I recently attended one of the Hauser’s chocolate orientation sessions. I was curious really to find out how such a session would run…. if it meant immersing myself in chocolate for an afternoon, then so be it, I was up for it!
Not surprisingly attendance was overbooked and really well worth it. Quite a part from the fact that we learnt how to roll pearls of different chocolate around on our tongues to pick up different flavours (I discovered, too late, that I should have been a chocolate taster!) we found out what differentiates grand cru chocolate from your average cocoa infused bar.
It is all in the duration of conching the chocolate, a process which evenly distributes the cocoa butter and which ‘polishes’ the chocolate particles. Apparently Mr Lindt left his conching machine on overnight by mistake thereby making the discovery that the longer chocolate is conched the smoother and creamier it is. They say most good discoveries emerge from mistakes!
The Swiss, who consume an average of 12 kilos of chocolate a year, per person, are world-renowned for making exquisite chocolate, this has a lot to do with the conching and then with the creamy Swiss milk which is used.
Chocolate is a Hauser heritage – they started life in 1955 as a luxury chocolatier in Zurich. As such chocolate is still fundamental to their brand. They source organic Bolivian chocolate which has been conched for over 60 hours. As I stood there with a chocolate truffle melting on my tongue, I marvelled at the shapes they have created from chocolate ibexes to entire 3d chocolate maps of the Engadin valley, this was definitely an orientation session worth attending!