Today is the third part of the four part series Swiss Chocolate Pioneers. Today we will be discussing Johann Rudolf Lindt. Lindt was born in Bern, Switzerland in 1855. Lindt was interested in machines and manufacturing at an early age. Remember the Kohler family? Well, Lindt went to study chocolate making with the Kohler family at the age of 18. Lindt was a distant cousin to the Kohlers. It seems as if all of the great chocolate makers of Switzerland were somehow related. Kohler’s competitors were Peter, Nestle and Cailler. Lindt learned a lot about the chocolate business by observing the chocolate business practices of all of them.
When Lindt completed his apprenticeship with the Kohlers, they gave him money to start his own chocolate business in Bern. The properties he purchase had been previously damaged by fire, but there was milling equipment on the premises that was not damaged. Lindt converted these machines into chocolate processing machines. He made what he had work for him.
Lindt purchased his used Bozelli machine (a chocolate grinder) from a local Italian man by the name of Branif who made confections locally. With Lindt’s interest in machinery, he modified the Bozelli’s trough so it could hold more chocolate. Lindt called this machine the “conch” because he thought the trough he carved out looked like a conch shell.
A great story. Up to this time in history, chocolate had been very crumbly, gritty and pasty. It was available in both bar and other molded forms, but they were not smooth. Lindt is attributed to the discovery of “chocolat fondant”. How did this happen? It seems by accident as great inventions often occur. Legend has it that Lindt neglected to turn the chocolate conch machine off after going home for the weekend. When he returned to his chocolate factory on Monday, the machine was still running. Much to his surprise, the chocolate was not only smoother but it also had a more intense flavor to it. Lindt’s absentmindedness led to the chocolate we know today. He called this end product “chocolat fondant”. His customers loved the new chocolate and we continue to love it today in countries throughout the world.
Next week…the evolution of Lindt & Sprungli in the final part of the Swiss Chocolate Pioneers Series.
I thought you might enjoy a wonderful Warm Chocolate Pudding recipe that is perfect for the upcoming cool evenings and weekends. A dollop of whipped cream and a shake of cocoa powder and you have yourself a warm, rich comforting dessert to share with family or friends.
Warm Chocolate Pudding
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 9 ounces dark chocolate (70% or higher cocoa content), chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- whipped cream and cocoa powder as garnish (optional)
- In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch; whisk in milk, cream, and salt until blended.
- Cook over medium heat, whisking gently, just until mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
- Remove pan from heat.
- Stir in chocolate, butter, and vanilla until smooth.
- With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat until light and fluffy.
- Divide pudding into 4 (6-ounce) bowls.
- Serve immediately with a dollop of whipped cream and a shake of cocoa powder if desired.