by Jonell Galloway
The best chocolate is indisputably to be found in Switzerland, and I would guess Geneva has the highest concentration of high-quality, original Easter chocolates, so I thought I’d give you a little help in finding the perfect chocolate for your needs.
There is much discussion among natives of Geneva as to which is best, but purist that I am, no matter how many chocolate shops I try, I always come back to the same one: Chocolaterie Auer, located downtown in the main tram street.
They offer the traditional dark, milk and white chocolate bunnies and eggs, and even if their creations are perhaps not as aesthetically original as some others, the quality of the chocolate cannot be rivaled. There’s nothing like chocolate made straight from the bean. Industrial cocoa powder just doesn’t cut it in my book.
(While you’re buying your gifts, you might want to pick up one of their divine chocolate macaroons and a package of their not-so-fattening chocolate-covered almonds for yourself …)
Nearby, Chocolats Rohr produces some smashingly beautiful Easter bunnies and eggs made of top-quality chocolate.
La Bonbonnière, across from the Fnac, also does good-quality chocolate “works of art”, including chocolate fountains and a wide range of Easter themes. Their chocolate pignons are as light as angel wings.
At the other end of the street, Gilles Desplanches offers a wide variety of original figures and mixtures of flavors, as well as the traditional dark, milk and white chocolate, with an extended range of eggs (some topped with dinosaurs and other interesting figures that children will love), as well as bunnies, fish, chicks, etc.
When I discovered Chocolaterie-Confiserie Christophe Berger a few years ago, the man took my heart away. He’s always coming up with new combinations: dark chocolate with figs or slivers of crunchy candied ginger; every visit brings another surprise. For Easter, he keeps to the traditional, but then Easter is a traditional occasion, isn’t it? His pastries and cakes are also of excellent quality and really worth a try, although since the shop is small, he can’t keep many in stock, so it’s best to order a few days ahead of time. And please don’t let the shabby awning put you off. There’s nothing shabby about his products!
Today I tasted a single piece of dark chocolate from Les Ephémères in Lausanne and would like to taste more. Their website shows some exquisite fine-lace chocolate eggs, some highly original flavored truffles, including absinthe and ginger, wild strawberry, and coconut and vanilla, as well as organic chocolate. This is definitely a place to check out. The organic chocolate is also available at Bio Servette in Geneva.
If you’re buying gifts for adults, you may want to steer away from the bunnies and eggs. The After the Rain spa offers chocolate baths and wraps followed by a Turkish bath for couples. All year long, Gilles Desplanches’ chocolate bar proffers up rich hot chocolate that can rival Angelina’s in Paris, as well as cold chocolate. There’s a flavor for everyone because the choice is large: salted-butter caramel, white nougat, wild mint, coconut, amaretto, Cayenne pepper and Tabasco, orange and cinnamon. We’re not talking about powdered cocoa to which you add hot water, but the “black gold” variety.
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4 rue de Rive
3 place du Molard
11 rue de Rive
2 rue de la Confédération
16 avenue Henri-Dunant
46 chemin du Couchant
3 Route de Meyrin
After the Rain Spa
4 Passage des Lion
- If you’re buying gifts, it’s wise to know whether the receiver prefers dark, milk or white chocolate. People have strong opinions and well-defined tastes when it comes to chocolate.
- All these chocolates are completely artisanal so they must be handled with care. Never put chocolate in the refrigerator, near a radiator or in the sunlight, and buy it as close as possible to the date it is to be given or eaten. Do not store near chemicals or cleaning products, or strong-smelling foods such as onions and garlic.
- Chocolate should ideally be stored in a cool, dry place at 18° C (65° F) with 50% humidity.