Chocolate isn’t my biggest temptation; I don’t naturally crave it. If you stacked up the finest chocolates next to the finest of cheeses, I would choose the cheese, hands-down, every time. However, today’s experience might have changed that!
Day two in Lucerne began with our morning chocolate class and tasting at Max Chocolatier. This is a family-owned operation with a wonderful origin story (more on that in a minute). They are a relatively small operation, with only two shops in Lucerne and one in Zurich. Maria, our host, shared information about their operation, sustainability principles, as well as details about the specific cacao beans they use. One of their beans is from Madagascar and they are the only chocolatier in this region with access to this particular bean.
After Maria demonstrated their techniques, we made our own custom chocolate bars, selecting from a variety of toppings. Among the five of us, two chose white chocolate, two chose milk chocolate, and one dark chocolate.
We then took a tour of their facility and learned more about the tempering process, as well as the layering process in making truffles. Max Chocolatier makes all of its chocolates by hand and their finished products are simple and beautiful.
We ended with a tasting in the gorgeous lounge area, where we learned about their unique flavor combinations. Max also creates seasonal chocolates that are only available for that specific season, and they typically don’t replicate previous flavors. To date, they have created and sold more than 200 flavors!
Like wine, you should alway start your tasting with the mildest varieties and work your way up to the darkest, richest chocolates. Our first tasting was a white chocolate with crushed red rose wafer, followed by a layered wafer of milk and dark chocolate and caramel. We then tasted a caramel and lavender milk chocolate truffle, and our favorite – the “morning sun tea,” a green tea milk chocolate truffle. INCREDIBLE. We finished with their signature Madagascar 68% dark truffle.
And now for their origin story. Peter König, the shop’s owner, traveled internationally for business and would bring home chocolates from around the world. He noticed how much his son, Max, loved these surprises. Max – who has Downs Syndrome – was often spotted with chocolate traces on the corners of his mouth. From Max’s intense love of chocolates, Max Chocolatier was born! In 2009, they found an available space on the edge of Old Town in Lucerne, hired a world-renowned chocolatier to help them launch their brand, and the rest is history. To this day, Max is considered the owner of the business!
Their logo, the “X in “Max,” symbolizes both the cacao bean and the extra chromosome found in Downs Syndrome individuals – an homage to Max. If you visit Lucerne, you MUST visit Max Chocolatier (and book their tasting). You won’t be disappointed.
For our afternoon, we took the ferry across Vierwaldstattersee (Lake Lucerne) to the Swiss Museum of Transport. The museum documents the history of Swiss transportation, including trains, automobiles, ships, and aircraft. There are several interactive exhibits and many historical aircraft on display.
We have been in Switzerland for seven days and yet we haven’t had fondue…until tonight! We opted for a traditional cheese fondue with bread and potatoes as a starter. How in the world do these people eat like this all day, every day?! That was more than enough for a meal…and then the “main courses” came. Thank goodness we’ve walked our feet off every single day!
Tomorrow we leave beautiful Lucerne and head to Zurich for a short visit. Becca flies home tomorrow as she’s in a college friend’s wedding this weekend in Austin. Bis später, Fräulein Becca!