World Chocolate Day
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"Dear I think you're just as sweet as you can be You're like a cake of sweet Swiss chocolate to me." ~ George & Ira Gershwin, Swiss Miss
Switzerland is particularly renowned for its chocolate, especially its milk chocolate. In 1875, a Swiss confectioner, Daniel Peter, developed the first solid milk chocolate using condensed milk, which had been invented by Henri Nestlé, who was Peter's neighbour in Vevey. A few years after in 1879, Rodolphe Lindt perfected the conching machine (a special chocolate polisher, mixer and agitator which improves the quality, texture, and flavor) after a happy accident which left one of his mixing machine on overnight, yielding a flavorful smooth mixture which ultimately allowed chocolate to be utilized in confectionery, rather than just as a gritty hot beverage flavouring. Prior to that, the gritty solid chocolate was not popular!
While everyone has their favourite chocolate, Swiss Chocolate remains one of the world's most lauded. We salute this chocolate in dance on World Chocolate Day, July 7.
One well known Swiss chocolate variety, Lindt, is named for Rodolphe Lindt.
Born in 1855 in Berne, Switzerland, his association with chocolate began when he became an apprentice to a confectioner. After finishing his apprenticeship, during the 1870’s, he decided to establish his own chocolate factory in Berne.
Using the established chocolate production methods, he soon found scope for improvement. The hard press of dried cocoa cakes caused a “whitish” coating that repelled customers. The chocolate also had a rough texture in the mouth with a bitter taste. The entire process also involved much back-breaking human labor.
With his pharmacist brother August, they found out that the whitish coating was caused by too much water and adding cocoa butter was the solution to give the chocolate a smoother mouth feel.
The result of their research resulted in development of a new type of mixing machine and process called "conching."
Next Lindt set about finding the perfect chocolate recipe for his company. One weekend. Lindt left the factory without turning off the conche machine. After three days, upon his return, Lindt discovered that the chocolate in the conche was smooth and easy to mold. He dubbed his product "chocolat fondant."
Today Switzerland has the highest per capita rate of chocolate consumption worldwide (25.6 lbs. per capita per annum).
For more on the science of creating perfect chocolate, click the assortment below.