Swiss chocolate always makes a great present for family and friends abroad. But in times of an ever-increasingly globalised world, it pays to know which Swiss chocolates still aren’t easily to come by outside of Switzerland. So, leave the Lindt and Toblerone chocolates in the supermarket shelves and opt for one of the ideas below. Some suggestions are higher priced pralines, others are affordable everyday chocolate bars. I’m including these too because, personally, I often prefer a delicious, simple bar of chocolate to an expensive praline.
Gottlieber Hüppen. These delicate Hüppen (wafer rolls) filled with praline, mocha or gianduja always make a great present, even if you’re looking for a gift for a Swiss friend, because not every Swiss knows them! I’ve grown up with them because they are being made very close to my hometown. Gottlieben is a beautiful village at the Lake Constance in the Canton of Thurgau. The town’s Hüppen history began in a picturesque house by the water in the year 1928 when Elisabeth Wegeli was introduced to the art of baking Hüppen by her neighbour. In 2008 the family company was taken over by my fellow Frauenfelder Dieter Bachmann who brought a lot of innovation to the company and has created several new products. They have a Youtube channel too where you can watch their short movie about the company’s history and the history of the Hüppen. These days Gottlieber Hüppen can be bought in any larger Coop and some other shops.
Femina. You won’t find many Cailler products abroad so this brand is always a good choice. Their chocolate bars are delicious, and the chocolate box called Femina is a popular gift in Switzerland. It’s an assortment of soft milk chocolate pralines. If you, like me, find them a little bit too sweet, Cailler now has dark chocolate Femina – it’s the same pralines, but made with dark chocolate. By the way, Cailler is the oldest Swiss chocolate brand still in business. It was founded by François-Louis Cailler who was born in the year 1796 in the Gruyère region. Cailler is owned by Nestlé, however this wasn’t part of the recent globalisation, but a development that happened already in the year 1929.
Läckerli Au Chocolat. The Basler Läckerli from the Basel based company Läckerlihuus are the most famous Läckerli cookies in Switzerland. These Läckerli have been around for more than 100 years and they’re some of my favourite Swiss cookies. During the past century, the company has continuously extended their range of cookies, sweets and chocolates. My all-time favourite, newer product are their chocolate coated Läckerli sticks, available in milk chocolate and dark chocolate. The chocolate works so well together with the Läckerli.
Läderach chocolates. The company Läderach has brought the simple chocolate bar to an entirely new level. Their broken chocolates (think huge bars of chocolate broken into smaller, unevenly shaped pieces) don’t only look beautiful, their taste is out of this world too. I often prefer a simple bar of chocolate to pralines and these Läderach ones add a touch of luxury to the humble chocolate bar. They do, however, come at a high price tag. You can either visit one of their brick and mortar shops or buy in their online shop.
Kirschstengeli. These little chocolate sticks filled with Kirsch liqueur (lit. little Kirsch sticks) make a great present for grown-ups. Even if you don’t like drinking Kirsch, the combination of the cacao, the chocolate, the sugar crystals on the inside of the chocolate and the liqueur makes a delicious treat. The large supermarkets mainly sell the Lindt Kirschstengeli but you can often buy ones made by smaller manufacturers in bakeries and other specialty shops. And if you have ever wondered how they put the sugar crystals and the Kirsch into those chocolate sticks, watch this short video of handcrafted Kirschstengeli by a Swiss bakery, it’s pretty amazing.
Ovomaltine chocolate and Choc Ovo. The Ovomaltine chocolate bar and Choc Ovo, a small bar made of pressed Ovomaltine with chocolate coating will bring a smile to any Ovomaltine lover. There are a lot of other Ovomaltine products available in Switzerland, from chocolate spreads to cookies, but these two are my favourites. If you’d like to learn more about the history of the Swiss drink Ovomaltine, read our post here.
Frey chocolate bars. Largely unknown abroad, the chocolates made by the Migros owned company Frey are Switzerland’s best kept (open) secret. The Frey chocolates are sold by Migros in Switzerland, and they’re also available in a handful of other countries either by the brand Frey or a different label. If you’ve ever traveled with Swiss airlines, the chances are high you ate some Frey chocolates; the little red chocolates the airline hands out on their flights are made by Frey. My favourite Frey bars are the Milch (milk chocolate), Noxana (milk chocolate with entire hazelnuts), Giandor (Gianduja) and Tourist (milk chocolate with nuts and raisins – don’t ask me about the odd name, I’ve been wondering about it for many years). You could also go for the Neapolitaines, which are a bag of assorted tiny chocolates identical to the large chocolate bars. Frey has them, Cailler too (Lindt too but these are available abroad too).
Branchli. This small, humble chocolate bar which is being sold by various manufacturers either by the name Branchli, Branches or similar, is loved by the young and old Swiss alike and we Swiss Germans lovingly call them Schoggistängeli (lit. little chocolate stick). They’re great on their own, stuck into a Weggli or any other bread roll, as part of a homebaked bread and chocolate snake (see our recipe here), and there are some delicious cake recipes too. You can tell that the Swiss love them and eat lots of them by the fact that Migros and Coop often have a half-price offers for a box of fifty Branchli, which is nearly 1.5 kilograms of chocolate. These days there are many different flavours available too.
Chocolate thins. It’s fascinating how the shape of a chocolate influences its taste. The thinness of these chocolates makes for a very different eating experience. They’re available from Frey (Migros) under the name Friletti or as Hauchdünn from Lindt, both as milk chocolate and dark chocolate.