After La Maison du Gruyère, we visited La Maison Cailler, Nestlé’s chocolate production site in Switzerland. They also have factories in York, U.K. The history of chocolate in Nestlé begins at the end of the 17th century and is relatively long and somewhat complicated, but the tour cleanly summed up the story, explaining the five “founding fathers” of the Nestlé chocolate production (François-Louis Cailler, Daniel Peter, Charles-Amédée Kohler, Alexandre-Louis Cailler, and Nestlé). You can read through the timeline and explore Cailler history yourself here if you wish.
I also had the pleasure of visiting Nestlé headquarters in Vevey earlier in the week, and I got to see how broad of a reach Nestlé has across the world in food production and healthcare. I was most surprised by not only how many companies Nestlé owns and the number of products they are responsible for, but also their significant role in bringing nutrition and food safety to developing countries.
But back to chocolate. Nestlé produces all of their own chocolate, sourcing from locations all around the world for each ingredient (cacao beans, Madagascar vanilla, US almonds and pistachios, etc).
We went on the standard tour of the factory, which does not actually show the true chocolate production, but apparently that area is fairly difficult to get into. The demonstration tour was pretty neat, however, and we got to eat a bunch of chocolate at the end. We watched the production of Cailler Branche L’Originale, Cailler chocolate branches melted into a little “milk bun”.
We also got to sample many of the Cailler pralines at the end. I found out that you can, in fact, eat too much chocolate in one sitting.
Visiting both La Maison Cailler and headquarters was a fantastic experience. Thanks to all of the cheerful employees I met, from friendly factory workers and multi-lingual cashiers to encouraging chefs and dutiful corporate employees, for your hard work and kindness.