I am in Zurich, Switzerland right now, listening to the bells of the clocktower outside ring 5:00am. I am supposed to be sound asleep, but whether it is the time change or the massive amount of chocolate I ate today I am not able to keep my eyes closed for long. I am in town for a tour of the famous Lindt chocolate factory, which is located in Kilchberg, a short 4 miles from Zurich.
We landed in Zurich today and had time to explore the area on our own. Without any maps or an idea of where I was going, I set out down the street and three bakeries immediately found me. I stopped in the first one to buy a sandwich for lunch, and picked a pretzel bread rolled out in a long, tube shape. I couldn’t see the inside of the sandwich, but figured it would be harmless enough since it looked like your average Eastern European pretzel. It turned out to be a pickle and butter sandwich, which is my worst nightmare. I hate pickles and any butter on sandwiches, so this one went straight into the trash.
At the next bakery I could see a slice of ham sticking out from a croissant, and ordered that by pointing and saying the only word I know in German — bitte (please). Of course the woman identified me as a English speaker immediately and said “Oh, you want this one.” Grateful for not having to look like a mute by just pointing at things, I immediately said yes and took the sandwich outside without asking any further questions. I was relieved to find it actually was a ham sandwich, but to my surprise it had about a cup of cream cheese filling on the inside. I see this town is certainly not health conscious! After my lunch needs had been met, I set out to explore the town without any intention of stopping in another bakery, but then I saw Confiserie Sprüngli just steps from where I was standing.
Earlier today I learned that the Lindt company name is actually Lindt & Sprüngli, so I was intrigued to see a store by a similar name. Lindt focuses exclusively on chocolates, and I was surprised to see a range of cakes, chocolates and cookies for sale in Sprüngli. Intrigued by this wide offering, I made several rounds of the store and watched what the locals were buying. I quickly realized that the main draw in the store was a batch of colorful macaroons on display in the front case.
Known here as Luxemburgerli, old women and young couples alike were filling large boxes with them to take home. They came in citron, mocha, chocolate, vanilla and many other flavors, and the different colored cookies looked beautiful packaged together in a box.
I’m usually not a fan of macaroons, but since they seemed to be the most popular choice and I could easily order a box by pointing, I opted to take home an assortment myself. After purchasing my 100 g package for 8.50 CHF, I noticed the little sticker on the top said they are best eaten immediately. They didn’t have to tell me twice, and I sat down on a bench by the lake to try one.
I ate the chocolate Luxemburgerli first, and immediately followed it with the citron and mocha. They were fantastic and I could barely stop myself from eating the entire box. The cookies melt in your mouth, leaving behind a wonderfully flavorful and sugary taste. I believe my aversion to macaroons comes from eating older ones that have hardened, and I now understand why Sprüngli recommends eating them as soon as possible. The difference is astonishing, and I am a converted macaroon fan.
Still confused why Confiserie Sprüngli was offering a range of pastries in addition to chocolates, I asked the CEO of Lindt & Sprüngli to explain. It seems that chocolate in Switzerland is a family affair, and that Confiserie Sprüngli was started by a family member of the one that started Lindt & Sprüngli. Confiserie Sprüngli uses chocolate from Lindt to make their truffles, but they are a completely different company and all products are made separately. This talent for dessert must run in the family genes, since both companies have been going strong since the 1800s and make fantastic products.
I look forward to learning more about Lindt & Sprüngli tomorrow, I just hope I can keep my eyes open during the tour.
Confiserie Sprüngli AG
8001 Zürich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 044 224 47 11