Back dated in February when I visited Florida, I was fortunate to go behind the scene of Steamy Kitchen’s TV show. She talked about chocolate that day because Valentine’s Day was approaching that week,and there I came across William Dean Chocolatier, a fabulous chocolatier in the neighbourhood. Thereafter I started paying more attention about chocolatiers around me.
Being living in the chocolate country, Switzerland, I feel it’s good to learn more about chocolate, I have only found out recently that Basel is not only about pharmaceutical industry, we do have a small high end chocolatier here run by Beschle family founded in 1898. And since 2007, they have started to penetrate to other markets namely US and Asia.
I always buy chocolate as souvenirs for families and friends when I go back to Hong Kong and certainly it’s good to know more special chocolatiers, so I can give some surprises to them from time to time, I feel like I am becoming an ambassador for the Swiss Chocolate.
On 1 May, my friends and I have visited their factory, we have learnt a lot that day about their in house chocolate production. After the tour, we were offered to sample numerous of their chocolates.
The special ones which we like most are :
- Quizás Grand Cru series, series of dark chocolate from different chocolate producing countries.
- Grand Cru Criollo au Romarin & Thym Citron which has a touch of rosemary and thyme, it seems it’s becoming fashion to infuse herbs into chocolate.
- Grand Cru Ivoire aux Amandes, even I am not a white chocolate fan, I have to put my thumb up
- Grand Cru Trinitario au Fleur de Sel et Pistaches, this one, Beschle has won an award in UK
And when the stock at home is finished, I will have to try the Ivoire aux Amandes & Myrtilles, white chocolate with blueberry !!!
Then we found out that there is a Chocolate Exhibition in the Lucern Museum of History which we have visited a week later. Stay tune for the coming Chocoholic Part II.
Some facts about Chocolate in Switzerland and the chocolate trend, for your interest:
- There are 18 Swiss Chocolate Companies
- According to Chocosuisse, Switzerland is the largest consumer of chocolate per capita. More than 90 million tons are consumed here– that’s about 12 kilos per person for year. This includes tourists and people who drive over the border to buy Swiss chocolate.
- The world’s economic woes shouldn’t have been worrying Swiss chocolate-makers much. Their sales leapt up more than 9 per cent last year to a record 1.8 billion francs. The rising price of raw materials did have some impact, but sales rose, both here and abroad, and almost 180 new jobs were created in the industry. In 2008, people ate around 85, 000 tonnes of Swiss chocolate in total.
- Dark chocolate seems to be in because it contains less sugar and fat than milk chocolate. It is more appealing to those who wants a little bit of health and a little bit of chocolate.
- U.S and Western Europe markets were stagnant last year, showing little growth, therefore need to open up new markets
Chocolatiers are eyeing new markets in China, Russia and Eastern European countries. And with that new demand, that will make cocoa supplies tighter, pushing prices up.
- Americans consume almost half of the world’s annual chocolate products
- Every American & Russian space voyage has included chocolate bars.
- A good year for some Swiss Chocolate makers but what’s ahead?
- Recession proof Swiss Chocolate?
- Chocosuisse, Association of Swiss Chocolate Manufacturers