How is it possible that I’ve gone this long without ever writing a post about Swiss chocolate? As we all know, Switzerland is The Land of Chocolate. Its claim to fame amongst the other Lands of Chocolate (Belgium, Germany, Holland, etc.) is that milk chocolate was invented here. Makes sense, given all the milk-producing they do.
But luckily for us the Swiss didn’t just rest on their laurels after that great invention. Instead they also managed to bang out a wide array of delicious dark chocolates, too. You can get bars made from up to 99% pure cocoa, but I tend to prefer the ones around 70-80%. But really, I’ll eat almost anything dark – even dark chocolate Toblerone does it for me.
For our every-day chocolate (and chocolate gift-giving) needs, the chocolate section at a Coop department store does just nicely (in Zurich, try the one on Bahnhofstrasse). They carry a wide variety of brands and types, and so much selection that I can usually find something new to try each time I go. I’m savoring the Dolfin dark chocolate with fresh ginger we picked up last week when we took my parents there (they picked up enough Swiss chocolate to fill an entire suitcase, I think).
Given our upcoming trip to Japan, I needed to stock up on Swiss chocolates to bring to our friends we will be visiting there. In addition to a visit to Coop, I decided to use this opportunity as an excuse to go to that great Mecca of Swiss chocolate boutiques, Teuscher. I usually stay far away from these stores because (1) it seems like a waste of money to eat this stuff on a regular basis and (2) quite frankly, their decoration scheme frightens me. Look at these pictures! Now I love kitsch, but I have nightmares about getting strangled by one of the long colorful vines of crepe paper flowers that dangle from Teuscher’s ceiling. It’s just that scary in there.
But sometimes one has to be brave, so today I mustered up all my courage and ventured into a Teuscher shop. At the end of the day, their chocolate is pretty darn good, so I figured the trip would be worth it. Although I usually stick to the dark stuff, our Japanese friends have indicated a preference for milk chocolate, so milk it was. I got an array of interesting-sounding flavors: chocolate bars with with lemon, mint, pink pepper (anyone ever seen a pink pepper?), and my personal favorite, jalapeño (it’s entirely possible that this bar will mysteriously disappear before we arrive in Japan). I also got a box of Teuscher’s signature champagne truffles. Luckily those are well-wrapped, or they might have trouble making it to Japan, too.
All over the shop, labels reminded me that Teuscher also has a store in Tokyo, but I’m sure it will taste even better because I’m bringing it fresh from its birth country, right?
To hear about bloggers’ favorite chocolate shops from around the world (or submit your own), check out Food Destinations – there will be a round-up of posts on Chocolate in Context shortly after the October 30th deadline for submissions. Mmmmmm… chocolate.