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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Many surprises at the Lindt chocolate tour

Took the train to Bern, then to Zürich and finally to Kilchberg to take the Lindt chocolate tour.

The outside of the building is quite striking with its white brick and gold lettering. However, the chocolate fountain as you enter the building is indescribable! The smell of chocolate permeates the room. I don't think pictures will do it justice. Yes, that is warm flowing chocolate running down from the whisk.

I was quite surprised how terrific it was except for having the self tour with the guided tour at the same time. There were way too many people. The guided tour moved quite quickly, though. as the guide explained what was written on the cards.

Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG, doing business as Lindt, is a Swiss chocolatier and confectionery company founded in 1845 and known for its chocolate truffles and chocolate bars, among other sweets. It is based in Kirchberg, where its main factory and museum are located.

The origins of the company date back to 1836, when David Sprüngli-Schwarz (1776–1862) and his son Rudolf Sprüngli-Ammann (1816–1897) bought a small confectionery shop in the old town of Zürich producing chocolates under the name David Sprüngli & Son. Before they moved to Paradeplatz, in 1845, they established a small factory where they produced their chocolate in solidified form in 1838. When Rudolf Sprüngli-Ammann retired in 1892, he gave two equal parts of the business to his sons. The younger brother David Robert received two confectionery stores that became known under the name Confiserie Sprüngli.The elder brother Johann Rudolf received the chocolate factory. To raise the necessary finances for his expansion plans, Johann Rudolf then converted his private company into "Chocolat Sprüngli AG" in 1899. In that same year, he acquired the chocolate factory of Rodolphe Lindt (1855–1909) in Bern, and the company changed its name to "Aktiengesellschaft Vereinigte Berner und Zürcher Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli" (United Bern and Zurich Lindt and Sprungli Chocolate Factory Ltd.).

In 1934, Lindt started to produce milk chocolate. Until then, it only produced dark chocolate.In 1994, Lindt & Sprüngli acquired the Austrian chocolatier Hofbauer Österreich and integrated it, along with its Küfferle brand, into the company. In 1997 and 1998, respectively, the company acquired the Italian chocolatier Caffarel and the American chocolatier Ghirardelli, and integrated both of them into the company as wholly-owned subsidiaries. Since then, Lindt & Sprüngli have expanded the once-regional Ghirardelli to the international market.

On March 17, 2009, Lindt announced the closure of 50 of its 80 retail boutiques in the United States because of weaker demand in the wake of the late 2000's recession.

On July 14, 2014, Lindt bought Russell Stover Candies, maker of Whitman's Chocolate, for about $1 billion, the company's largest acquisition to date.

In November 2018, Lindt opened its first American travel retail store in JFK's Terminal 1 and its flagship Canadian shop in Yorkdale Shopping Center, Toronto.

In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Lindt announced that it would halt commercial operations in Russia on a temporary basis.

Lindt & Sprüngli has 12 factories: Kilchberg, Switzerland; Aachen, Germany; Oloron-Sainte-Marie, France; ,Induno Olona, Italy; Gloggnitz, Austria; and Stratham, New Hampshire, in the United States. The factory in Gloggnitz, Austria, manufactures products under the Hofbauer & Küfferle brand in addition to the Lindt brand. Caffarel's factory is located in Luserns San Giovanni, Italy, and Ghirardelli's factory is located in San Leandro, California in the United States. Furthermore, there are four more factories of Russell Stover in the United States including locations in Corsicana, Texas; Abilene, Kansas; and Iola, Kansas.

Since 2020, the main factory of Kilchberg includes a visitor center and museum, referred to as Lindt Home of Chocolate. The museum notably displays the world's largest chocolate fountain, measuring over nine meters (29.5 feet ) tall and containing 1,500 liters (396 gallons) of chocolate, flowing from a giant whisk.

Yes, it may look as if I'm touching the chocolate but I'm quite far away.

Lindt has opened over 410 chocolate cafés and shops all over the world The cafés' menu mostly focuses on chocolate and desserts. Lindt chocolate cafés also sell handmade chocolates, macaroons, cakes, and ice cream.

On December 15, 2014, 18 people, including eight staff, were held hostage at a Lindt cafe in Sydney. Three people, including the gunman, died in the incident.

Lindor is a Lindt's brand introduced as a chocolate bar in 1949 and later in 1967 in the form of a chocolate truffle. It is now characterized by a hard chocolate shell and a smooth chocolate filling. The ball or bar are available in an array of flavors, each with a distinctive color wrapper:

The Lindt group also produces the Gold Bunny, a hollow milk chocolate rabbit in a variety of sizes available every Easter since 1952. Each bunny wears a small colored ribbon bow around its neck identifying the type of chocolate contained within. The milk chocolate bunny wears a red ribbon, the dark chocolate bunny wears a dark brown ribbon, the hazelnut bunny wears a green ribbon, and the white chocolate bunny wears a white ribbon. Other chocolates are wrapped to look like carrots, chicks, or lambs. The lambs are packaged with four white lambs and one black lamb.

During the Christmas season, Lindt produces a variety of items, including chocolate reindeer (which somewhat resemble the classic bunny), Santa, snowmen figures of various sizes, bears, bells, advent calendars, and chocolate ornaments. Various tins and boxes are available in the Lindt stores, the most popular color schemes being the red and blue. Other seasonal items include Lindt chocolate novelty golf balls.

