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Stepping into the Lindt kitchen

Posted: 17 December 2020 | | No comments yet

New Food speaks to a Lindt Maître Chocolatier to find out more about this premium chocolate brand, what high-quality looks (and sounds) like, and the rise of dark chocolate.

Lindor

For nearly 175 years, Lindt & Sprüngli has been known for its quality and superior taste. From its unassuming inception in 1845, the Master Chocolatier has grown exponentially, now offering a large selection of indulgent products in more than 120 countries.

Making Lindt chocolate

Lindt’s cocoa mixtures – the basic recipes for the unique milk, dark and white chocolates as well as its Lindor recipe – were developed by the parent company in Kilchberg. To this day, it is still responsible for this well-guarded chocolate secret.

Along with its enigmatic recipe, Lindt & Sprüngli emphasises the importance of its processes, including its patented methods for cocoa bean prep, roasting and grinding systems, and precise conching and shaping techniques.

As a global chocolate brand, the Swiss company works with a number of subsidiaries to create products that suit different geographical markets. For example, particular regions have specific varieties/additional products, such as the Matcha Lindor truffle in Japan or Peppermint in the UK.

For nearly 175 years, Lindt & Sprüngli has been known for its quality and superior taste. From its unassuming inception in 1845, the Master Chocolatier has grown exponentially, now offering a large selection of indulgent products in more than 120 countries.

Making Lindt chocolate

Lindt’s cocoa mixtures – the basic recipes for the unique milk, dark and white chocolates as well as its Lindor recipe – were developed by the parent company in Kilchberg. To this day, it is still responsible for this well-guarded chocolate secret.

Along with its enigmatic recipe, Lindt & Sprüngli emphasises the importance of its processes, including its patented methods for cocoa bean prep, roasting and grinding systems, and precise conching and shaping techniques.

As a global chocolate brand, the Swiss company works with a number of subsidiaries to create products that suit different geographical markets. For example, particular regions have specific varieties/additional products, such as the Matcha Lindor truffle in Japan or Peppermint in the UK.

Quality assurance and safety

Before the chocolate even makes its way to the chocolatier, each bean is checked multiple times through the company’s own tests, which assess quality parameters. Raw materials and semi-finished products are analysed using gas chromatography, and undergo a series of microbiological tests to ensure they are safe to consume.

Making pralines

The actual chocolate ‘innovation’ is a painstakingly delicate process; it can take up to two years before a new box of Lindt pralines finds its way onto store shelves.

Its ‘Amande de Luxe’ process, for example, begins with the creation of the almond nougat filling. Once cooled, the pralines are cut into ovals and coated with the white chocolate mass at 30°C. These are then decorated with Lindt chocolate and topped with a roasted almond that has been lightly dusted with fine sugar. The bottom of the praline is then gently dipped into dark ‘Surfin’ chocolate.

Sustainability

Sustainability is a top priority for Lindt & Sprüngli, undertaking active work to foster such development, Lindt Maître Chocolatier, Stefan Bruderer, told New Food.

“Lindt & Sprüngli is one of the few chocolate makers that produce from bean to bar – from selection of the fine cocoa varieties through to the finished product. This is one of the most fundamental criteria for a sustainable and traceable supply chain. Cocoa beans are the heart of our chocolates, so we therefore make special efforts to ensure a sustainable and socially responsible supply chain.”

Lindor salted caramel

Lindor salted caramel

In 2008 Lindt & Sprüngli established its own sustainable sourcing model in Ghana – The Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program – to improve the livelihood of cocoa farmers and their communities.

“Training and knowledge transfer help to boost crop yields, give support in income diversification and subsequently increase the income of cocoa farmers and their families. It also empowers farmers to manage their farms in accordance with sound agricultural, social, ecological and economic practices.”

The company made significant progress in Ghana, achieving a fully traceable and verified cocoa bean supply chain in 2016. The success in Ghana encouraged Lindt & Sprüngli to expand its programme to other regions where it sources beans – namely, Ecuador, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea and Dominican Republic.

“Almost 80,000 farmers are part of the Farming Program,” Bruderer said. The company is confident that by the end of 2020 it will achieve a 100 percent traceable and externally verified cocoa bean supply chain across all its countries of origin.

What makes chocolate premium?

According to Bruderer, the key to premium chocolate begins with the selection of high-quality ingredients, including a high proportion of fine flavour cocoa beans, as well as other ingredients such as hazelnuts from the Piedmont region for its Piemonte-cubes.

