This is the last of the four part episode on the Swiss Chocolate Pioneers. The final installment is about Lindt & Sprungli Chocolate. The Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprungli was founded in 1899 when Chocolat Sprungli purchased Rodolphe Lindt & Fils. The Confiserie Sprungli is no longer partnered with Lindt & Sprungli Chocolate. The factory is located in Kilchberg where the air is filled with the smell of chocolate. They are one of the oldest and largest chocolate makers in the world. They employ 6,000 people in their company with 300 people in the Kilchberg head office and factory. The Kilchberg schoggi, schoggi means factory in German, serves as the standard for what happens at its other factories. The busiest seasons are during the winter and spring which sends all of the factories into full production mode.
Lindt Chocolate Factory
The factory includes a section dedicated to refining the chocolate liquor and a conch machine fashioned after Rodolphe Lindt’s original conch machine. Although Lindt is know primarily for their chocolate bars, they also produce chocolate confections. In 2004, the company produced a line called Petits Desserts which won Lindt Chocolate the Saveur de l’Annee (Flavor of the Year). Lindt Chocolate’s goal was to offer simple, old-fashioned recipes the company used from an earlier time. Nostalgia was the premise. The most popular flavors were crème brulee, macaroon, tarte citron, and tiramisu.
The chocolate confection development department is always looking for new flavor ideas. They are made up of a group of innovative people who are both veterans and rookies. Some of the latest hires are a mere 16 years old. Their goal is to balance the old with the new. It takes anywhere from one to two years for a product to go from development to market.
Lindt Chocolate’s Triangles
Lindt & Sprungli Chocolate manufactures all of its own chocolate. The beans come from seven different origins and are made into chocolate crumbs and chocolate liquor at the Olten factory. They are delivered to the Kilchberg factory fresh daily where they go through their refining process. Milk chocolate goes through the conch for two to four hours. The darker the chocolate, the longer it goes through the conch machine. The darkest chocolate may remain in the conch machine for up to twenty-four hours. The reason for the darker chocolate remaining in the conch machine is that the higher the cocoa content, the longer it takes for the flavors and texture of the dark chocolate to balance.