Switzerland has always been synonymous with fine chocolate and here in Interlaken two long term residents are lifting the lid on the secrets of chocolate making. Chocolate was brought back to Europe by the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century but didn’t make it to Switzerland until 1819 when François-Louis Cailler set up his factory Corsier. The Swiss soon redefined what we know chocolate to be when, in 1875, Daniel Peter succeeded in adding milk and thus creating milk chocolate for the first time. In 1879 Rudolphe Lindt developed conching, giving us they’re famous “melting” chocolate. Here in Interlaken Tatiana and Michaela set up the Funky Chocolate Club last June and run hour long courses on how chocolate is made. These two friends from university share a love of chocolate and the other day they invited us down to the club to see what it’s all about.
The Funky Chocolate Club consists of two sections; the cafe in the front and the Chocolate Laboratory in the back. The cafe specialises in all things chocolate, from hot chocolate in chocolate cups to chocolate fondues. They also sell various chocolate masterpieces such as cameras, tools and a solid hand carved chocolate skull. Make sure you look out for Hans as well!
The courses run in the Chocolate Laboratory behind the cafe. Tatiana started the session off with a taster of some of the different types of chocolate that they make before we moved on to a brief overview of the history and geography of chocolate, then on to the fun stuff – making our own chocolate bars!
This is us mastering the art of the chocolatier…
After being taught how to make sure the chocolate tempers properly we mixed and slowly cooled the molten chocolate before transferring it into a piping bag and pouring it out into the moulds for the bars. Next up is decorating. The first bar is decorated using special transfer sheets of white chocolate and then it’s time to freestyle for the remaining two bars. Tatiana showed us some techniques of how to manipulate the liquid white chocolate into hearts, swirls and stripes and then let us loose with all sorts of other decorations such as coloured chocolate pieces (red chocolate anyone?) fruit, nuts, hundreds and thousands and many more. By the end of the hour we are all covered in chocolate and the bars are ready to go in to the fridge. It’s a fun, messy, hands on session that combines lots of information, with lots of chocolate! Perfect for entertaining the whole family on a rainy day.
…And this is shortly afterwards.
Words by Toby Galtress, Resort Representative in Interlaken.