Ten years ago, when I worked in one of the Zurich financial companies, my colleague from the London office, asked me to buy her some chocolates, knowing that I was visiting London shortly. So, without thinking twice, I went to the nearest supermarket and bought her a box of truffles made by one large Swiss factory. In London, I gave the box to my colleague, but when she saw what I had brought her, she could not hide her disappointment. What was my mistake then?
The colleague explained, that these types of chocolates can be easily bought in London. But the luxurious chocolate truffles with a fine champagne filling and made by hand, can only be purchased in Switzerland. That was the time when I learned that there is another chocolate category – a luxury chocolate.
How different is it from the regular chocolate? Why some chocolate bars can cost one Swiss Frank and the other ten? Why not to have a look at the Swiss chocolate from the perspective of the luxury sector.
Let’s start with the fact that the best and organic raw material is a guarantee of the quality of any final product. This rule applies to all manufacturers of luxury goods. To make expensive handbags, the most delicate skin is used, to make the exceptional jewelry – diamonds with the best cut, color and carat, and to make haut couture dresses – only natural fabrics are used. In order to make the best flavored chocolate, one needs selected cocoa-beans of different varieties. There are specialists, who do the “hunting” for quality cocoa-beans crops in West Africa. As an aside, the world price of this raw material are constantly rising and you can track the prices on commodity exchanges in New York and London.
If you walk along the main streets of Geneva and Zurich, on your way you will meet a lot of small shops selling chocolate. Visit one of these and ask a curiosity question about the process of making chocolate. In most cases, the owners will gladly show you so-called “lab”, because they are sure that after you visit you will buy a box of chocolates. They will be proud to describe the artisanal process of making chocolate – emphasizing the handmade part of it. The fact is that the true luxury is a product made by hand and in small batches.
It should be noted that the Chinese Traditional Medicine teaches us to treat food as a medicament. In this they are guided by the principle that each product has its own energy, or chi. Not surprisingly that in the XVIII century chocolate was considered a medicament. But, unfortunately, today major chocolate manufacturers replace 5% of cocoa butter with other fats, which affects the taste and quality of chocolate. So do not forget that the small Swiss producers use only natural ingredients and they are indignant at the EU’s decision to permit this replacement.
Each of the Swiss chocolate brands that manufacture chocolate by hand has its own unique features. One is known for its hot chocolate, the other one for its fine taste collections featuring aromas of jasmine, ylang-ylang and spices … But they all share one secret. The secret is not hard to guess, when watching how carefully the owner of the chocolate boutique wraps every piece of chocolate and puts them in orderly rows in a golden paper box. Or when the famous French chef Thierry Marx was asked about the secret of his phenomenal success, he replied that his secret is simple: he cooks with love.
So next time you buy a chocolate, ask yourself three questions: if the chocolate is made of the best cocoa-beans, made by hand and made with love? And if the answer to all three questions is yes, then indulge yourself by purchasing this luxurious chocolate.