You Asked: The Swiss Chocolates Your Favorite Watch Brands Prefer
Swiss watchmakers are as particular about their chocolate as they are about their timepieces, choosing their chocolate partners with the same attention to detail as they do their horological suppliers. Watchonista goes undercover to see who is working with whom!
In the second part of our Swiss chocolate series (read Part 1 HERE), we test, taste, and uncover the favorite artisanal Swiss chocolate makers of the watch industry. See who prefers dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or chocolate-covered caramelized almonds. If you aren’t hungry now, trust me, you soon will be!
Orfève Chocolat, Geneva
Watch Brands That Love Orfève: MB&F and F.P. Journe
Orfève is the first 100% artisanal bean-to-bar chocolate maker in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Founded by François Xavier Mousin and Caroline Buechler, ex-watch industry marketeers, they underwent a radical career change in 2016. The duo makes their own chocolate in their factory in Satigny with machines they acquired from the four corners of the globe.
Their very exclusive production (they make less than 10 kg per day) uses only the best ingredients. And Orfève beans come from small family plantations chosen for the quality of their production and ethical and ecological practices. Each bar of chocolate is beautifully packaged and states the origin of all its ingredients.
Tristan Chocolatier Suisse, Perroy
Watch Brands That Love Tristan: Hublot and Audemars Piguet
One of the best-loved chocolate makers of the Swiss watch industry, Tristan started his own chocolate business after a prestigious career working for Rohr in Geneva and three Michelin star chef Frédy Girardet in Crissier. He is on the constant lookout for new products from around the world to experiment and innovate with and uses the finest ingredients he can find, such as almonds from Valencia, pistachios from the Italian town of Bronte, or green tea from the Japanese town of Masayuki to name a few.
His specialties include ginger rubies, dark and light chocolate dreams, chocolate spread, truffles, and more. In addition to his talent with chocolate, he is known for being a great guy, and each holiday season, a group of local ladies come and lend a hand packaging up the Christmas delights.
Jacot Chocolatier, Noiraigue
Watch Brands That Love Jacot: Greubel Forsey
Jacot Chocolatier was founded in Noiraigue in 1949 by Marcel Jacot, who had taken over a bakery and decided to expand it to make chocolate. Still in the same premises today – with additional shops in Fleurier, Lausanne, Manor Marin, and Neuchâtel – the master chocolatier is Blaise Descombes, who has been with the company for over 30 years.
The company’s specialties are its absinthe sticks, chocolate bars, and chocolate spread. The company also offers tasting sessions where you can learn new sensory ways to enjoy chocolate, along with paired wines.
Auer Chocolatier, Geneva
Watch Brands That Love Auer: Urwerk
Auer was founded at rue de Rive, in the heart of Geneva, in 1939 and is run today by Philippe Auer, who is the fifth generation of the family. Crafted using artisanal techniques, Auer’s chocolates, of which there are over 50 varieties, are all made by hand using the noblest raw materials. Their truffles, for example, are made using a stencil. They are first coated by hand, which enables them to be soaked with a fork. Prefabricated shells are often used to replace this savoir-faire, but the informed chocolate lover will immediately taste the difference.
For our chocolate test, we sampled one of Auer’s signature creations, the Amande Princesse. These delicious chocolates are made of roasted almonds that are caramelized, coated with milk chocolate, and then dipped in cocoa powder.
Max Chocolatier, Lucerne & Zurich
Watch Brands That Love Max Chocolatier: Chronoswiss
The story of Max Chocolatier is even sweeter than the chocolates it sells. It is a family story that starts with a little boy called Max who has Down’s Syndrome. His father, Patrick König, noticed just how happy his son was whenever he would eat chocolate, getting it all over his face. These moments of pure joy inspired him to create a chocolate company in his son’s honor and to bring a little piece of happiness to others.
Everything is made by hand using the finest ingredients from sustainable producers where possible. They love to play with flavors, and each creation is like an explosion of fireworks on the tongue. We particularly enjoyed the caramel squares with fleur de sel from Camargue and dark Grand Cru chocolate from Madagascar, the caramel squares with alpine hay, and Max’s favorite, the sticks made of raspberry jelly and shortbread.
Confiserie Minerva, La Chaux-de-Fonds
Watch Brands That Love Minerva: Chopard
The Minerva tea-room and chocolate, dessert, and cake shop is the perfect place to stop for breakfast or lunch when visiting La Chaux-de-Fonds. The Minerva team are also the artisans behind Chopard’s chocolates that anyone visiting its Baselworld stand must have tasted. The milk chocolates come in a rectangular shape, while the dark chocolates are in the form of a watch crown.
So next time you are in Switzerland to visit your favorite watch brands, maybe add a few chocolate addresses onto your itinerary and discover another aspect of Swiss culture.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel & Liam O'Donnell)