A bit of Swiss milk chocolate

A tall stack of Swiss chocolate bars

(A quick note here. From time to time, I get an email asking if I can send Swiss chocolate bars to another country, if they pay me etc. (OK some people just email asking for chocolate without even mentioning payment, but those are easy to ignore :P) I really don’t have the time for that I’m sorry to say. Besides, I am not in Switzerland at the moment (I’m in France), and even though I go back to Zürich once a month or so, I don’t have the time to run around buying chocolate bars and mailing them out to strangers. I suggest that you google around for people who might do this kind of thing for profit. Chocolate selling ain’t my game!)

I spent the last couple of weeks surrounded by chocolate bars.

First, I sent out 53 (plus a couple…I lost count) of chocolate bars to the winner of the Menu for Hope raffle. (It was sent out so late because the recipient was away from home.) The winner had requested that the selection be made up mostly of milk chocolate bars. Now, you might think that assembling 50 + different kinds of milk chocolate would be a tough call, but not here! There are many, many more than 50 kinds of milk chocolate sold in stores here - and I’m not even including the kinds with things like nuts or fruit or whatever mixed in.

Then last week, I got the ‘bill’ from my stepfather (who is an accountant) for doing my U.S. tax return. (Yes, all U.S. citizens must file them regardless of where they live.) He wanted some Swiss chocolate - milk, of course.

Nowadays, dark chocolate is in, especially since it’s supposed to be healthy or something. I do like that intense hit of cacao now and then, but I must admit that I am a milk chocolate kind of girl. Nothing surpasses the sensation of a combination of chocolate and smooth creamm melting smoothly on the tongue.

Here in Switzerland, it’s generally believed that the chocolatiers got a bit behind on the dark chocolate craze, and have been playing catchup to the Belgians and the French. These days there are all kinds of dark chocolate varietals and such on the shelves here. But still, Switzerland does milk chocolate the best in my opinion. Sure you can get terrific handmade truffles and pralines in Paris or Bruges, and you could argue that Belgian dark chocolate is better (though I’m not sure that’s true anymore). But a plain, (relatively) inexpensive bar of milk chocolate? Swiss all the way.

Here are a few of the mostly milk chocolate bars that were sent out to the eager recipients (sorry for the iffy photos for some of them, I was in a hurry). At current exchange rates you can just about convert the francs (CHF) directly to US dollars (1 CHF = $1). Going from the least expensive on up:

M-Budget is the ‘no-label’ house brand of Migros, the leading supermarket chain in Switzerland. This full size 100g bar of chocolate is only 50 Rappen, or 50 cents! It’s not bad, quite sweet. I think the package design is quite nice too. (The cheapest not-on-sale bar of chocolate I’ve seen so far is 25 Rappen. That one is not so nice.)

M-Budget Swiss milk chocolate

Frey is another Migros house brand. This one has a Euro ‘08 (that’s soccer/football) design on it. Here’s the Frey lineup on the Migros online shop, LeShop.

Frey Milch Extra Swiss chocolate with Euro '08 design

This is a standard bar of milk chocolate from one of the big makers, Cailler (Nestlé), costing about 1.20 CHF. (They messed around with the packaging a couple of years ago, and had to woo the Swiss public back, but now they seem to be back on top.) A very sweet, vanilla-rich flavor.

Caillier Swiss milk chocolate

This is a bio and free trade chocolate bar from Max Havelaar. Tastewise it’s average, but you can feel righteous eating it.

Max Havelar milk chocolate

Swiss Army brand chocolate with guarana, in Survival portions (50 grams, half the size of a regular bar). Obviously aimed at the tourist trade, but nice design anyway!

Swiss Army brand chocolates

Villars is a more upmarket brand, and they make terrific, creamy milk chocolate. My mother’s favorite! This is a half-size bar, but they make bigger bars too. The design is very Swiss-cliché, but we will forgive them for that.

Villars milk chocolate

Another Villars - milk chocolate with little bits of coffee in it! I love this one so much, it’s a good thing it’s a tad too expensive to buy every day.

