I believe Maison Cailler is one of the most popular museums and tourist attractions in Switzerland. Not surprising as Swiss chocolates are hard to resist for most people.  Thankfully its popularity means Maison Cailler opens everyday of the year, with the exception on Christmas and New Year’s Days. So we picked a Monday to go there with our annual museums pass, as many other museums in the area are closed on Mondays.

Monday morning was definitely the time to go as there was no queue, and we were assigned a group to start within minutes. Which turned out a bit too short as we still had to get a locker to leave our stuff in and passed the restroom, but we made it on time.

We were given audio guides that we could listen to through the speaker, just like a phone. They came in several different languages, I chose English and my kiddos French.

We departed as a small group of around 10, that walked from room to room where we were introduced to the history of chocolate from the Aztec period, the discovery of chocolate by the Europeans, until we finally ended up in the modern era.

We had to use the audio guide all the time in these rooms to follow the story. My kids (5.5y and 8.5y) enjoyed it, but younger children may feel afraid as the rooms were mostly dark. Later on, the audio guide could be used as needed to get information in the large interactive room, where they displayed the ingredients and suppliers for the chocolate factory. We had to scan the audio guide to start the information, for example when we wanted to hear more about the lovely Gwendoline in the photo below.

We had fun this room as we could learn things by looking and hearing, touching…

smelling…

and tasting. (My kids didn’t like the taste of the cocoa beans, btw)

We then followed a behind-glass-wall demo showing the sequence of production of Cailler’s “Branches” chocolate sticks, from when the melted chocolate was poured all the way until they were wrapped. Of course there were testers to grab at the end of the demo.

In the next area, we learned how to be a chocolate tester. At first my daughter was keen to follow the steps, but minutes later she decided she didn’t want to be a tester as it took too long to analyze everything . She preferred to immediately put them in her mouth!

At the almost end of the tour, we arrived in the testing area, where there were as much chocolate as one could shove in one’s mouth. They were all from Cailler’s brands of course, so if you couldn’t get enough then, you could buy them to bring home.

Now, it may sound odd to you, but honestly I don’t really like mass produced chocolate (I really like artisanal chocolate from Blondel btw). Thankfully, as expected, my kiddos love almost all kinds of chocolate. They tried perhaps 2/3 of the varieties available so that I could share a tiny bite of their chocolate. I wasn’t impressed by the taste, but it’s probably just me and my uncommon taste buds! The other visitors seemed to enjoy their tasting very much.

Almost at the exit, there was a big screen where we made two souvenir photos that were sent directly to my email. This is how I look on the photo. Not very convincing, but I take it 🙂

We enjoyed this museums a lot. The stories at the beginning of the tour was well made and the audio guides worked really well. I especially like the area where we could touch/smell/taste the ingredients, and I believe the children learned a lot too. We spent a little more than an hour from start to finish.

Finally some tips:

  • You can combine your visit with a chocolate workshop. There are many kinds to choose from. Prices are reasonable and museum visit is included.
  • While there is a museum shop that sells loads of chocolate, a Nestlé shop (which some said to have cheaper products) is located not far from the museum, almost next to the Broc-Fabrique train station.
  • There was a nice playground in front of the museum – very important during those days when the museum has too many visitors (waiting time can last as long as 2.5 hours)
  • It’s possible to go there with trains (station “Broc-Fabrique”), and we did it this way. It took significantly longer than by car, due to waiting time when switching trains but the view was very nice
  • Whether you come by car or train, the scenic town Gruyère is close by and worth a visit (there is also the cheese museum La Maison du Gruyère that I will blog about soon)

…..

Maison Cailler
La Chocolaterie Suisse
Rue Jules Bellet 7
1636 Broc
Telephone: + 41 (0)26 921 59 60

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