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Switzerland with Nestlé – Le Maison Cailler (Cailler Chocolate Factory) and Alimentarium (Nestlé Museum of Nutrition)

Switzerland with Nestlé – Le Maison Cailler (Cailler Chocolate Factory) and Alimentarium (Nestlé Museum of Nutrition)

Two of the highlights of my trip to Switzerland with Nestlé were visits to the Le Maison Cailler (Cailler Chocolate Factory) and the Alimentarium (Nestlé Museum of Nutrition).

At Le Maison Cailler, we learn about another brand, Cailler, under the Nestlé family while at the Alimentarium, we learn about the history of Nestlé as well as food and nutrition.

Vevey was where it all started.

In 1839 a German pharmacist moved to Vevey which is in the French part of Switzerland. He changed his name from Heinrich Nestle to Henri Nestlé. His company, Nestlé, which is known the world over today, founded the Alimentarium, a museum of nutrition.

At the museum, we learned that the first product from Nestlé was not chocolate, but milk powder. Henri Nestlé invnted a method of producing milk powder in 1867, laying the foundation in Vevey for what is now, the largest food company in the world.

The Alimentarium was founded by Nestlé in 1985 in Vevey as a dedication to various aspects of food and nutrition in the world.

The Alimentarium

The Alimentarium

It is not a museum just about Nestlé – the museum houses a permanent exhibition on the production, processing, effect and trading of food within the framework of the four topics of cooking, eating, buying and digesting. The information offered on various aspects of nutrition is complemented by interactive changing exhibitions, cooking studios and an exhibition on the history of the Nestlé company, with an overview of the groups of products marketed:

Beautiful giant fork designed by Jean-Pierre Zaugg, a sculptor from Neuchâtel, Switzerland and embedded in the lake in 1995 to commemorate the Alimentarium’s 10th anniversary

Beautiful giant fork designed by Jean-Pierre Zaugg, a sculptor from Neuchâtel, Switzerland and embedded in the lake in 1995 to commemorate the Alimentarium’s 10th anniversary

The fork is situated in Lake Geneva, in front of the Alimentarium and has become an emblem for the town of Vevey.

The fork is situated in Lake Geneva, in front of the Alimentarium and has become an emblem for the town of Vevey

This is really beautiful isn't it? I am now using this image as the display picture for my Twitter account @alvinologist

This is really beautiful isn’t it? I am now using this image as the display picture for my Twitter account @alvinologist

Someone was feeding the swans when we were at the lake

Someone was feeding the swans when we were at the lake

Statue of Charlie Chaplin in front of the Alimentarium

Statue of Charlie Chaplin in front of the Alimentarium

A girl sitting on Charlie Chaplin

A girl sitting on Charlie Chaplin

There is a small garden in front of the Alimentarium with real crops

There is a small garden in front of the Alimentarium with real crops

Small green tomatoes

Small green tomatoes

Look carefully, the

Look carefully, the “butterflies” are all composed of food items

How cooking was done through the ages

How cooking was done through the ages

Cooking pots from around the world

Cooking pots from around the world

Assorted vintage tea cups

Assorted vintage tea cups

More tea drinking cups and such

More tea drinking cups and such

A teeny weeny piece of bread leftover from the years of the Great Famine in Ireland between 1845 and 1852

A teeny weeny piece of bread leftover from the years of the Great Famine in Ireland between 1845 and 1852

Different kinds of meat grinders from around the world

Different kinds of meat grinders from around the world

Assorted meat cutters and such

Assorted meat cutters and such

Cooking pots and pans from around the world

Cooking pots and pans from around the world

There is a cooking lesson going on

There is a cooking lesson going on

An American hotdog stand

An American hotdog stand

The cafeteria

The cafeteria

The oldest piece of bread in the world, as recognised by the Guinness Book of Records

The oldest piece of bread in the world, as recognised by the Guinness Book of Records

It looks like a giant clam to me

It looks like a giant clam to me

Learning about our food pyramid

Learning about our food pyramid

There were many kids in the Alimentarium

There were many kids in the Alimentarium

An average Swiss has six meals a day like these

An average Swiss has six meals a day like these

All the food that an average Swiss would consume in a week, 100 years ago and now

All the food that an average Swiss would consume in a week, 100 years ago and now

