Sweet tooth? Go visit the Lindt Home of Chocolate in Zurich, Switzerland.

A 15 minutes’ drive from south of Zurich brings me to Kilchberg where the Lindt Home of Chocolate offers a magical day! As soon as I walk in, I feel I am in Willy Wonka land of wonder. The ultramodern white edifice ascends three stories over me, with the ground floor conquered by a massive 30 ft chocolate fountain pouring over an enormous Lindt ball, and an equivalently mammoth chocolate shop! Plus, the aroma is bliss!

Akanksha’s favourite pick from the shop is the dark chocolate.

HOW IT ALL BEGAN
I have booked a guide for a one hour guided tour (INR 1855) of the museum, but you can also opt for a self-guided audio guide (INR 1210), accessible in 6 languages, and make your way through an interactional multimedia presentation commencing in the forests of Ghana. Here I learn all about how cocoa is presently grown, harvested and processed into the Lindt chocolate we know and love, while preserving sustainable, eco-responsible system and fair-Trade associations with the farmers. Next, we voyage back in time to study the saga of chocolate, which begins in Central America with the antiquated Mayans who sipped ‘xocolatl’. It was in the 15th century when this cocoa water reached Spain after the conquistador Cortés combatted the Aztecs and called it the ‘drink of the Gods’. Xocolatl was excessively bitter for European palates, so the Spanish whipped it with honey and sugar, and when French King Louis XIII wedded Spanish Princess Anne of Austria, the secret recipe was out and sipping chocolate became hugely popular in the prosperous European society. With the invention of the chocolate press in the 19th century, the method of crafting chocolate became speedier and further cost effective, permitting even the less rich to savour the sweet indulgence. And this is not the complete story yet!

Chocolate tasting fountains inside the museum.

SWITZERLAND: THE GLOBAL CAPITAL OF CHOCOLATE
The adjoining room travels ‘the Swiss Inventers’: how Switzerland became a world-wide chocolate capital. The copiousness of milk produced up in the verdant Alpine meadows is what makes Swiss chocolate delectably velvety. It was in 1875, when Daniel Peter joined hands with his Vevey neighbour, Henri Nestlé to add his baby food devised milk powder to chocolate, a milk chocolate was born! Swiss chocolatiers went on to generate brands that are still celebrated today: Daniel Peter’s Gala, Nestlé, Toblerone, Cailler, Sprüngli and Lindt, but of course! In the middle of this room is Lindt’s revolution technology -the conching machine, where chocolate is repetitively spun from side to side for up to five days, creating a much softer fineness. This allows Lindt to produce the smooth melt-in-your-mouth chocolate in the heart of Lindt balls.

Lindt Home of Chocolate Lindt Shop.

SAVOURING
Talking of delectable, after absorbing so much about chocolate, I am dying to savour some! Fortunately, Lindt: Home of Chocolate apprehends this, and the next few rooms permit guests to pamper in as much chocolate as one likes. Of course, one mustn’t be greedy! Passing through exhibits of significant packaging and prints and the moulds for the famed gold Lindt bunny, I help myself to spoonful of liquid dark, white and milk chocolate, and catch squares of diverse flavoured chocolate as they are fragmented off and released from machines. My favourite is the crunchy sea salt caramel! Last but not least is the Chocolate tasting room, where an elongated counter, holds containers of every seasoned Lindor truffles I can imagine. Once I manage to move away from the chocolate Heaven, a raised walkway brings me over to the central foyer and the chocolate fountain (read 30 feet tall, where fifteen hundred kilos of chocolate flows at the speed of 1 kilo per second) leads to a lengthy glass window where I see pilot plant machinery in all its glory, creating new products.
I am still not satiated so I head to the gigantic gift shop that bids over 500m2 of chocolatey shopping paradise. I try some handmade chocolate, and stock-up on all my favourites. Trust me, it’s certainly the nearest I could get to running excited in Willy Wonka’s workshop of sweet reveries. For those who would fancy getting hands-on, go for one of the on-site courses run by skilful chocolatiers that sanction you to make your own cocoa-based masterwork.

Akanksha Dean is an independent chef & food & travel writer, is the first Indian to have trained at Osteria Francescana, in Modena, Italy, rated as the world’s best restaurant in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, in 2016 and 2018 and currently in the Best of The Best Category.