The village of Broc in Switzerland is an unknown to the world – but this is where Alexandre-Louis Cailler founded Maison Cailler in 1898. Becoming the first Swiss producer of chocolate, we have Cailler to thank for an innovation that, surely, would be sorely missed if he had not set up his factory in the green rolling hills: the humble chocolate bar. Developing the first smooth chocolate that could be shaped in this way, Cailler’s business was bought by his neighour Henri Nestlé in 1929. The rest, as they say, is (delectable) history.
For nearly 200 years, Cailler has preserved the authentic craft of chocolatemaking by continuing to use fresh milk from the region, married with rich, slow roasted cocoa beans and wholesome natural ingredients to create the true taste of chocolate. The Cailler chocolate brand has long been available in Switzerland, but this year, Nestlé is launching the range through Amazon e-commerce in the UK, US, Germany and China, as well as in-store at major international airports including Geneva, Zurich, Singapore and Dubai.
The super-premium assortments available in Milk, Dark and Praline selections are not in just any boxes, however: the artwork created for each Cailler box is hand-designed by master paper-cutting artisan, Marianne Dubuis. The traditional Swiss découpage technique creates elaborate silhouette figures in paper for a delicate and unique finish, making a gift of chocolates that little bit more special. Unique pop-ups in prime locations around New York, Munich and London, have also recently allowed visitors to get a unique paper-cut artwork of their own, while sampling a “taste of the real”.
It is this authenticity that Nestlé foresees to be Cailler’s key differentiator: the sourcing of its ingredients and its manufacture has been historically as Swiss-based as possible. Cailler retains its roots in the mountains of Gruyère, sourcing all of its milk from grass-fed cows within the vicinity of Broc. The nuts used in its artisan L’Art du Brut range of bars are roasted in-house. The cocoa beans are UTZ-certified, an organisation that campaigns for cocoa plantations that are socially and ecologically responsible, sourced through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan. These elements come together thanks to an authentic craft preserved from generation to generation, rooted in the families of Broc. The Maison du Cailler, a modern factory in Broc built upon 200-year old chocolate-making heritage, is where the magic happens.
The premium chocolate segment currently accounts for 12%of global chocolate sales, but it is forecast to grow at 8% – higher than mainstream chocolate at 5%. With small, artisan chocolate makers from Toronto to Tokyo playing with bold flavor infusions and hand-roasted bean varieties, Nestlé may have captured the sweet spot between super-premium quality and the ease of distribution that comes with their established supply chains. Cailler chocolates are available in 16- and 25-piece boxes through Amazon in the US, UK and Germany or at select international airports. Their artful paper-cut packaging is sure to make for an elegant gift, while their L’Art Du Brut bars, featuring moreish nut and fruit combinations such as dark chocolate almond and cranberry, sound ideal for a bit of self-indulgence.