Located on Regent Street and in the Westfield Shopping Centre at London's White City is a chocolate shop that looks more like a technology store from the outside. Expansive glazing allows you to peer through to see immaculately displayed products behind a sea of giant chocolate slabs.
Läderach delivers a slice of Swiss chocolate culture to Londoners, with massive slabs of chocolate ("FrischSchoggi") displayed in the shop window, and all sorts of chocolate confections lining the shelves inside.
The brand, with over 100 stores spanning 13 countries, produces over 20 core varieties of FrischSchoggi in Switzerland, with seasonal and limited edition options cropping up now and again, such as gingerbread at Christmas.
Läderach kindly gave me a small pouch to sample, so join with me as I take a bite into fresh Alpine chocolate.
Läderach's small pouch of FrischSchoggi is bagged in a clear plastic wrapper, sealed with a brown ribbon bow, with raised "Chocolatier Suisse" printed on it in a gold colour. While the presentation is very simple, the bow adds a certain elegance. A Läderach logo sticker sits to the bottom right.
A little folded card hangs from the neck of the bag, explaining that this is "the original fresh chocolate from Switzerland" and that it really ought to be consumed as soon as possible for the best quality.
The rear of the bag contains a sticker, documenting the ingredients and nutritional information in both English and German. This is partly as the distributor is Läderach's German arm. Fear not though, as this chocolate is made in Switzerland.
Läderach FrischSchoggi Small Pouch ingredients:
Sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa paste, whole milk powder, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, skimmed milk powder, cranberries, butter, glucose, oranges, cream, fructose, apples, emulsifier (soya lecithin, E322), orange peel, blackberries, vegetable oils (rapeseed, sunflower), glucose syrup, natural flavour, raspberries, whey, pineapple, maltodextrin, acidifier (E330), natural flavouring substances, flavouring, sea salt, barley malt, salt, cocoa powder, gelling agent (E401), honey, stabilizer (E341), colouring (E100). Cocoa solids: 36% minimum (milk chocolate; white chocolate); 56% minimum (dark chocolate).
As the assorted chocolate in the Läderach FrischSchoggi Small Pouches varies depending upon production, these ingredients will vary. On average, the sugar levels come in at around 44.5%. The chocolate slabs in this bag may contain egg, gluten, and nut ingredients, or traces of such ingredients.
The best before date spans around three weeks, which is the latest date that Läderach recommends you devour this 250g bag of chocolate.
Läderach FrischSchoggi Small Pouch Review
A 250g bag yields around ten pieces of FrischSchoggi Swiss chocolate in assorted flavours. The slabs are approximately cut into 25g rectangular portions.
Flavours vary, but as you can see from my slabs below, there's a keen focus on milk chocolate as a base and the addition of nuts, including Piedmontese hazelnuts and pistachios.
The reverse of each slab carries the Läderach logo, although the bottoms of these chocolate bars appear scuffed as they have rubbed against the tops of the slabs beneath them during transit. It's not something that can be helped in this packaging format, though.
So, what do we have here in terms of flavours? Well, there's no menu card, so I had to employ some top chocolate sleuthing. I suspect the flavours vary too much to produce a menu card, but it'd be nice to see even just a couple of the core flagship varieties listed in the card tag affixed to the bag.
Here's what I reckon was in my pouch, from top to bottom:
- FrischSchoggi Florentine Milk - Milk chocolate capped with almond Florentine.
- FrischSchoggi Cranberry Milk - Milk chocolate with whole dried cranberries.
- FrischSchoggi Raspberry-Blackberry White - White chocolate mixed with raspberry and blackberry pieces.
- FrischSchoggi Blackberry Dark - Dark chocolate with dried blackberries.
- FrischSchoggi Caramel Salé Milk-Dark - Caramel, milk and dark chocolates combined, with crunchy caramel pieces and sea salt and decorated with caramelised white chocolate.
- FrischSchoggi Hazelnut Milk - Milk chocolate with roasted caramelised hazelnuts.
- FrischSchoggi Almond Dark -Dark chocolate with roasted caramelised almonds.
- FrischSchoggi Nut-Trio Milk-Dark - Dark and milk chocolate blended with roasted caramelised hazelnuts, almonds, and roasted pistachios.
