The Spanish Conquistadors of the 16th century were already interested in chocolate. In 1528, Cortez took the first cocoa to Spain, along with the equipment needed to prepare the exotic drink, and it soon met with great approval in the Spanish court.
In 1615, the infanta Anna of Austria, who grew up in Madrid, introduced drinking chocolate to the French court when she married King Louis XIII. In Paris it became a badge of status and the fashionable drink of the aristocracy, and from there it spread throughout the whole of Europe. Whereas in the 19th century, the importance of drinking chocolate declined, solid chocolate, which had its origins in France in the years following 1830, grew in importance.
Chocolate arrives in Switzerland …
In 1819, François-Louis Cailler opened one of the first mechanised chocolate production facilities in Corsier near Vevey, establishing the oldest brand of Swiss chocolate still in existence today. Thus chocolate had finally arrived in the country where it was soon to find its greatest patrons and pioneers. Philippe Suchard set up a chocolate factory in Serrières in 1826. He was followed by Jacques Foulquier (predecessor of Jean-Samuel Favarger) 1826 in Geneva, Charles-Amédée Kohler 1830 in Lausanne, Rudolf Sprüngli 1845 in Zurich, Aquilino Maestrani 1852 in Lucerne, later moving to St. Gallen, Johann Georg Munz 1874 in Flawil, and Jean Tobler 1899 in Berne.
François-Louis Cailler (1796-1852)
Philippe Suchard (1797-1884)
Rudolf Sprüngli-Amman (1816-1897)
Aquilino Maestrani (1814-1880)
Rudolf (Rodolphe) Lindt (1855-1909)
Daniel Peter (1836-1919)
Daniel Peter founded a chocolate factory in Vevey in 1867. After many attempts, he succeeded in combining chocolate with milk, an obvious but difficult move, thus inventing milk chocolate in 1875. Rodolphe Lindt opened a chocolate factory in Berne in 1879. He developed “conching”, a process which created the world’s first “melting chocolate”. Many other Swiss entrepreneurs set up companies over the next few years, their activities helping to shape the reputation of Swiss chocolate, which soon became known throughout the world.