When it comes to the secret blend of Swiss herbs in Ricola, only the top quality is good enough. Believe it or not, but there are no less than 13 different Alpine herbs required to create the cough clearing flavor of Ricola drops!
Herbs are cultivated on more than 100 fields in the Valais, Emmental, Puschlav, Jura and in Central Switzerland. Mountain farmers from Kandersteg to Zermatt make a special effort to weed their fields by hand as they refuse the use of chemicals.
The Ricola Herb Center in Laufen (Kräuterzentrum)
Recently, Ricola has opened a brand new warehouse for storing and processing of their herbs. Located in the middle of fields with conventional industrial buildings in Laupen, the building is constructed entirely from clay – including the floor.
No concrete has been used, which is pretty significant for a building of this size (it is 100 m long and 11 m high). But then, it is typical for the clay architecture of Martin Rauch.
It is a great example of modern sustainable architecture, using only ecological building materials and reusing heat from the nearby production facility. Logistics can be reduced by centralizing all steps in the production process.
A small visitor center includes a factory tour where the production process of the Ricola drops can be witnessed. I was surprised to find that all herbs are dried, cleaned, milled, blended and heated in Ricola's facilities in Switzerland. Only the packaging of the drops takes place abroad, and maybe the sheer length of the building is symbolic for the lengthy process of producing these herbal remedies...
Ricola is among Switzerland's best recognized brands. The commercial for the iconic yellow cough drops has been so popular in North America that many can imitate the "Riiicooolaaa!" yodel...
- How to get there
- Visit the nearby Ricola Herb Garden (free admission)
(Photographs copyright by Markus Bühler-Rasom/Ricola)