My favourite chocolate quote (attributed to cartoonist Terry Moore) says: "The 12-step chocoholics program: Never be more than 12 steps away from chocolate." I think this is a very sensible program. In Zurich you could probably find a place to buy chocolate at least every 12 steps. A theory I have not tested (yet) but if I picture myself on a walk home from the office I could stop by Vollenweider at the Opera House then hop over to Läderach at Stadelhofen and jump across Stadelhoferplatz to Sprüngli. These are all bigger names on the chocolate scene and I was very excited to receive an invitation to visit the "new kid on the block" before the official opening of their own Zurich store: Max Chocolatier. I discovered this boutique chocolate maker last spring and have been a fan ever since. They have great products in oh so pretty packaging (see pics below). When I visited their Brand Associate Ursina Stauber at the new shop today I was really impressed with the clean but warm and very stylish look of the place as well as the brand history and philosophy she passionately relayed to me. What impresses me about Max Chocolatier is their passion for handmade chocolates and their willingness not to compromise when it comes to the quality of their chocolates. This clearly shows in their products and I really recommend that you pay their store a visit if you are in Zurich (or Lucerne). Customers will be able to taste most of the products in store.
Of course, quality comes with a price and for the price of one Max Chocolatier praline you could probably get 2, 3 or even 4 mass produced pralines, two chocolate bars or 4 Cadbury Flakes (love them, too, for nostalgic reasons). As far as I'm concerned I happily support a small manufacturer that makes everything by hand, uses fair trade cocoa, locally sourced products and supports local suppliers. These are not chocolates to gobble up by the pound while sitting at the work desk because of a three o'clock sugar low, surely. They are, however, perfect for a quiet moment with a cup of fine tea or a glass of red wine when you want to indulge yourself or a loved one.
I also admire Max Chocolatier for pursuing their dream of perfect chocolate and at the same time trying to preserve craftsmanship and the know-how of a business with a very long tradition in Switzerland. Max Chocolatier have now been in business for 6 years and I really wish them lots of success with their venture and in particular with their new Zurich shop.
I love Nigel Slater's books almost (but not quite) as much as chocolate. Yesterday I lost myself in Tender Vol. II and read that he prefers hand pricking sloes one by one to speeding the process up by freezing and smashing the fruit in bulk. Ursina describing the chocolate making and packaging process at Max Chocolatier reminded me so much of Nigel Slater's description of sloe pricking and that he finds it "odd and somehow sad that even the calmest and most ancient of kitchen pleasures had to be reduced to something to be done and dusted as quickly as making a pot noodle". It takes Max Chocolatier 3 days to make a praline. Think of the love and dedication that goes into that product...
Your chance to win a CHF 25.- voucher!
Max Chocolatier pralines are certainly no quick fix pot noodle and if you leave me a - preferably nice and appreciative - comment below or write me an e-mail/dm on Twitter or Instagram by Sunday, 18th October, midnight, you can win one of three CHF 25.- Max Chocolatier gift vouchers*.
From Claudia with LOVE!
*Transparency notice: This post is not a sponsored post and I fully paid for the vouchers myself.