Lindt: A Brief History

Lindt is one of the world's most famous and prestigious chocolate brands, with revenue of £3.14 billion today. Founded in 1879, in Switzerland's capital city, Bern, the brand was the result of entrepreneur Rodolphe Lindt's ambition to launch his own confectionery business.

Back in the 19th century, chocolate was different from today's melt-in-the-mouth, smooth varieties. It came in hard blocks and took more chewing, while there wasn't the variety of flavours we know and love today. The idea of manufacturing soft, smooth, luxurious chocolate hadn't been attempted.

Born in Bern in July 1855, pharmacist's son Lindt was always fascinated by how chocolate was made. In 1873, aged 18, he began working for the chocolate manufacturer, Amédée Kohler and Fils, in Lausanne. He worked there until 1879, when he had saved enough money to found his own chocolate factory in the city's Mattequartier, on the banks of the River Aare.

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© Boris-B / Shutterstock.com

 

First recipe

The old factory hall was filled with antiquated machines. While the local community was surprised at Lindt's enterprise, he wasn't discouraged by their scepticism. He began to experiment to make a new kind of soft chocolate, but nothing worked at first. His concoctions led to a white layer forming on the chocolate mass.

After it was analysed by his brother, Auguste, who realised it was harmless crystallised fat, Lindt modified the recipe and continued experimenting with different blends for chocolate - but he was no closer to achieving his aim.

Late one Friday evening, he left the factory for the weekend, but didn't turn off one of the machines. No-one knows whether he did so by accident because he was tired, or whether it was deliberate so he could find out how this would affect the chocolate-making process.

Either way, when Lindt returned to his factory on the Monday morning, he found something interesting in the stirring pot: rather than a burned mass of solid chocolate, he found a soft blend with a wonderful aroma. He was said to be the first person to experience how chocolate melted in the mouth. He was amazed and thrilled with the results.

 

Family secret

This was the start of Lindt chocolates as we know them today. The secret of the chocolate was in the manufacturing process and included stirring it for hours - even for days and nights. “Conching” remained a closely guarded secret for around 150 years, until the brand's website finally revealed the story.

However, the family recipe for the melt-in-the-mouth Lindt chocolate is something that will never be revealed. Although Lindt was one of the first manufacturers to add cocoa butter, the company remains tight lipped regarding the actual amount, the other ingredients and the exact blending process.

In 1899, Lindt sold his chocolate factory and his secret recipe to fellow chocolate manufacturer Chocolat Sprüngli AG - founded in 1845 by father and son David and Rudolf Sprüngli-Ammann, who had run a confectionery shop in Zürich under the name David Sprüngli and Son from 1836, before opening their small factory in Paradeplatz.

It was said Sprüngli paid 1.5 million Swiss francs for the recipe and marketing rights for Lindt chocolate. The company officially trades today as Chocoladefabriken Lindt and Sprüngli AG, more commonly known as Lindt.

 

Company expansion

The company has 12 factories across the world including in Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Austria and the United States. The Austrian factory in Gloggnitz manufactures under the Hofbauer and Küfferle brand, as well as Lindt.

Today, with around 14,500 employees, Lindt operates more than 410 chocolate cafés and shops across the world. The menu in the cafés focuses mainly on chocolate and desserts, but they also sell handmade chocolates, cakes, macaroons and ice-cream.

 

Sustainable business

In the current climate of businesses operating in a more eco-friendly manner, Lindt is putting the focus on sustainability throughout its supply chain. Starting with the cocoa farmers, dairy farmers and vanilla pickers and continuing right through the production process, Lindt has pledged to make sure everyone is treated fairly and practices high ethical standards.

The company has launched the Lindt and Sprüngli Farming Programme, which champions pioneering projects in in Ecuador, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, the Dominican Republic and in Ghana, where it buys a large percentage of its cocoa beans. Lindt has pledged its commitment to improving the situation of the farmers and their families, while avoiding child labour.

 

Homemade chocolate

If you fancy throwing down the gauntlet and challenging Lindt for chocolate making supremacy, there are some great recipes out there that even a beginner can try. Look online for a simple chocolates recipe and keep practicing until you get the hang of it.

Homemade chocolates are ideal as a sweet nibble for yourself, or as a gift for your friends and family. Giving someone homemade chocolates shows you really care, as you've put the time and effort into making something special and unique.

If you're a home-baker, always make sure you use the best quality catering equipment to boost your chances of success. Keep your ingredients in food-quality storage bins to keep them fresh.

Once you've made your chocolates, you will need to store them in an appropriate air-tight container. Invaluable in the kitchen, our reusable boxes are made from heavy-duty polypropylene - a durable and hygienic material that is ideal for food storage purposes.

For more details of our wide range of food preparation and storage solutions, contact Solent Plastics today on 01794 514478, email sales@solentplastics.co.uk or use our handy online contact form.

Oh, and don’t forget to send all chocolate samples to the Solent Plastics team for testing!