Swiss Chocolate Pioneers: Francois-Louis Cailler

The middle of the 19th century brought great changes to the country of Switzerland. Science and entrepreneurs came together at an opportune time – to make chocolate. Swiss chocolate makers were responsible for some of the greatest achievements in the world of chocolate between 1830 and 1870. What came out of this “Chocolate Renaissance”? The chocolate bar, chocolate fondant, milk chocolate, and the melangeur (a machine used in chocolate manufacture for mixing chocolate liquor with sugar and cocoa butter, also known as a paste mixer.) Many of these techniques are still used today. So who were these Swiss chocolate pioneers? The were Francois-Louis Cailler, Charles-Amedee Kohler, Daniel Peter, Heinrich Nestle and Rudolph Lindt. Today we will be learning about Francois-Louis Cailler.

Francois-Louis Cailler has been dubbed the father of the modern chocolate factory and of the chocolate bar. Two very nice titles to have! Cailler is rumored to have studied the art of chocolate making at Cafferal Chocolates in Italy. He started his small chocolate business at the age of 23 in En Copet, Switzerland. Prior to Cailler putting up shop, both French and Italian handmade chocolates were quite easily available. Cailler, however, thought he could bring current advancements into the chocolate world and make high quality chocolates on a large scale by machine.

It is thought that Cailler was also the first chocolate maker to produce chocolate in individual serving blocks. Hence, the birth of the chocolate bar. Prior to this time, chocolate was sold in the Italian style which meant cutting how much the customer wanted from a long roll of chocolate right in the store. Cailler also experiment with many flavors in chocolate by adding vanilla, cinnamon and other spices to his couverture, something that was never previously done. Cailler was also a pioneer in selling his chocolate outside of Switzerland, also a new concept. His chocolate loving customers included Charles Maurice de Talleyrand who was a diplomat to King Louis XVI of France.

Cailler passed down his skills to his sons and grandsons who continued the chocolate making business through the turn of the 20th century. Cailler’s grandson, Alexandre Cailler worked with his uncle, Daniel Peter, who was the husband of his Aunt Fanny to continue the traditions Francois-Louis Cailler started. Together they marketed Cailler milk chocolate to the world. The chocolate business became so large that Cailler employed 1,300 workers at their peak of success. Alexandre followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and also studied chocolate making in Italy to broadened his chocolate making skills.

Check in next week for a chocolate history of Charles-Amedee Kohler!

Annmarie Kostyk, Chocolate Goddess

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