Swiss Chocolate Pioneers Part Two: Daniel Peter and Heinrich Nestle

This week we will be covering part two of a three part series in Swiss Chocolate Pioneers.  Today we will be learning about Daniel Peter and Heinrich Nestle.  Next week we will finish up with Rudolf Lindt.

Daniel Peter started his entrepreneurial spirit in business with his brother making and selling candles.  Oil lamps became all the rage and Peter felt he needed to look for a new business opportunity.  He already had a foot in the chocolate making business as he married the daughter of Francois-Louis Cailler.  He thought he would give chocolate a try and opened his own chocolate shop.  To learn as much as he could, he also travel to Lyon, France to learn from their famous chocolate makers.  Upon his return in 1867, he opened a chocolate factory in Vevey, Switzerland called Peter Cailler & Companie.

Peter was the first chocolate maker desiring to make milk chocolate.  He was influenced by his neighbor both at home and at his factory.  His neighbor was Heinrich Nestle.  Peter was intrigued by Nestle’s milk-based infant cereal and thought he could try a similar recipe to make milk chocolate.  It took Peter seven years of trial and error, and near financial ruin, when he finally mastered his milk chocolate recipe in 1875.  Needless to say, Peter’s business thrived after this invention of Chocolats au Lait.  His customers loved the milk chocolate.  In 1878, Chocolats au Lait medaled with a second place ribbon at the International Exhibition in Paris.

Heinrich Nestle was born in Germany in 1814.  He came from a family of fourteen children.  His first position was as an apprentice at a pharmacy.  He finished the apprenticeship and received certification.  He then moved to Vevy, Switzerland and changed his first name to Henri. He was a fantastic salesman and sold rapeseed, liquers, rum, absinthe, vinegar and nut oils.  Sales were so good for Nestle that he expanded to liquefied gas and fertilizers of his own formulation.

Being a brilliant salesman, inventor and entrepreneur, Nestle was looking toward modern advances to aid him in his next venture.  He wanted to help the Swiss people who were very poor at the time.  He wanted to do something to benefit the Swiss people.  He invented both milk based infant cereal and condensed milk.  Oddly enough, Nestle’s company never actually manufactured chocolate.  It was Nestle’s company, however, that bought out the chocolate businesses of Cailler, Kohler and Peter.  By doing this, Nestle preserved all of the Swiss making chocolate innovations brought to world and put them under one roof.

Swiss Chocolate Pioneers Time Line (aka Chocolate Cheat Notes):

Francois-Louis Cailler (1796-1852) – Founded a chocolate company in 1819.  Used technology to make chocolate.  First chocolate maker to mold chocolate into a bar. Daughter Fanny married Daniel Peter.

Phillipe Suchard (1797-1884) – Was a great customer of Cailler.  Adored chocolate.  Opened a chocolate shop in Serrieres.  Invented the melangeur (a chocolate machine for grinding and mixing cocoa beans.) By 1883, he was producing half of all the chocolate produced in Switzerland.

Charles-Amedee Kohler (1790-1874) – Lived in Lausanne and opened a chocolate shop there. First chocolate maker to make hazelnut chocolate.  His son trained Rudolf Lindt as a chocolate maker.

Rudolf Sprungli-Amman (1816-1897) – Opened first chocolate factory in the German speaking part of Switzerland in 1845.  Purchased Lindt’s factory in 1899 forming Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprungli.

Daniel Peter (1836-1919) – Created the Peter Cailler et Compagnie with the Cailler family in 1867.  First chocolate maker to produce a milk chocolate bar. Son in law of Francois-Louis Cailler.  Friend and neighbor of Henri Nestle.

Rudolf Lindt (1855-1905) – Studied chocolate making with cousin Charles Kohler.  Opened chocolate factory in Bern in 1879.  Invented the conch.  Was purchased by Rudolf Sprungli-Amman.

Jean Tobler (1830-1905) – Owned a chocolate shop in Berm selling other chocolate makers products.  Was one of the first customers of Lindt. Opened his own chocolate factory in 1899. His son Theodor invented the famous Toblerone chocolate bar in 1908.

Henri Nestle (1814-1890) – Invented a milk based infant cereal and condensed milk.  Friend of Daniel Peter.  Sold license to Nestle milk chocolate bar to Peter Kohler & Sons in 1904.  In 1905, they merged with Anglo-Swiss and in 1929 with P.C.K. (aka Peter, Cailler, Kohler, Chocolate Suisse)

Annmarie Kostyk, Chocolate Goddess

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