Chocolate Overdose in the Cailler Chocolate Factory

Chocolate Heaven at Maison Cailler

Switzerland is famous for its chocolate, so, the No. 1 thing on my To Do List while I was in Switzerland was to take a tour around a chocolate factory. The best and most famous is the Maison Cailler in Broc, the first chocolate factory in Switzerland. Cailler chocolate is not very well-known in the UK but everyone knows Nestlé, the cheaper brand of the name.

The Cailler Chocolate Factory, Broc

The Cailler Chocolate Factory, Broc

To get to the factory, I caught the Goldenpass rail from Montreux where I was staying, to Broc Fabrique, the factory station, which took around 1 hr 40 minutes. The train ride was a delight in itself through some very beautiful alpine scenery.

The Goldenpass Rail

The Goldenpass Rail

The Car Park and Entrance

The Car Park and Entrance

Once inside the building, the reception area has a vast shop selling all the Cailler chocolate products and also a coffee shop with an outside terrace where you can sit and ponder what you’re going to buy to take home.

The Coffee Shop

The Coffee Shop in the background and Chocolate Shop

Walls of Chocolate Bars

Walls of Chocolate Bars

Atelier Bars, delicious!

Atelier Bars, delicious!

The Tour

After I bought my ticket for the interactive tour, one of the assistants took me to a waiting area where the tour starts.  I couldn’t believe that I was the only person in the factory taking the tour, there was nobody else in the factory! (but then again it was a Tuesday morning so all the kids were in school, yippee!).

Walls of old Cailler Pictures

Walls of old Cailler Pictures

Where the Tour Starts

Where the Tour Starts

I thought the assistant was the tour guide that was going to take me around who would walk me from room to room explaining everything.  Surprisingly, she left me all alone and I found myself in a self-locking room with automated mechanized exhibits, very Disney-esque!

The interactive tour is quite short. You go quickly from one room to another which first traces the history of the Cailler factory from 1898 to the present. We sped through the centuries, listening to how, under the Aztec empire, the cocoa bean was made into a potent drink only consumed before battle. Soon, Spaniards came sailing in and we found ourselves on one of their ships. As we travelled with sacks of cocoa beans from the Americas and how chocolate was banned in religious Spain. We followed the rise of chocolate in European society, beginning with the aristocracy where it became custom in high society to drink chocolate before and after assignations, and somehow we made our way back to the hills of Switzerland, where cocoa was mixed with milk and the chocolate bar was perfected.

After the interactive tour, you will find yourself in another room with huge bags of ingredients that the factory uses.  Cocoa beans from different plantations around the world, large bags of pure cocoa butter which look like great slabs of soap and different kinds of nuts and raisins that the factory uses.

The different cocoa beansq

The different cocoa beans

Slabs of Cocoa Butter

Slabs of Cocoa Butter

From the raw ingredients, you are then taken into the factory production area where you see the chocolate being made from long ropes of brown chocolate into the Cailler ‘Branches’ flooded in melted chocolate and nuts, and finally each picked up individually by a mechanical hand and wrapped in silver, red, blue, and green wrappers.

The production line

The production line

Cailler Branches

Cailler Branches

There’s a huge notice to say that any amount of chocolate can be eaten but none must be taken out of the room! I held off eating much here as I knew the Tasting Room was coming up and I was saving myself!

In The Tasting Room

With great excitement and expectation, I finally reached the end of the tour, knowing that trays of chocolate were waiting for me and me alone to savour them.

Chocolates in the Tasting room

Chocolates in the Tasting room

There were trays each labelled with a different variety of the boxed chocolates so you can identify your favourites for when you emerge into the gift shop, and here is where it began to get difficult. Every piece begged to be eaten but I felt nauseous only after a few. I was able to forge ahead, and I finally exited the room, proud and slightly unsettled that I had tried every piece of chocolate.

Chocolates in the Tasting room

Chocolates in the Tasting room

Chocolates in the Tasting room

Chocolates in the Tasting room

Chocolates in the Tasting room

Chocolates in the Tasting room

As I was the only person in the tasting room, I got into conversation with the assistant behind the desk who replenishes the empty chocolate trays.  I asked her why Cailler doesn’t sell its chocolate in the UK and she replied that it’s better known as Nestlé, but that Nestlé use milk powder and Cailler uses the fresh milk and cream that it gets from the cows grazing behind the factory!

The Cailler Cows

The Cailler Cows

I had a great time at Maison Cailler and if I’m anywhere near it again, I shall definitely return…..

Travel Tips

Entry Prices:

Children: 0 to 16 years of age – free when accompanied by an adult

Adults – CHF 12.00

Students and seniors – CHF 9.00

Free parking available for Maison Cailler visitors.

There’s a discounted SBB RailAway combined offer (includes travel with public transport and admission).

You can take a day trip on the Chocolate Train from Montreux to Broc: www.goldenpass.ch

Here’s a map of Maison Cailler

Author: Debbie

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