm. It puts a whole new level to the chocolate experience! When we were in Ecuador, we were relatively close to where Mundo is, but there had been heavy rains and so many of the roads were in dreadful shape and many closed due to mudslides that we didn’t take the chance. Ecuadorian chocolate is excellent, but not one of my favourites.

          Regarding the chocolate experience at Coll, it is indeed the smaller operators who most often have a more in-depth and more intense chocolate learning experience. I’ve visited several large operations and they have a more sterile environment, and most often, a more superficial learning experience as well. Thx for sharing your experience, and I will definitely check out the chocolate of Simon Coll.
          Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…a visit to Cailler Chocolate in BrocMy Profile

  33. Doreen — you get to visit the best places in the world! Surprised they wouldn’t let you take pictures in the spa, as it would be good publicity. Also surprised they would close their pop-up shop in Manhattan at the height of the holiday shopping season. You’d think they would have continued the test through the New Year.
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Be Thankful to Our Veterans by Giving Them JobsMy Profile

    • Hi Jeannette and thx for your enthusiastic comment. I am SO grateful for the experiences that Chocolatour brings me. Just wait! There are a couple of amazing trips coming up. SO excited!

      Re the pop-up shop: as Cailler is opening one up in San Fran in Dec, I guess they didn’t want to stretch their resources too thin. I’ll look forward to hearing how their market research in the US panned out for the company.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…being grateful will improve your healthMy Profile

  34. Mar Pages
    Twitter:
    says:

    More chocolate! Why have I not moved there already! Even the hotel looks like its made of dark chocolate, what a dream place to be. This post is so delicious sounding I have to get some chocolate now, great share!
    Mar Pages recently posted…10 things that may surprise you about DubaiMy Profile

  35. I have not heard of Cailler chocolate, but since I will be in Switzerland on Friday, could not have hoped for a more timely, delicious post. I will be on the lookout for this brand. I agree the hotel missed and opportunity with the spa photos. Can not think of a better spot for having a spot offering wellness treatments involving chocolate.
    alison abbott recently posted…Wellness Travel-The Azores Has it AllMy Profile

  36. Jeri
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thanks for bringing Callier chocolate to my attention. I definitely agree about the photos in the spa. When I visited the Biltmore estate, I got reprimanded for having my phone out and snapping photos. I see why some places emphasize turning off the flash, but to not allow any pics at all is folly.

  37. Adam
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hello Doreen! I’m a chocolate lover ( well, a chocoholic is a good word), so it was a big pleasure to read your story 🙂 And that chocolate sculpture is absolutely amazing 🙂

  38. Ami
    Twitter:
    says:

    Ah! Chocolate with some heritage and then some with some gorgeous sculptures. I too, would be charmed. BTW…did you nibble those fingers off that sculpture. I feel some are missing 😉
    Ami recently posted…The charming corn village of Sainji, MussoorieMy Profile

  39. Erica says:

    I have to say that I am partial to dark chocolate, but those chocolates on display looked lovely. It is too bad the Le Bains de la Gruiyere spa didn’t let you take pictures. There are some restaurants where I live that are like that, but usually only because they get a lot of celebrities. But yes, it doesn’t make much sense to have a journalist try it out and then not even be able to take a picture of themselves. Too bad.
    Erica recently posted…Essential Oils To Help You Stay CalmMy Profile

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