Villars Milk chocolate with coffee

Finally, this is not strictly a milk chocolate bar, but it is very creamy and very intense. It’s a house brand bar from Sprüngli, my favorite confectionery store. Made from Cru Sauvage varietal chocolate from Bolivia. The truffles are even more intense, but they go off very quickly (after a week the flavor is already rather faded), so these bars are more durable. Sprüngli online shop.

Sprüngli Cru Sauvage Swiss chocolate

These chocolate bars are not edible. They’re actually an ad for Lindt chocolates, near the Central tram stop in Zürich.

Chocolats Lindt and tourists

I have often wondered what it would be like if those bars were real…

(Sidenote: For a while, I was contemplating putting up yet another blog dedicated just to Swiss chocolate. But, my waistline and my teeth told me that the necessary research would be too much for them. So I’ll just have to confine myself to the occasional chocolate outburst here.)

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Fantastic

I’m a newcomer to the sight and this is the first blog I think I’ve been able to just sit down and read.

I wish I lived in Switzerland…

Meggy | 28 April, 2008 - 14:43

chocolate in the US

Trader Joe’s sells some Villar’s chocolate in the US. It’s up there as one of my favorite milk chocolates. Most American made ones are too much like Hershey’s for my taste - my Dad worked for them in R&D, and he’s always been amused that I like English and Swiss style milk chocolate over American style.

And don’t get me started on dark chocolate. For years, the only darks I’d tasted were Special Dark or the equivilant. Not tasty at all.

Emily | 28 April, 2008 - 15:28

milk chocolate

very nice…thanks for making such a fun and interesting post… Did you have an inkling for something very salty after surrounding yourself with so much chocolate?

Jack | 28 April, 2008 - 17:34

not usually…I just feel

not usually…I just feel like a big glass of water, or a cup of unsweetened tea. Though I’ve often thought that chocolate covered potato chips would be a great snack…

maki | 28 April, 2008 - 22:18

villars is nice and malty

Like Emily, I’ve found the Villars at Trader Joe’s here in the States. It has a touch of malt in it, it’s a very satisfying bar.

cybele | 28 April, 2008 - 23:04

hooray for Trader Joe’s!

hooray for Trader Joe’s! Love that place (not just because of the chocolate selection :))

maki | 29 April, 2008 - 06:34

OMG I just died and went to

OMG I just died and went to heaven!

Jeanna | 29 April, 2008 - 01:03

Mmmh— I spotted the

Mmmh— I spotted the Ovomaltine bar right away (that has nothing to do with it being bright orange, no). hearts
And Galak, but ugh, that one I find sort of sickening—
I find Milka milk chocolate very nice, with a well-rounded taste. I guess it’s all thanks to the high percentage of hazelnuts in it.
Have you ever tried Novi chocolate? The spread is especially good. >D
Other than Lindt, which doesn’t quite meet my approval because it almost always have butterfat in it, I don’t know any of the others. licks the screen

S

Sei | 30 April, 2008 - 00:20

Ohhhhhhh … why did I

Ohhhhhhh … why did I click? I bought a ticket for this drawing and daydreamed for weeks about 52 bars of never-get-it-here chocolate arriving at my door. Whiiiiine.

OTOH, we can get Lindt at the supermarket here in my Alaskan town, so I’m not completely tantalized.

Jenny Islander | 30 April, 2008 - 08:35

Lindt

Lindt actually tastes a bit different in the U.S. to me compared to the Lindt we get here in Switzerland…it’s milkier here (the milk chocolate anyway). Cadbury Milk Chocolate also tastes different in the US vs. the UK (UK version being better). Not sure what they’re doing to it in the US.

Jenny, sorry you didn’t win… there’s always next time :)

Sei, Milka is a German brand I think…I can’t remember if I have ever tried it (though it is sold here, mostly at newsstands and such).

maki | 30 April, 2008 - 15:38

So it’s an annual contest?

So it’s an annual contest? (Please say yes!)

