Creamy, irresistible, intense; what’s more luxurious than high-quality Geneva chocolate? If you’re partial to cocoa confectionery and in need of a luxury vacation, you won’t find a better destination than Switzerland.
There’s a popular saying in Switzerland: “Every nine out of ten people like Swiss chocolate. The tenth is lying”. There’s little doubt that Switzerland is a nation of chocolate lovers. In fact, studies have shown that the average Swiss citizen eats around 240 chocolate bars a year. In short, no one eats as much chocolate as the Swiss.
Evidently, satisfying the Swiss sweet tooth is serious business and has given rise to a chocolate industry of extraordinary calibre. Since chocolate processing first began in the country in 1819, numerous pioneers – from Henri Nestlé to Rodolphe Lindt and Daniel Peter, the inventor of milk chocolate – have helped cement Switzerland’s reputation as a country of master chocolatiers.
As a self-confessed chocolate addict, for me there’s nothing quite as indulgent as letting a chocolate truffle melt over the tongue. I was therefore quite happy to be appointed the not-so laborious task of sniffing out the best Geneva chocolate.
Chocolate is as ubiquitous in Switzerland as watches and fondue; in Geneva you’re rarely far from a vendor selling cocoa products. But not all chocolatiers are made equal; while searching for Geneva’s best chocolate treats, the following confectioners are the first places to try.
Just around the corner from St. Pierre Cathedral, La Bonbonniere sits right on a main shopping street. Don’t let its central location put you off, however. This famous chocolatier is a far-cry from the more commercial stores that litter the area.
The layout of the quaint interior draws the eye straight to the fifty plus varieties of truffles on display. Following the recommendation of the bubbly woman behind the counter, I sample the Truffe au lait and the Truffe Mocha. Delectably rich, one truffle is enough to sate the chocolate cravings.
The truffles are divine but be sure to leave room for La Bonbonniere’s specialty, pavé de Genève. Invented in Geneva in the 1930s, these creamy chocolate cubes dusted with cacao are the perfect gift to take home.
Established in 1875, Du Rhone is one of the oldest chocolate shops in Geneva. With creative offerings full of subtle flavours, the years of experience show.
The Mocca glacé takes the darling of Geneva chocolate world, the pavé de Genève, and adds a fun twist. With the addition of coffee, a new depth of flavour bounds through in this melt-in-the-mouth chocolate. Just as tempting are the tonka truffles. These little drops of cocoa heaven blend the unusual flavour of tonka bean with creamy ganache and intense dark chocolate.
The truffles at Auer are as pretty to look at as they are delicious to taste. Full of traditional charm, this family-run business is one of the best-known chocolatiers in Geneva and has been creating chocolate delights for five generations.
Some of the highlights include the alcoholic ganache, the excellently executed pavé de Genève and the chocolate macarons. But the real star is the almond princesse: roasted, caramelized almonds, coated in milk chocolate and rolled in cocoa powder.
Tucked away from the main tourist thoroughfare, the Chocolaterie Christophe Berger is a true hidden gem. The modern décor of crisp white walls paired with funky light features reflects the establishment’s experimental approach to new flavours.
The selection is modest, but the focus is on quality not quantity and the chocolates are most aptly described as refined. My firm favourite is the Cédret, a dark chocolate flavoured with citrus. The fruit flavouring arrives gradually, following a hit of intense chocolate. I suggest you try one then purchase a box for after-dinner indulgence. This leaves you to tuck into the divine chocolate tart, almost guilt-free.