Mock supermarket to learn about the science behind supermarket

Mock supermarket to learn about the science behind supermarket

Flying supermarket trolleys

Flying supermarket trolleys

Nestle wall

Nestle wall

Inside the Nestle room in the Alimentarium

Inside the Nestle room in the Alimentarium

Lesson going on in the Nestle room

Lesson going on in the Nestle room

Cupboards filled with antique Nestle products

Cupboards filled with antique Nestle products

Maggi from the 1890s

Maggi from the 1890s

Maggi sauce which still can be found in many homes today

Maggi sauce which still can be found in many homes today

Maggi cube from 1895

Maggi cube from 1895

Julius Maggi, the founder of Maggi which was later acquired by Nestle

Julius Maggi, the founder of Maggi which was later acquired by Nestle

Nescafe and Nestea of yesteryears

Nescafe and Nestea of yesteryears

Nescafe from 1938

Nescafe from 1938

Dr Max Morgenthaler, the Nestle chemist who invented Nescafe

Dr Max Morgenthaler, the Nestle chemist who invented Nescafe

The origin Nestle logo at the top with three birds and the one now with two birds

The origin Nestle logo at the top with three birds and the one now with two birds

Before Macintosh, there was Mackintosh's

Before Macintosh, there was Mackintosh’s

The original MILO!

The original MILO!

More Nestle products from yesteryears

More Nestle products from yesteryears

Old Milkmaid condensed milk tin - Singaporeans would be familiar with this. I remember takeaway coffee from neighbourhood coffeeshops used to be packed in these

Old Milkmaid tin – takeaway coffee from neighbourhood coffeeshops in Singapore used to be packed in these

Assorted Nestle food stuff of old

Assorted Nestle food stuff of old

Interactive exhibits for guests to learn about food and nutrition

Interactive exhibits for guests to learn about food and nutrition

More exhibits

More exhibits

A visit to Le Maison Cailler was like a visit to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory in real life. You can take a train there for the full experience; we were driven there comfortably by the Nestlé team.

Jumpshot in front of Le Maison Callier

Jumpshot in front of Le Maison Callier

Cargo train sending out the chocolate from the Callier factory

Cargo train sending out the chocolate from the Callier factory

The Nestle train goes here

The Nestle train goes here

Le Maison Callier

Le Maison Callier

A new service from Callier where you can order customised chocolate based on your personality

A new service from Callier where you can order customised chocolate based on your personality

The building is shaped like a hazelnut

The building is shaped like a hazelnut

Chocolate of different colour moods

Chocolate of different colour moods

A big M

A big M

You must be wondering what Cailler got to do with Nestlé. Well, Nestlé owns Cailler, a premium chocolate brand in Switzerland. It is not available in Singapore and the South-East Asia region which explains why we are not familiar with the brand.

A brief history of Cailler via the Nestlé corporate site:

The founder of Callier

The founder of Callier

François-Louis Cailler was born in 1796 in Vevey, Switzerland. In 1819 he bought a small company that sold chocolate. In 1825, he began to make chocolate in Corsier, an industrial area of Vevey. In 1832, he built his first big factory in the same town. He later built a second. When François-Louis Cailler died in 1852, two of his sons took over the company and bought a new factory in Vevey. In 1898, François-Louis Cailler’s grandson, Alexandre-Louis, built a chocolate factory in Broc, in the milk producing region of Gruyère. The business merged with the chocolate makers Peter and Kohler in 1911. In 1929, the company was bought by Nestlé. Today, the Cailler brand continues to produce chocolate at the factory in Broc according to the traditional recipes of its founder.

Posters through the age

Posters through the age

Same poster with different logos

Same poster with different logos

Wall of assorted chocolate posters

Wall of assorted chocolate posters

Le Maison Callier features an interactive multimedia  tour on the history of chocolate, weaving the history of Callier and Nestle into the storyline. The tour is available in different languages. We went for the English one.

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This part of the tour is the one that seems to to come right out of the Willy Wonka story book by Roald Dahl:

Chocolate walls

Chocolate walls

Origin of the Cocoa Bean

Origin of the Cocoa Bean

Fake jungle

Fake jungle

Inside of a cargo ship

Inside of a cargo ship

Chocolate reaches Europe

Chocolate reaches Europe

Surviving the war

Chocolate survived the war

How Callier ended up in Vevey

How Callier ended up in Vevey

Mr Callier

Mr Callier

Mr Henri Nestle

Mr Henri Nestle

Chocolate were delivered on bicycles in the past

Chocolate were delivered on bicycles in the past

Heavy machinery to manufacture chocolate

Heavy machinery to manufacture chocolate

Old Callier stuff

Old Callier stuff

Similarity between Nestle and Callier

Similarity between Nestle and Callier

Products with old Nestle logos

Products with old Nestle logos

Cheesy TV commercial on Callier from  yesteryears

Cheesy TV commercial on Callier from yesteryears

Callier in Vevey

Callier in Vevey

There is free chocolate sampling at the end of the tour… heavenly for chocolate lovers like me.