- FrischSchoggi Mixed Fruit White - White chocolate combined with pistachios, caramelised almonds, and candied orange pieces.
- FrischSchoggi Orange-Almond Dark - Dark chocolate with tangy orange pieces and fine almond flakes.
The prettiest slab in this bag, bar the Mixed Fruit White bar, is the Milk Florentine slab, with its golden cap of caramelised almonds. The flavour of the bronzed cap reminds me of the flavour of a Daim bar, albeit clearer, richer and chewier. The creamy milk chocolate base fades into the background thanks to the dominant caramel flavours.
The pairing in the Milk Cranberry bar is a little underwhelming. Texturally, it reminds me of a chocolate bar studded with raisins, as the cranberries aren't particularly sour, nor are they flavoursome when paired against creamy Swiss milk chocolate. Perhaps they'd sing a little louder with a white chocolate base?
The White Raspberry-Blackberry bar starts off in much the way you'd expect a raspberry white chocolate to taste, but the addition of blackberry adds a deeper, almost floral twist to this chocolate. It's a delightful combination that uses a creamy white chocolate as a delivery vehicle for tart and vibrant flavours.
I also like the deeper berry notes that come through in the Dark Blackberry bar. The crunchy flecks reveal tart blackberry flavours that are clear and intense. The dark chocolate background adds depth and richness to the whole affair.
If you love caramel then look no further than the crunchy Caramel Salé Milk-Dark bar. A sickly-sweet caramel flavour instantly comes through, complimented by the crunchy caramel flecks. There's a touch of salt in there, but it's barely noticeable.
Piedmonte hazelnuts and Swiss milk chocolate are best friends in the Milk Hazelnut slab. The intense, sweet nutty flavour of one of Italy's best exports pairs beautifully with the sweet and creamy milk chocolate. Both aspects of the bar shine through uninterrupted, dancing together in perfect harmony.
The Dark Almond bar is perhaps the most intense bar here, paired with sweet caramelised whole almonds. The dark chocolate base adds a rush of bitterness, which contrasts against the caramel notes from the almonds. While the nuts help try to balance thing out, the dark chocolate is just too powerful, so the bitter strand continues into the aftertaste. I reckon I'd like this more with a milk chocolate base instead.
Crunch is the order of the day in the Nut-Trio Milk-Dark bar, thanks to a very generous helping of nuts. The chocolate is rich and creamy, complimenting the sweet roasted nuts. If you like nuts in your chocolate, this bar is a very good example of this in practice.
There's a lot going on in the White Mixed Fruit slab. There's so many roasted nuts crammed in there, the creamy vanilla white chocolate almost takes a back seat. I like the balance though, and is feels more indulgent this way. Far too often, manufacturers skimp on the nuts so it's refreshing not only to see plenty of them here, but a wide variety too.
The dark chocolate has a nice depth to it in the Orange-Almond bar, and this richness works well with the lively orange flavour that comes through. The almonds add texture, and perhaps sweetness, but I think I'd prefer this bar without these distracting flecks.
Läderach FrischSchoggi Small Pouch Review Review
RRP: £22.25 | Läderach | Shop now
Creamy Swiss chocolate meets generous helpings of fruits and nuts in these chocolate slabs. These sweet and indulgent FrischSchoggi bars deliver a satisfying taste of the Swiss Alps here in Britain. The small pouch includes a good selection of assorted flavours, although it's the nut-based bars where Läderach really excels, thanks to a heavy-handed approach, which is refreshing to see.
Where to Buy Online
Head to Läderach's two London boutiques to pick your own selection of FrischSchoggi, or order it online on their website here (£22.25; 250g). Besides FrischSchoggi, the company also produces chocolate-covered popcorn, Tartufi (based on gianduja), and a range of bonbons and chocolate tasting bars.
The company is headquartered in Ennenda, Swizerland, but also operates House of Läderach in Bilten, about an hour south east of Zürich. This outlet store is also home to factory tours and hands-on events. You can even make your own FrischSchoggi slab to take home. It's also home to the Läderach Café. More details can be found here.
Which FrischSchoggi slab would you try first? Let me know in the comments below.