When one thinks of Switzerland, chocolate is one thing that comes to mind. There is a whole lot of milk chocolate flowing through the veins of the Swiss. But it isn’t all milk chocolate from big companies such as Nestle that are available here. There are some jewels and the shiniest perhaps of all of them is Max Chocolatier.
Patrik and Hilda Konig own a watch store in Lucern. When the store next to theirs closed down he took the opportunity to take over the space and open up a chocolate shop. With all of the industrial chocolate in Switzerland there really wasn’t a lot of handmade chocolate being made and Patrik wanted to change that. He collected the best ingredients from around the world, collaborated with some extremely talented young chocolatiers and started making chocolate…very good chocolate. The company is named after his son, Max.
The Max’s hot chocolate is so much fun and beautiful. It is a little chocolate pod made out of 70% chocolate. When you crack open the pod there is a bit of extra chocolate inside. It has a very subtle mellow but beautiful feel to it when you sip it, a bit like Lucern perhaps. They have one dark and also one infused with cardamom which, in my mind, is always a good idea, and a 38% milk chocolate because we are, after all, in Switzerland. Each pod will cost you CHF 6.80 and is enough for one person. But be care if you buy this to go, they crack relatively easily.
You can’t drink the hot chocolate in store unfortunately (I did beg a little, but no luck). You can however buy a box full of their beautiful truffles or their plattli which are thin chocolate squares filled with different flavours. These change based on the seasons. In the summer it was Tahiti vanilla & fleur de sel, raspberry, alpine hay (yes) and cassis & violets. Their stores are small but beautifully laid out (thanks to Hilda it seems).
There are a few locations luckily. One is in beautiful Lucern, right on the water in the centre of town. The other is in the winding pedestrian lanes in Zurich. If you are visiting Lucern the train station is right in the centre of town. Walk towards the lake to take a view of the majestic Alps or even take a boat trip. Walk towards the river and cross the famous Chapel Bridge, a covered wooden footbridge that has paintings inside that date back to the 17th century and is the world’s oldest wooden bridge. There are several bars and cafes along the riverbanks where you can sit and take the sun with a glass of wine or a beer. Buy roasted chestnuts at one of the corner stalls and wonder through the old town. Make sure you look up every once in a while. The buildings are beautiful and there are quite a few murals. Or walk up to Café de Ville for a seat on the terrace with views across the lake. Apparently they will soon be serving Max hot chocolates here.
Verdict: There are a lot of chocolate shops in Switzerland, but this is the one I’d recommend you start and finish at. A highlight of my trip to Swizerland. Max Chocolatier, Schweizerhofquai 2, Lucern, Switzerland