The knowledge of chocolate

The knowledge of chocolate

Milk

Milk

Cocoa beans

Cocoa beans

I took some to munch

I took some to munch

Another kind of cocoa beans

Another kind of cocoa beans

Finer cocoa beans

Finer cocoa beans

Viewing the beans under a microscope

Viewing the beans under a microscope

Nuts

Nuts

More nuts

More nuts

Conveyor belt production line

Conveyor belt production line

Small bits of chocolate moving along

Small bits of chocolate moving along

The chocolate production process

The chocolate production process

Chocolate fresh off the conveyor belt

Chocolate fresh off the conveyor belt

Little bits of chocolate rolling out

Little bits of chocolate rolling out

Free chocolate!

Free chocolate!

I tried all three colours

I tried all three colours

Eat a piece of chocolate fresh off the conveyor belt - Done

Eat a piece of chocolate fresh off the conveyor belt – Done

Another part of the factory

Another part of the factory

Callier machine

Callier machine

For you, when is it time for chocolate?

For you, when is it time for chocolate?

Writing down our answers

Writing down our answers

http://www.flickr.com/photos/alvinology/8231123219/data-lazy-sizes/z/in/photostream/

My answer, as inspired by PSY

Free sampling of all the chocolate under the Callier brand

Free sampling of all the chocolate under the Callier brand

The tasting table

The tasting table

Callier Lait

Callier Lait

Close-up

Close-up

Different shapes and data-lazy-sizes

Different shapes and sizes

Dark chocolate! I love these

Dark chocolate! I love these

Close-up of a fresh batch of chocolate

Close-up of a fresh batch of chocolate

The Ambassador range

The Ambassador range

Dark version of the Ambassador range

Dark version of the Ambassador range

I can't remember how many of these chocolate bits I popped into my mouth! I just had to try all of them

I can’t remember how many of these chocolate bits I popped into my mouth! I just had to try all of them

If you like anything you tried, you can get them at the Callier gift shop on the way out:

Callier gift shop

Callier gift shop

Nice paper cut packaging

Nice paper cut packaging

Callier postcards

Callier postcards

Assorted Callier chocolate bars

Assorted Callier chocolate bars

Nut bars

Nut bars

Ambassador range

Ambassador range

Small chocolate bars

Small chocolate bars

Beautiful tin boxes only available at the Callier chocolate factory

Beautiful tin boxes only available at the Callier chocolate factory

Callier chocolate bar

Callier chocolate bar

There are some giant Callier bars outside Le Maison Callier, just beside the kids’ playground. The make for great photo opportunities:

Pretending to eat large chunk of Callier

Pretending to eat large chunk of Callier

The ladies striking a pose

The ladies striking a pose

Both the Alimentarium and Le Maison Callier ranks high among the top attractions to visit in Vevey and are definitely worth a visit. Both venues are also kids-friendly and educational, making them suitable for family outings. I would have brought my son there.

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The visits left me with a deeper understanding of the Nestlé brand and its influence on the people in Vevey, then Switzerland and now, the world, as Nestlé expands into the large global food company it is today.

Stay tuned for my next update on visiting the Nestlé headquarters and meeting their global digital acceleration team. 🙂

Click here to read all my posts on visiting Switzerland with Nestlé.

About The Author

alvinology

Alvin is a marketer by day and blogger by night. He is a 100% geek who spends too much time surfing the web.

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  1. Switzerland with Nestlé – Administration Building Nestlé (Nestle HQ) and meeting the Nestlé Global Digital Acceleration Team | A L V I N O L O G Y - [...] The Alimentarium Museum, a modern museum for food and nutrition, opened in 1985 by the Nestlé foundation, is one…
  2. Visiting Bata Factory in Jakarta, Indonesia | A L V I N O L O G Y - […] is not a tourist-oriented showcase factory like the Nissin noodle factory I visited in Japan or the Nestle Caille…

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