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.

Läderach chocolate

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.

Läderach chocolateAll 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?

18 Responses to “Chocolate Bark from the Alps”

  1. Lani says:

    Sardines…..

  2. Stéphanie says:

    Gravels from the Geneva lake???

  3. michele says:

    how about a fabulous watch…just kidding:)

  4. Pierre says:

    humm yummiiii !!!!
    what about a good souffle, chocolate souffle of course !

  5. Stéphanie says:

    des lingots d’or

  6. Nina says:

    Who knew there were sooooo many chocolate choices! I’ll never look at chocolate so simply again! Nina

  7. Carol Harrison says:

    Hello Kerrin
    I am so happy that your Mom forwarded your blog to me. Your photography is outstanding. I loved reading all of your travels, reviews and feel like I was right there with you tasting and seeing everything….
    I remember our trip to Paris in 1994 and reading your blog brings back wonderful memories…
    keep up the good work.
    best wishes
    Carol

  8. Marilyn Roth says:

    Hi Kerrin,

    Your photography is sensational and the articles make me want to grab my passport and jump on a plane to Europe.
    Good work!
    Marilyn

  9. Chocolate says:

    I love chocolate bark, especially swiss..Neat story:)

  10. katy says:

    Isn’t it sooo disappointing that you can find everything anywhere? Sometimes, I think I’ve reconciled this issue by acknowledging that it is the experience that matters and that can’t be found everywhere. However, I still think it sucks. Who would ever buy Italian pottery in Cleveland? It’s like cheating.

  11. katy says:

    oh, I meant to say before I got on my high horse, that I LOVE your pic of the chocolate stack!

    I was also a bit stunned at the price of (what I thought was ) my sparse bag of chocolate pieces . . .

  12. Kerrin says:

    Sardines, gravels and watches. My new shopping list for the next trip back to the US ! Thanks everyone for the ideas ! 🙂

    Katy, yes I do totally agree with you. It frustrates me to see products just about everywhere – when you think they are truly special and unique to your travels. But you are so right – it’s the experience that counts, absolutely !! Here’s a good example: We all know how in love I am with Laduree macarons. Well when I was living in NYC and heard they might have a shop in the Plaza – I was more disappointed than excited. What’s the fun of that – too easy and accessible. Takes out the excitement of going to Paris and being there — having the experience !! (But then again, for those who can not travel, I definitely see the advantages for them…)

    Oh, and thanks for your comment on the picture. I might just have to take a walk over to Bahnhofstrasse this afternoon…. and create a new stack !

  13. Randy says:

    I too found Merkur while travelling in Basil, and on my last trip (there were three) i brought home over 20 Kilos of Laderach Dark Bark Chocolate (my largest haul by far), with different varieties of nuts for my wife. Needless to say, I have created a monster in my wife, who will now only eat Laderach Dark Chocolates.

    Being an American, living in Baltimore, I am thrilled that they are importing their chocolate to the Food Emporium in NY, and very happy that I have a brother who works about 10 blocks from the Food Emporium.

    Its less risky to import fine swiss chocolate from NY to MD, then it is to carry it home from Basil to Baltimore.

  14. Kerrin says:

    Randy, so tell us – did you and your wife finish all that chocolate yet ? 😉 Wow, I am picturing a whole suitcase full ! And no problem at customs, that’s a good thing. How perfect that your brother lives so close to the Food Emporium in NY – he may start wondering how come you’re visiting him so often, haha! Thanks for sharing… Enjoy the chocolate.

  15. Karen says:

    OMG–Laderach is by far, the best chocolate I’ve ever consumed! We stumbled upon the Merkur in Zurich one day while killing some time before catching a train. My goodness, the visual first snags you and then you go in and start ordering pieces of bark and then you give them your little plastic card and they give you your chocolate! Then you eat it and it is heavenly! My advice: don’t look at the total; just enjoy. We load up on the way to the airport by getting off the train in Zurich, then catching the next one to the airport. This usually means some early-morning shopping. All worth it.

  16. Kerrin says:

    Karen, ooooh me too – I just love Läderach chocolate ! And you are so right, best to not look at the total price at the end. Because you get a “small” piece of this one, a “small” piece of that one… and before you know it, well, you have a whole lot of chocolate ! 😉 My favorite is the dark chocolate with little crunchy sweet bits of blackberry. So good. What’s your favorite ?

  17. Karen says:

    Well, Ladererach bark is good but can you find their truffles in the US? Especially the ones filled with rum? I just finished my stash from Zurich and have a new chocolate love/

  18. Kerrin says:

    Hi Karen, unfortunately I don’t think you can find Läderach at all anymore in the States – bark or truffles. They don’t have the bark at Food Emporium anymore, like they used to. And I don’t know of any other places that carry it. If you find it though, let me know. Good luck !

    Or… you’ll just have to come back to Switzerland soon ! 🙂

Leave a Reply

* Required (email address will not be published)