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So, you’ve just sat down to dinner with your new Swiss friends and the conversation turns to that famous export of the Alpine nation: chocolate. Ah, you say in a fit of worldliness, but you should try some Godiva, one of Belgium’s best brands. The conversation quickly turns sour and your new Swiss friends become as cold and distant as the tip of the Mont Blanc. Oops, you’ve just twinged the Swiss chocolate pride.
Now, the reaction to slighting Swiss chocolate probably won’t be this bad. But if you step on the wrong toes and insinuate that Hershey’s or Cadbury or any other mass produced, non-luxury, brand of chocolate is mightier than the likes of Lindt, Läderach, Cailler, or Favarger, then you’ll be in for a detailed explanation of why you are wrong.
To understand why the Swiss are so proud of their chocolate, you have to understand that most of the fine, rich and smooth chocolate we know is thanks to Swiss ingenuity, along with a bit of luck besides.
Chocolate is up there with Switzerland’s finest creations, alongside tax evaders, holey cheese, yodelling and women called Heidi. After all, the Swiss gave us the first milk chocolate, they perfected the chocolate making processes, turning undesirable lumps of cacao into edible wonderfulness, and they even recently cooked up a brand new ‘ruby’ chocolate.
Yes, the Swiss have been at the forefront of our favourite guilty pleasure for decades and the slightest hint that you favour another country’s chocolate, particularly Belgium’s for some reason, is a sure way to find yourself uninvited from a fondue, or yodelling, party. Darn it!
The Swiss are proud of many things; such as the beauty of their country, their domination of bobsleighing at the winter Olympics and, of course, Roger Federer, the nation’s poster boy. But you certainly won’t find more pride than that which flows smooth and strong through every Swiss, like, well, a river of chocolate.