Jenny Islander | 1 May, 2008 - 02:22

That stack of chocolate bars

That stack of chocolate bars made me want to dash out and get some for myself. I’m familiar with the Lindt brand, but where I am it’s still a bit too expensive for everyday fare. For that, my old reliable is Meiji, the dark kind. :)

kantogirl | 1 May, 2008 - 04:28

CHOC-O-LATE!!!

I want some! I haven’t had chocolate in a loong time (okay, it’s been like 2 weeks, but still!) Must..go..to..Godiva…
Or the Asian grocery store xD The Meiji chocolate bars are pretty good! They’re way better than Hershey’s, in my humble opinion. What other Japanese (or Asian in general) chocolate brands do you think are good?

Steph | 2 May, 2008 - 00:36

Well, when it comes to

Well, when it comes to chocolate I don’t think Japanese confectioners get it very well. They are good at odd flavored ones like green tea chocolate or strawberry chocolate, or cutely shaped ones, but pure chocolate, not so much.

I do know a lot of people love Melty Kiss though.

maki | 5 May, 2008 - 16:22

Delicious!

These look so fantastic!

Alejandra | 5 May, 2008 - 04:25

Love It

Hahahah I love this blog, you definitely can get Villars at Trader Joe’s!!. I need to try the other ones mentioned here as I am such a chocoholic

James Effs | 31 August, 2008 - 15:26

Question about Chocolate photo

Do you know the name of the chocolate in the bright red box about third from the bottom? I have been trying to find this chocolate everywhere but I don’t remember the name!

William | 11 December, 2008 - 04:06

It’s a bit hard to tell

It’s a bit hard to tell from the photo, but i think it is a Frigor (which is a Cailler brand).

maki | 12 December, 2008 - 12:02

Oh the memories!!!

It is amazing how chocolate can start the memories rolling. I spent 3 weeks in Switzerland visiting family members (this was 15 years ago). However, the memories are still as if it were yesterday. I absoluetly fell in love with Switzerland AND all the chocolately yummy desserts.

Thanks for sharing

Lisa | 13 December, 2008 - 08:22

Swiss chocolate FREY AMARENA

Is there any chance to find and buy a fantastic swiss chocolate AMARENA produced by FREY?

Tanja Konforti | 21 August, 2009 - 23:39

Re: Swiss-made vs. US-made Lindt

I am a Swiss American. I grew up eating chocolate and have always been aware of the difference between US-made and Swiss-made chocolate. I know that the US manufacturing culture values profit above all else -- quantity is the priority. As for quality? Well, the lowest possible that the consumer will tolerate. There is also less concern for the health of the consumer. So, when a Lindt store opened in my town, I was at first very excited that I would be able to buy high quality chocolate in my neighborhood. But I quickly realized that not all of the chocolate sold in the store as "Lindt" was of the same quality. The bar chocolate and the expensive sold-by-the-pound chocolates in bins are clearly of a different quality than the popular truffles. The predominant quality of the truffle is sweet and not flavor. Checking the packaging, I learned that the truffles are manufactured in New Hampshire. (Ah, that explains the peanut butter variety.) Can anyone tell me what exactly accounts for the difference between the US-made and the Swiss-made Lindt?

anon. | 24 February, 2014 - 15:20

Re: A bit of Swiss milk chocolate

I lived in Basel for 3 years while in high school. I came back and experienced the horror of American chocolate. Unspeakable. No one seems to realize how awful American chocolate tastes! So when my husband recently got me a bar of American "Swiss" Lindt chocolate, I was excited to see it was made in New Hampshire. At last, I thought, Swiss standards for chocolate making have come to the US! But no. I was vaguely disappointed at the first bite--thought maybe it was just stale--then suddenly realized it was just a charade! The recipe is not the same. This is NOT the taste of real Swiss chocolate. It lacks flavor and complexity. It's not horrible, but it's not the real thing. I am perplexed. Why can't they just follow the Swiss recipe and create the same chocolate in this country?!?

Basler Hartweg | 7 April, 2014 - 23:04

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