… the making of dream chocolate
“Charlie looked down at the candy bar. He ran his fingers slowly back and forth
along the length of it, stroking it lovingly, and the shiny paper wrapper
made little sharp crackly noises in the quiet room.”
This is probably the most intimate description of a chocolate experience that I ever read. It belongs to the poor boy, Charlie Bucket, the protagonist of Roald Dahl’s famous children’s story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
I love chocolate and I assume lots of people do as well, but Charlie’s admiration of this fine delicacy melts anyone’s heart: “Only once a year, on his birthday, did Charlie ever get to taste a bit of chocolate.… each time he received it, he would place it carefully in a small wooden box … and treasure it as though it were a bar of solid gold … he would allow himself only to look at it but never to touch it. Then at last … he would take a tiny nibble – just enough to allow the lovely sweet taste to spread out slowly over his tongue.”
It came as no surprise that when I first got a taste of Favarger’s hazelnut cream Nougalines, I felt like I was in Charlie’s place, anxious with anticipation
of the sweet treasure hidden inside the red wrapping, eye-savouring the treat before taking small bites just to let the taste slowly unfold itself in a fiery delight and joy. I only tasted the Nougalines once, along with the crunchy Avelines, but that’s the thing with great chocolate: the taste never leaves you, it gets stored in a “box”, just like Charlie’s, among thousands of other memories, always there to savour and remember.
From fairy-tale beginnings to world renown
The Favarger chocolate saga goes back to 1826 and it begins much like a fairy tale. Once upon a time, in a small, flourishing town by the lake there lived a young girl named Suzanne. She was the daughter of Jacques Foulquier, known in the area for his talent of making delicious chocolate. His devotion and passion towards this trade was so contagious that even Suzanne’s fiancé, who was a watchmaker, joined the family endeavour and went on to develop the company alongside Jacques. The shop in Geneva’s Quai des Etuves, now Quai des Bergues, thrived through the years, going on to delight the Genevois with its finest chocolate. In 1875, Favarger moved its premises to Versoix, just outside Geneva, and in the same year, Jacques Favarger launched the first of its milk chocolate tablets, “Les Trois Suisses”, which preceded the creation of the Avelines in 1922 and the Nougalines in the 1930s.
At the turn of the millennium, the house of Favarger witnessed the arrival of Luka Radjic, a Croatian entrepreneur, and now a major shareholder, whose investment revitalized the chocolate house, brought the company flagship boutique back to its original location and pledged to preserve Favarger’s historical links with Geneva and its tradition of quality and craftsmanship, where the new assortment of “fresh” Favarger chocolates, pralines, truffles and ganaches are finalized and presented in the most refined wrappings. A must stop for Christmas shopping. In 2004, the chocolate masters reinvented the fondue and other traditional recipes, and, in 2005, the company, in partnership with the town hall of Versoix, put together an entire chocolate festival that now attracts thousands of tourists and chocolate lovers every spring.
A world ruled by tastes
Favarger distinguishes itself not only through the superior quality of its treats, but also by the fact that all the chocolate is produced in Switzerland and the process is completely in-house. Besides the Madagascar and Bali cacao beans, the company tends to use local ingredients as much as possible, like Swiss milk and sugar.
Jean-Baptiste Maugars, Favarger’s Managing Director of Manufacture, takes pride in the company’s control over the supply process that, as he notes, starts early on with roasting the cacao beans rather than just acquiring them already prepared.
Although Favarger doesn’t mix its chocolate by waterfall like Willy Wonka did in his “Chocolate Factory”, the taste and quality of its chocolates take you back to a world ruled by tastes and dream chocolate flavours.
And if you still have doubts, see and taste for yourself at Boutique Favarger at 19 Quai des Bergues in Geneva – you might just become like Charlie Bucket, enraptured and enchanted.
Article by Helen Rocci