We all know Switzerland is known for its chocolate … amazing, rich, yummy, decadent chocolate. In this “Postcard Zurich” the female half of HI Travel Tales remembers when she got off the train in a small suburb of Zurich and, as she walked to her hotel, she thought to herself, “This place smells like chocolate.” Every breath she took, the air was filled with a smell that reminded her of the deep lusciousness of brownies baking.
Oh, we all know that warm, enveloping, deep chocolate smell in the kitchen! She stopped and looked around at the houses, lifted her head like her dog, and took a whiff. Luscious, yes, but they don’t make brownies here … or they didn’t then at least. So what was it that smells like chocolate?
She checked into her hotel, wandered around the little town of Wallisellen – about 10 minutes by tram outside of Zurich — and went back to the hotel. About 2 a.m. she was awakened in her room by that smell of chocolate again. What the?!?! And, again, the next morning after getting up, air that smells like chocolate began wafting into her room.
Brainstorm strikes! She pops open her computer and does a quick search on “Wallisellen” and “chocolate manufacturers.” Voila! She peers at the map that shows where the big Swiss chocolate plant is and … wait … she knows that street … . Jump up, pull open the curtains, and … there it is, below her, on the corner – Swiss chocolate manufacturer Chocolats Halba.
Chocolats Halba has its plant in Wallisellen. The deep smell of chocolate is indeed wonderful, but air that always smells like chocolate wears on you at all hours of the day!
One advantage though was the “Schoggi Huesli” outlet store at the plant. It was marked outside by a big painted cow statue emblazoned with the Schoggi Huesli name (Swiss for what basically means “Little Chocolate House.”) Who could imagine buying huge bags of truffles and giant bags of bars for so little in Switzerland? This outlet store was a chocolate-lover’s playground. She wandered through the shop, wanting to buy it all.
When she told her Swiss friends in the area about her experience, they laughed, then – as good Swiss — noted Halba was “cheap chocolate.” Ssssh, don’t tell them she thought it was pretty yummy.