With just the mere mention of Switzerland, one’s mind goes to chocolate, whether it be creamy truffles, luscious ganaches, or crunchy pralines. Switzerland is one of the leading countries in the development of chocolate and invented the process of making milk chocolate in 1879.
Did you know that the Swiss are the biggest consumers of chocolate per capita in the world, eating a whopping 23 pounds a year?
Since Zurich is the capital and largest city in Switzerland, there’s no better place to get your chocolate fix and we’ve compiled a list of our top favorites.
1. Max Chocolatier
Located on an off-the-beaten-path, cobblestone street in the Old Town of Zurich, Max Chocolatier hand makes some of the finest, artisanal chocolate in the city. It starts by importing top-quality cacao beans all around the globe from exotic locations such as Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and Madagascar. Max creates unique flavors and pairings, sometimes in limited editions, which include pineapple and nougat, balsamic vinegar and blood orange, caramel and chestnut, and most unusual of all, a dark chocolate square flavored with candied rose petals and hazelnuts.
For the 2021 holiday season, Max Chocolatier is offering seasonal specialties such as an Advent Calendar truffle box, grapes soaked in grappa liqueur and enrobed in dark chocolate, dark chocolate squares with cranberries and chilis, a chocolate Santa perched on a motorcycle, and a chocolate spread to put on toast or bread.
Another great holiday gift for chocoholics is a 4, 6, or 12-month chocolate subscription, where you or your giftee receives a tasting box.
Pro Tip: Chocolates can be ordered online and shipped to the U. S. and around the world.
The Sprungli flagship store on Bahnhofstrasse, in the heart of downtown Zurich, is a wonderland of chocolate and pastry artfully presented in shiny glass showcases and stacked on shelves.
Founded in 1859, and still family-owned for six generations, Sprungli is one of the most beloved and popular Swiss chocolate brands. The loyal Swiss and international visitors flock to the modern store to stock up on its delicious delicacies such as Luxemburgerli, a luscious, bite-size macaron in tons of flavors, the fresh truffle du jour, cherry-filled pralines, dried waffles, marzipan bars, and white chocolate sprinkled with edible, alpine flowers.
After shopping until you drop, relax in the Sprungli café which serves a full breakfast and lunch menu of savory foods such as sandwiches, soups, fresh salads, quiches, and hot main courses. Of course, leave room for dessert, such as the famous truffle cake or a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
Teuscher is famous for its legendary champagne truffles, extravagantly flavored with a dash of Dom Perignon and lightly dusted with confectioner’s sugar. The founder, Adolf Teuscher, opened his first shop in 1947, priding himself for traveling the world to seek out the best ingredients for his products. Today, Teuscher is owned by his son Dolf, who maintains a high degree of quality chocolates.
Other varieties of truffle flavors include coffee, praline, almond pistachio, jasmine tea, salted butter caramel, and Bailey’s Irish Cream.
Christmas boxes and tins of truffles, and other confectioneries, are packaged with vintage illustrations of Santa Claus and winter scenes. Another holiday gift box has a bouquet of colored, silk flowers on the cover.
The flagship store and café in Storchengasse has rows of its products festively packaged in colored tissue paper and is decorated with oodles of soft, silk flowers.
Pro Tip: Teuscher flies in their champagne truffles overnight to its shops in the U.S. in New York, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Boston.
Another long-established Swiss chocolate company, Vanini has been producing chocolates and confections since 1871, originally starting in Lugano, later opening in Zurich. Its little chocolate jewels are still made by hand and its cacao beans are imported from Ecuador and Venezuela. Its fresh chocolate bar flavors include 88 percent cacao, amaretti, lemon, chili pepper, ginger, curried almonds, and white chocolate with red fruit. At holiday time, Vanini’s bestseller is a classic panettone cake, wrapped in rust-colored gift paper with a chocolate brown, satin ribbon. Another delicacy the shop offers is a chocolate Cuban cigar in various flavors such as lemon, hazelnut, milk chocolate, and fondant, wrapped in colorful foil.
The shop also has a café and serves its own brand of house-made gelato.
Vanini ships its products internationally on its website.
A rich and fascinating family history follows the Honold chocolate and pastry brand. Fritz Honold-Herzog, who was from Ticino, a city in the Italian region of Switzerland, bought an existing confectionery shop and cafe in Zurich in 1905. He immediately made his mark on the café society of the city by serving a sponge cake flecked with almonds from a recipe from Genoa, Italy. The family business was inherited by Fritz David Honold, who creates confections and chocolate on a luxury ocean liner, SS Belgenland, and while touring the world, he’s inspired to make new creations based on his travels. Today, Fritz Honold’s great-granddaughter Cristina de Perregaux runs the expanding company and upholds its high standards of quality products.
A highlight of Honold is its liqueur-based pralines and truffles in appealing flavors such as Grand Marnier, cherry, kirsch, gin, Sabayon, champagne, and Negroni. Among its vast pastry selection, its chocolate menu includes a truffle cake, a black forest cake, a chocolate mousse tart, milk chocolate-covered sponge cake, and for the kiddies, a chocolate cake decorated with colored candies.
6. Lindt Chocolate Museum And Factory Store
Upon arriving at the Lindt Chocolate Museum, the 65,000-square-foot state-of-the-art museum that opened in 2020, you’ll find a colossal, 30-foot-high chocolate fountain, where a golden whisk drips 1,500 liters of chocolate a day. Learn about the history, culture, and manufacturing process of Lindt, one of the most significant chocolate producers in the world, on a tour of the three-story museum with interactive displays.
After your visit, browse through the largest Lindt shop in the world, a 5,500-square-foot chocolate wonderland, which sells its entire product line. The master counter has live chefs preparing chocolate specialties right in front of you all day long and you can even customize your own signature chocolate bar and personalized packaging.
To complete your chocolate experience, the Lindt Museum complex also has a café, serving a sweet and savory menu. Toppings and accompaniments to its rich hot chocolate include orange liqueur, fresh whipped cream, a dash of Tabasco sauce, or a sprinkling of chili flakes. Savor hot waffles topped with Lindt chocolate sauce and homemade ice cream cones.
The family-owned Vollenweider label makes its traditional chocolates and confections the old-fashioned way with lots of care and superior craftsmanship.
Santa’s gift bags come in a variety of merry fabrics and colors of shiny gold, Harris tweed, star pattern, Royal Stewart plaid, and Saint Nicolas red. The bags are filled with milk and dark chocolate hearts wrapped in colored foil, delicate butter cookies in holiday shapes, and chocolate bars. Its sampler boxes, elegantly packaged in black with bold white letters and tied with black satin ribbon, contain dark and milk chocolate truffles in a variety of flavors. Another fabulous product is pink champagne truffles, flavored with rosé champagne and dipped on the outside with white chocolate. For romantics, there’s the Romeo and Juliet box with little red hearts made of dark chocolate and flavored with fresh raspberry juice.
Pro Tip: Most of the shops listed above ship internationally when you order from their websites.
Travelers who are chocolate lovers can never seem to run out of places to find this delicious treat: