Listen up, chocoholics! You have arrived in the ultimate chocolate mecca of the world. And by attending Swiss chocolate workshops, you'll experience a full immersion into this sticky stereotype.
According to the Association of Swiss Chocolate Manufacturers, there are 18 chocolate manufacturers within Switzerland's borders. And on average, each citizen in Switzerland consumes about 12 kg of chocolate annually.
But how can you jump on the Swiss chocolate bandwagon and eat along? Are there possibly workshops in Switzerland to make chocolate?
Yes! Several chocolate factories in Switzerland offer tours and workshops. Here are two of the leading chocolate workshops in Switzerland we endorse. Let us know in the comments if you find any others!
Essentials to know about Swiss chocolate workshops 🧑🍳
Chocolate bars, truffles, and pralines: some of the chocolate factories that make these excellent delicacies have kindly opened their doors to visitors.
The two most extensive workshops are offered by Lindt Chocolateria in Kilchberg near Zurich, and by Maison Cailler in Broc near Gruyère.
For a small fee (anywhere from 20 to 75 francs), these 1 to 2.5-hour workshops give you the chance to experience a fun, carefully instructed course together with your friends. You get to make chocolate treats that you can take home. And along the way, you get to understand a little more about the delicate art and science that is chocolate.
Purely in the name of journalism, I have visited the Lindt and Cailler chocolate workshops. Each chocolate factory has its own signature element which might appeal to you. Your choice will depend on what you are keen on, how much time you have, and where you are visiting from.
Lindt Chocolateria in Kilchberg near Zurich 🍫
About 15 minutes by train from the Zurich city center is the Lindt Home of Chocolate with its factory outlet. And right next door, at the Lindt Chocolateria, you can attend various Swiss chocolate workshops.
To start, you are given a set containing a pastry chef coat, an apron, and a hat to use during the workshop. You will share this experience with about 30 participants - 5 or 6 per table. After a brief history of the Lindt company, we dive right into the chocolate workshop.
Each of us is given a tray of truffle shells that we have to fill with chocolate and champagne ganache. While it cooled, we are given an additional tray of pralines that we get to decorate to our heart's content, using parchment cones and melted chocolate - or with almonds or gold leaves!
Next up, we go back to the truffles and fill them with another layer of chocolate...
We then roll them into more chocolate and coat them in a light layer of powdered sugar. Finally, we package everything into neat little boxes and bags to take home, and we are also given a discount coupon for chocolate at the Lindt store next door.
The staff is exceedingly accommodating; I assume they have seen quite a variety of folks coming through their doors. They let you take photos in your outfit, with your friends, or of your creations.
They are also helpful in explaining a bit of their background and about chocolate manufacturing in general. We signed up for a German class (figuring I could do the translations because I had already taken the course before in English), but the staff was kind enough to explain everything in English to the group of us who did not speak German.
Have I mentioned the chocolate sample galore for you to eat while making your own?
Pros: Easy access from Zurich; praline and Champagne truffle creation with attractive packaging to share; very friendly staff; Lindt Home of Chocolate museum in-house
Cons: During peak travel season, classes fill up quickly
- Workshop: Truffle Magic
- Time: 1 hr
- Admission: 70 francs (Walk-in classes or prior online booking available)
Lindt Home of Chocolate
Phone: +41 44 716 20 00
Maison Cailler in Broc near Gruyère 🍫
Getting to Maison Cailler might be time-consuming, depending on where you are coming from. The chocolate factory and museum are located in a town called Broc near Gruyère. That's about a half-hour drive from Vevey in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. From Bern, it's 1:15 hours by train.
Entering the factory, we have to decide between the museum and the workshop area. We decide on the Cailler chocolate workshop.
As with the Lindt factory, you are given a pastry chef outfit. There are seven attendees on the particular day we attended, though there is a wide selection of courses you can take... Some of them, I suspect, are more popular with kids.
Maison Cailler offers a variety of chocolate workshops, many of which are seasonal. Think Christmas sweets or chocolate Easter bunny workshops. As part of the Coeurs Moelleux workshop, we make baked chocolate hearts with creamy interiors.
The process for this course is a little more involved, and you start everything from scratch with raw ingredients. A recipe with step-by-step guidance is also given to you, but you are more or less on your own after that.
While making our baked chocolate hearts, we learn about the science behind how chocolate crystallizes at different temperatures: how specific temperatures matter a lot and make the difference between runny chocolate and smooth, brittle, and hard pieces.
We learn a few other neat things: how the different sides of aluminum affect the sheen of hardened chocolate (you want the shiny side, I think). And how to make chocolate bowls using party balloons.
The staff is bilingual and excellent at explaining everything in German and English. The atmosphere feels a bit more serious than at Lindt.
Since we make multiple batches, we use one batch to eat then and there (with ice cream, raspberry, and all) and save the rest for later.
Our take-home bag includes a certificate of completion. Also, the apron and the pastry hat. Plus, all the remaining chocolate hearts and some discount coupons for the chocolate store.
Pros: Wide variety of workshops; pastry chef apron and hat are to keep; education about chocolate; ticket includes museum visit; children six and above can attend certain classes; combine it with a visit to Gruyère for a one-day getaway.
Cons: Far from public transportation or any large city (Bern/Geneva/Zürich)
- Workshop: Coeurs Moelleux (listing of current workshops)
- Time: 2.5 hrs
- Admission: 75 francs (You do not have to pay anything ahead of time to book these courses. But unless you book them online, you will likely be unable to attend.)
Cailler Chocolate Museum 🍫
After the workshop, we wander around the Cailler Chocolate Museum. It's a fun, mechanics-filled tour through the history of Cailler and Nestlé. I enjoy the section where they show how mini Cailler Branches are made. As you watch the machine churn out wrapped chocolate piece after wrapped chocolate piece, you get to grab a sample as well!
The last part of the museum is a complete sampling room that allows you to try out any and all of the Cailler-branded chocolate bars. The choices are so many it's almost overwhelming!
Rue Jules Bellet 7
Phone: +41 26 921 59 60
My chocoholic verdict 😋
I highly recommend taking the Lindt Chocolateria workshop and the Maison Cailler workshop. They provide lots of fun for not a lot of money. This can be particularly appealing when you have friends and family visiting from abroad.
The Lindt Chocolateria chocolate workshop will keep you talking for months to come. It's a perfect two-hour activity for Zürich tourists (and locals) who also want to do some sightseeing. Just make sure to book ahead of time.
The Maison Cailler chocolate workshop is your better bet if you want a full-day immersion into one of Switzerland's stickier stereotypes (a.k.a. chocolate). The recipe also allows you to recreate some of the chocolates at home.
I hope you've enjoyed my review of the leading Swiss chocolate workshops!