What makes Geneva’s chocolate so special?
Why is Geneva’s chocolate so special?
Like watchmaking, Geneva’s chocolate is an integral part of the city’s heritage. Above all, it’s a story of know-how and tradition that dates back to 1826 when the very first chocolate factory was created, which years later would become an emblem of Geneva. Let’s retrace the history of this infinitely appealing delicacy, which has made Geneva a major destination for chocolate aficionados.
Geneva’s chocolates rank among the best in Switzerland. The city is home to a number of renowned family-run and artisanal companies that have passed on their know-how from generation to generation. This history harks back to 1826, when the famous Favarger company was established, one of the first Swiss chocolate factories alongside François Louis Cailler, Philippe Suchard, and Kohler and Sprüngli. Jaques Foulquier, a well-known confectioner in Geneva at the time, fostered a burst of creativity and know-how when he decided in 1826 to make chocolate by hand. Upon his death in 1875, his son-in-law Jean-Samuel Favarger took the reins and “Chocolats Favarger” were born. At the same time, in 1818, Chocolaterie Martel was created in Carouge, becoming one of the chocolate emblems of the ancient Sardinian city.
Today, Geneva is replete with small chocolate makers and major manufacturers. Each company has its own specialities which have made their reputation for decades, both in Switzerland and abroad. It therefore comes as no surprise that Genevans are so fond of chocolate… The diversity of flavours, textures, shapes, know-how, and the guarantee of optimal quality make Geneva’s chocolate a true must. Indulge in the sweet flavours of the Pavés genevois, the crunchiness of Nougalines, the comforting Avelines, the traditional Poubelles genevoises or the exquisite Amandes princesses. Connoisseurs, foodies, and sweet tooths, give in to temptation!
Focus on the Pavés genevois
The origins of the iconic delicacy date back to 1936, when Mr. Stankovitch started to produce chocolate sweets at Confiserie Rangel in Rue de la Corraterie. The recipe for the Pavés genevois was then passed on to Hans Rohr, the founding father of today’s Rohr. The latter began producing this Geneva speciality in the same year. Today, Rohr is still the only company to produce Pavés de Genève by hand according to the original recipe. But what exactly is a pavé? Well, it’s a small chocolate cube, coated with a layer of cocoa like an icy truffle, that melts in your mouth!
Created by Hans Rohr, the Poubelles genevoises, along with the Pavés glacés, have been enhancing the company’s reputation for over 50 years. The small chocolate sweet refers to the city’s old dustbins, with bin-shaped chocolate shell containing a soft truffled heart. The dustbin remains topical since, more than fifty years later, the model still exists and is still in use in the lab in Carouge!
Avelines and Nougalines
They are one of Favarger’s flagship specialities: Nougalines consist of a crispy nougatine shell and a creamy hazelnut filling. The recipe has remained unchanged since 1932, when it was first created. Avelines, another of the chocolate maker’s signature products, are available in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and praline chocolate. They’re made by hand following a recipe developed in 1922. Its basic ingredients, such as whole Swiss milk, hazelnuts, almonds, and bourbon vanilla extract from Madagascar, give them all their typical character.
The elegance of Amandes princesses
Roasted, caramelised, and coated almonds with a milk couverture and a thin layer of cocoa… This deliciously irresistible recipe can be found at Auer in Rue de Rive in downtown Geneva. The family factory, established in 1939, is the speciality’s standard bearer. Others have since followed, including La Bonbonnière, or the artisan chocolate and pastry maker, Guillaume Bichet.
Other specialities obviously await all over the city… Milk or dark chocolate, almonds, hazelnuts, truffles… Geneva caters to all tastes, for special occasions, or for a quick treat. Indulge your sweet tooth!
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