Chocolate Bark from the Alps
With a trip planned to New York to visit family and friends, the question arose: what to bring back from Zürich? Images of the Swiss flag emblazoned on t-shirts, coffee mugs, baseball caps and umbrellas flooded my mind. Too obvious. So was chocolate. But then again, who wouldn’t be happy with Swiss chocolate? I couldn’t exactly bring back Toblerone bars or packages of Lindt, as Americans can find the former even at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and the latter in shops across the country.
A local told me to visit the chocolate shop, Merkur, on Bahnhofstrasse, Zürich’s answer to Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue or Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive. As I approached the shop and saw the window filled with piles of large, thick sheets of chocolate – dark, milk and white, with varying ingredients like nuts and dried fruits – I knew my search was over.
What I was staring at through the glass window was Läderach chocolate bark. The chocolate appeared to be of high quality, in very attractive packaging and as I learned, made in a factory located among the Glarner Alps here in Switzerland. I bought an assortment of all the different flavored barks: milk chocolate with hazelnuts, dark chocolate with cacao nibs, white chocolate with almonds and pistachios, milk chocolate with dried cranberries, milk chocolate with cornflakes, and a few other flavors as well. Needless to say, it was a big hit with my family – chocolate brought all the way back from Switzerland! Some of the bark even had little images of a snow-capped mountain on it. Nice touch.
All was good until… shopping at Food Emporium with my mother on 3rd Avenue in New York City. What did they have? Läderach chocolate bark! More on this unexpected find at such a surprising location soon….
For now, back to the drawing board. I’m home in Zürich, with plenty of time to plot my next purchase for a future trip overseas! And so I ask, what can I bring back that is ultimately Swiss and can not be found on the other side of the Atlantic — that will not have me arrested at customs!? Aha, not as easy now, is it?