The chocolatiers will use all five senses to determine the quality of chocolate; all characteristics, from the texture to the sheen, make a difference. Even our sense of hearing plays an important role in quality control: high-quality, unfilled chocolate breaks with a distinctive snap. The edge of the break should also be smooth and without crumbs.

“Premium chocolate is truly an experience to be slowly savoured and appreciated,” Bruderer pointed out.

Chocolate trends

“We see a general trend towards chocolate with a high cocoa content,” Bruderer noted. “With its dark chocolate range, the Lindt Excellence brand is perfectly catering to these needs. Just recently, we have extended the line with three Lindt Excellence Milk Chocolate tablets, with 45, 55 and 65 percent cocoa.”

According to Bruderer, indulgence is still one of the most important things driving consumer behaviour and is of particular relevance in the chocolate sector. “With variety in taste and texture, chocolate delights all your senses and is one of the most accessible pleasures for all ages!”

He continued: “As a premium chocolate manufacturer, Lindt & Sprüngli is constantly observing new trends and changes in consumer demand or behaviour. However, for all innovation, our Lindt Master Chocolatiers and their research and development teams strictly follow our commitment to high-quality ingredients and do not compromise on taste.”

The actual chocolate ‘innovation’ is a painstakingly delicate process.

Lindt & Sprüngli takes account of the varying consumer expectations across the globe, as it recognises that chocolate preferences alter between countries, in terms of type (white, milk, dark), flavours and formats. In the UK, for example, caramel, orange and mint are firm favourites.

Traditionally, the UK has been a milk chocolate dominated market, but recent years have seen strong growth in dark chocolate sales. People who are buying Lindt Excellence Bars are driven by a desire for intense chocolate flavour. Moreover, the recent trend for at-home baking has helped fuel this demand, Bruderer explained.

In the UK, Lindt & Sprüngli is increasingly seeing a trend towards more premium brands – particularly at Christmas.

“Many of the tablets in this [dark chocolate] range are also suitable for a vegan lifestyle, which is itself a new trend that many consumers are following.”

Responding to this demand, Lindt recently launched three new vegan alternatives (Cookie, Hazelnut and Salted Caramel) to milk chocolate in Germany. Its HELLO Vegan range completely replaces milk with an oat drink.

“HELLO Vegan doesn’t only convince as per taste, but also in terms of sustainable packaging as it relies on resource-saving grass cardboard,” Bruderer continued. “Due to the low logistical effort and the purely mechanical processing, large portions of CO2 emissions can be saved compared to the processing of wood pulp. Grassboard is 100 percent recyclable.”Lindor assorted tin

Commenting on where all the new ideas come from, Bruderer said: “Lindt & Sprüngli is a leader in chocolate innovation and is passionate about developing new products. To keep up with increased demand for premium chocolate, the Lindt Master Chocolatiers continually track consumer preferences and research and develop new products. But they are also inspired by interesting dishes, or locations such as local markets in foreign countries.”

Classic flavours with a twist are an ever-popular trend in the chocolate industry, Bruderer added. “Our recent launch of Salted Caramel on the Lindor brand has been a huge success,” he said. “The combination of our smooth melting milk chocolate with salt crystals and an irresistibly smooth melting caramel filling has been a particular hit with the UK consumer.

“Innovation is driven by consumer needs (for me, for us, for them).”

He offered an example: “For this Christmas, we have launched the Lindor Assorted Tin in the UK presented in a delightful festive keepsake container: it includes 32 individually wrapped LINDOR truffles in six varieties. The festive season is a time for giving and/or sharing with our loved ones.” The brand has also launched a new Teddy Advent calendar 3D shape to bring some excitement for little ones as they count down to Christmas Day.

In terms of the future, the brand remained elusive. “There are many secrets in the parlour, waiting to be revealed – so stay tuned,” he teased.
New Food attempted to pry a few more details from Lindt & Sprüngli as to what’s to come but to no avail; we suppose after nearly 175 years it’s worth holding on to those secrets a little longer… 

Biography

Stefan BrudererStefan Bruderer has been a genuine fan of chocolate since early childhood. At the age of 16, he started his training to be a pâtissier with a focus on chocolate. He then studied food technology and innovation management at a later date. He has been one of the world-famous Lindt Master Chocolatiers for nine years and works on new Lindt & Sprüngli creations at the Lindt & Sprüngli headquarters in Klichberg.

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