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Gourmet Foods 101
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"Dark chocolate has the ability to lower blood pressure and alleviate headaches"

Swiss Chocolate

Like Skiing Down a Mountain of Sumptuous Chocolate

Swiss chocolate may very well be the king of all chocolates. The Swiss began making chocolate in the mid 1800's. In 1819, the pioneer of Swiss chocolate making, François Louis Callier, opened the first Swiss chocolate factory. In 1876, Daniel Peter tried to add milk to chocolate to make a smoother type of chocolate. However, milk has water in it and adding water to chocolate actually made the chocolate shrink, separate and then generally disintegrate.

It took Peter eight years of experimenting with his method before taking his new chocolate product to Henry Nestle, a maker of evaporated milk. Nestle, who had opened his own company in 1866, had earlier perfected the manufacturing of condensed milk and, along with Peter, they came upon the idea of mixing sweetened condensed milk with chocolate. Swiss chocolate then became the first milk chocolate on the market and the Nestle Company would become the biggest food and beverage company in the world.

In the same year, a Swiss man named Rodolphe Lindt came up with a more smooth and creamy chocolate that actually melted on the tongue. He invented the conching machine. To conch meant to heat and roll the chocolate in order to refine it. After chocolate had been conched for 72 hours and had more cocoa butter added to it, it was possible to create chocolate fondant and other forms of creamy chocolate. Then in 1913, Swiss chocolate got even better as Jules Sechaud introduced the method for filling chocolates. Swiss chocolate was a huge success and it won a series of medals at international exhibitions. Like bratwurst, rosti and fondue, Swiss chocolate was eventually elevated to a national dish.

After all, of these years, Swiss chocolate making is still going strong and it is very successful. The Swiss love their chocolate and they know they don't have to go very far to find some of the best in the world. The Swiss consume more chocolate per capita than any other nation on earth. Lindt, Cailler, Nestle, Suchard and Tobler are all famous Swiss chocolate manufacturers, with a huge assortment of delicious products. Teuscher, Zurich and Chocolatier du Rhone, Geneva are two Swiss truffle makers with a large world wide distribution.

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