For St. Valentine's Day, Lindt sells a boxed version of the Gold Bunny, which comes as a set of two kissing bunnies. Other Valentine's Day seasonal items include a selection of heart-shaped boxes of Lindt chocolate truffles.

In September 2017, an investigation conducted by NGO Mighty Earth found that a large amount of the cocoa used in chocolate produced by Lindt and other major chocolate companies was grown illegally in national parks and other protected areas in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, the world's two largest cocoa producers.

Mighty Earth's 2019 annual "Easter Chocolate Shopping Guide" awarded The Good Egg Award to Lindt "for greatest improvement in sustainable policies". However In terms of agroforestry Lindt scored only a yellow rating, the second highest of 4, for Agroforestry and a red ('needs to catch up with the industry) for Agrochemical Management on the 2022 Chocolate Scorecard which since 2020 is a collaboration between Mighty Earth, Be Slavery Free and other NGOs.

In August 2020, the Federal Antmonopoly Service of Russia (FAS) opened up an antitrust case against Lindt after a failed response from the company a year earlier. The regulators have found quality differences for the same Lindt products in Russia over what is being sold in Western Markets without informing Russian consumers. According to the FAS, such behavior of foreign producers can lead to a redistribution of demand in the market and lead to unjustified benefits over other competitors, as companies like Lindt can still garner Russian demand for their products through brand recognition alone without delivering the same quality as in Western Europe. Lindt responded and denied that there are differences for its products sold in Russia and the EU, except for labeling.

The Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate factory becomes an industrial operation, while Confiserie Sprüngli remains a handcrafted family-owned company. Lindt and Sprüngli are not the same. The two are independent companies. The Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate factory is an industrial operation, while Confiserie Sprüngli remains a handcrafted family-owned company. Since 1994, the family-owned company, Sprüngli, have been led by the brothers Tomas and Milan Prenosil, sixth-generation descendants of Rudolf Sprüngli. Despite its global growth, Lindt & Sprüngli remains Swiss in its roots – in fact, the Swiss remain the biggest champions with each citizen consuming on average one Lindor truffle a day. The work of the Lindt Master Chocolatiers starts with the selection of fine raw materials and high quality ingredients. Top quality is particularly important in the meticulous selection of our raw materials. We monitor the quality of our ingredients not only in our factories but also on different steps in our supply chain, starting in the countries of origin.

Lindt & Sprüngli sources its premium cocoa beans from the world’s most exclusive regions of origin, Ghana, Ecuador, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea and the Dominican Republic. This not only applies to the main ingredient, cocoa beans, but to all other materials such as hazelnuts, almonds, and vanilla. Lindt & Sprüngli monitor the quality in their own laboratory before the goods enter the factory to make sure they meet our high quality standards. All ingredients are subject to rigorous standards regarding their origin and quality. Only the best ingredients are good enough for our premium Lindt chocolate products.

Lots of information to absorb as you walk from room to room.

The first room had to do with the cocoa cultivation.

The next room concentrated on the origins of chocolate

How did Switzerland become the home of chocolate was the theme of the next room.

We now enter another room where you see different molds and types of chocolate bars.

Unlike Cailler which uses real milk, Lindt uses powered milk.

Michael thought it was an excellent tour, but there were too many people. You could get information if you put your translation device close to a station. Michael thought there were too many information stations, and he soon became bored about three quarters of the way into the tour. He hates large crowds, so I think that was the problem, too.

It was wonderful you could try as much white, milk, and dark chocolate as you wanted. All three were warm so the taste was quite good.

Grab a spoon and taste away.




Another tasting. Combining these ingredients with dark chocolate.

Green light meant the chocolate would drop down when you placed your hand underneath to catch the it. After tasting, you had to decide what the other flavor was.

At the tasting room, you could take one Lindor in each of the flavors. I did take two of the milk and dark, before I knew I could only have one. Oh, well, I didn't want to put them back. Some people didn't have pockets, so it was hard to hold onto them and continue the tour.

They had a place to take a photo which would be sent to your email.

They had a production line.

The prize at the end of the tour was a small piece of chocolate. Unfortunately, there was a line in front of us and it would have taken at least 20 to 30 minutes to get it. They have two dispensers but only one of them was working.

As with a Disneyland ride, you are directed to the store at the end. This store was large!!! You could get certain products only here at the factory. This is the first place I have seen baking products. There were many discounts on products, too.

The shop is the biggest Lindt Chocolate Shop at (500 m2).

They have a nice cafe for a little snack, too.

Originally, we were to take the Lindt tour and then go straight to our Thai cooking class with Sherly. She cancelled this class as we were the only two that signed up. Then, she put us in the Asian appetizer class. Well, that class was cancelled too since the group that was scheduled to come all cancelled. So.....we are now going to be in the teriyaki Udon noodle class next Saturday. We will see. It would have worked out perfectly to go to Lindt and then Thai cooking. Oh well, we are on vacation and have a flexible schedule, so we don't care.

Michael and I admitted this was a wonderful tour and we definitely would recommend it, if you are in the Zürich area.


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