One of my favorite books *ever* is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. For those of you not familiar with this classic children’s book, let me be the first to say… I’m sorry. I’m sorry you never had the privilege of reading this book and experiencing the magic of Charlie, Willy Wonka and the Oompa Loompas first-hand. Your childhood would have been much better for knowing.
I dreamed of such a place… an enchanted (and psychedelic) wonderland… with a nut room, a fudge room, a chocolate egg sorting room, a bubble room and… the chocolate room… with its edible candy mushrooms, lollipops, candy canes and the river of molten chocolate.
Such a please could not exist, I thought…
But it does.
I was lucky enough to visit Maison Cailler with my husband and parents last fall. It was magic from start to finish. Walking up to the grand facade, I felt just like Charlie Bucket walking up to those Wonka factory gates…
We had heard that they give tours of the factory, but we had no idea what we were in for. We were escorted down a long hallway, and then ushered into a darkened elevator. Our guide waved good-bye and then the doors shut. Total darkness. Then the elevator began its descent… We laughed, out of nervousness, unsure of what was ahead…
The doors opened and we were transported to an Aztec cocoa ceremony… with smoke and lights and the aroma of roasting cocao beans wafting through the air.
The history of chocolate tour continued… through a series of rooms with secret passageways and animated sets… Every door revealing a secret.
Every room a new adventure.
The tour ends in the tasting room… where all Maison Cailler chocolates are on display, and you can sample as many as you like.
We all left with a stomach ache and we all declared that we were not going to eat chocolate again for a very long time. …And then we bought loads more chocolate in the well-stocked gift shop.
If you are in Europe, I suggest going to Switzerland. And if you are in Switzerland, I highly recommend going to the canton of Fribourg. And if you are in Fribourg, then you may as well head on over to Broc-Fabrique. And if you are in Broc-Fabrique, you would be INSANE not to visit the Maison Cailler chocolate factory.
Sometimes, when I imagine heaven… I think it might be a lot like Maison Cailler. And then I try my very hardest to be very, very good.