From bean to chocolate
Where does our cacao come from? How is the chocolate produced? What is special about the Läderach chocolate?
Cocoa grows around the equator mainly in West Africa as well as in Central and South America. The colorful pods grow directly at the trunk or stronger branches of the tree. The pod is cut from the tree by razor-sharp blades, mostly on long wooden sticks, twice a year – by hand.
2. Slice open
Two or three hard hits are needed to open the pod with a machete. The beans inside are surrounded by a white, jelly-like, sweet and sour pulp as with a lychee. The beans inside will be removed immediately and collected in separate pots.
The fermentation process lasts about 4 to 8 days during which the cocoa beans develop their unique flavor and bad odors vanish. Fermentation varies depending on the bean type, Forastero beans require about 5 days and Criollo beans 2-3 days.
Cocoa beans are dried after fermentation in order to reduce the moisture content from about 60% to about 7.5%. Drying must be carried out carefully to ensure that off-flavors are not developed. The beans are sun-dried in the open air either on the ground or low tables.
5. Fill up
Once dried, the beans are checked once more on their quality, sorted by quality and size and filled into jute sacks for Läderach to be sent on their long journey to Switzerland …
1. Quality Control
Arriving at Läderach in Switzerland, the quality of our beans is thoroughly checked and examined by ourselves in Bilten, Glarus. Each delivery is checked in our laboratory to ensure best quality for our Läderach chocolate.
The jute sacks are cut open, and the cocoa beans pass through a multi-stage washing system. You would be astonished what we discover thanks to this process: dust, sand, bits of metal or shells are harmless examples.
3. Peeling & Re-use
Thanks to the heat of an infrared drum, the shell of the cocoa bean can be cracked more easily. With regards to sustainability we gather the cocoa bean shells and hand it over to local farmers since they are a perfect fertilizer.
After the peeling the beans will be crushed into little pieces – the so called nibs. Nibs are small fragments of raw cocoa, which are then ground to obtain cocoa mass. You can taste chocolate flavor if you eat them.
What is the perfect roasting? Same as with coffee the perfect roasting is the most challenging part for a Swiss chocolatier and one of our core competencies. By gently roasting the nibs, the cocoa beans’ fine aromas are released.
A beater blade mill breaks the nibs’ cell structure. Cocoa butter is released. The warmth, the cocoa butter and the broken nibs’ cell structure together produce a liquid cocoa mass. Try it once you have the opportunity. A bitter, but astonishing experience.
The ingredients for a basic chocolate are mixed together into a homogenous mass in a batch mixer. The exact quantity ratio is a well-kept Läderach secret – and is what gives our products their excellent flavor.
Passing a fine 5-roller mill, the chocolate gets finer and finer. Funny enough, the cacao pastry goes upwards from roll to roll. At the end, the chocolate turns into a flaky powder.
The fine chocolate powder is filled into the conche. This is the last and most important step in the manufacture of Läderach chocolate. In the conche, the powder is thoroughly kneaded and mixed together with cocoa butter. This removes any unwanted bitter and tart notes from the chocolate and creates the real pleasure that is Läderach chocolate…
10. Getting Best Swiss Chocolate
Finally, we now created chocolate or so-called “couverture”. Everything is now ready to add nuts, berries, honey and others of our best ingredients to get our original FrischSchoggiTM or one of our Easter bunnies or truffels.
By tempering, the Läderach chocolatier heats the chocolate and cools it down again. This process enables a cell structures that results in a cracking, shiny chocolate. Signs of high quality of chocolate.
Now the moment has come to add our tasty ingredients. The caramelized Piemond hazelnuts or marzipan, cream etc. are mixed to delicious, delighting fillings for pralines or truffles.
3. Hollow shells - invented by Läderach
Rudolf Läderach jr. invented in 1970 the hollow truffle shell and had it patented. So far chocolatiers needed to roll the chocolate to balls. See more on Our Story
Once the hollow truffle shell is filled by a tasteful, soft cream, it will be covered by chocolate again. Different methods lead to a wide variety of looks and desings. Best would be you try out our truffles by yourself.
5. Cleo - our Easter Bunny
Cleo is one of the Läderach original Easter bunnies. Many hands work on an Easter bunny like this. Drawing eyes or binding ribbons around the neck – all made by hand. Authentic Swiss chocolate handcraft for our chocolate loving customers like you! Enjoy!