Anybody who’s tried to make (vegan) chocolate will know that it’s a labour of love with a lot of trial and error involved. You can eradicate some of that pain by booking a class with Maison Cailler on the outskirts of Montreux in Switzerland and learning first hand how to make chocolate their way. We booked a a class with our kids who thought it was brilliant. If you’re looking for something to do in Montreux with children, this is it.
Switzerland is expensive
Switzerland is expensive and everything costs a lot of money. Even catching the train into the mountains for hiking can set you back £200. Classes at Maison Cailler are no different and for that reason only three of us did this class. As Rich works away a bit, we felt it would be nice for him to do this class with two of our kids, aged 9 and 10.
Maisonn Cailler is just a short distance out of Montreux and is a great day trip out of the city. If you’re driving you can even take in a few mountains at the same time.
So how much did a class at Maison Cailler cost?
45CHF which equates to roughly £42 and that was the cheapest class. There are other, longer and more expensive classes available on their website.
This was quite a big expense for us but as we are obsessed with making our own chocolate and have never quite perfected it, this was a great learning opportunity for Rich and the kids to watch, practice and quiz the Cailler Chocolatier.
What is included in the price?
Included in the ticket price are:
- A quick instruction on how to fill the moulds with melted chocolate
- Plastic moulds, melted chocolate & many decorations
- Demonstration on how to decorate with marzipan
- A class on tempering chocolate made from cacao nibs (not cacao butter)
Filling the Moulds
Maison Cailler use cacao nibs rather than cacao butter so the process is a little different (to how we make it) and the chocolate will already be melted by the time you arrive in the classroom.
For this class you’re given a sheep mould to fill and a bowl of liquid chocolate. It might seem strange to start out so quickly by making your own but it’s so it has time to cool and harden in the fridge before you decorate it.
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Demonstration on how to Temper
Tempering is a process that must be done in order for the chocolate to set correctly. If tempering is not done properly, the chocolate may separate, turn a strange colour or have bubbles in it. The problem is real!
Maison Cailler make their chocolate a little differently from us in that they don’t use cacoa butter or maple syrup but cacao nibs & a ton of sugar. The process of mixing the cacao nibs with the sugar to make a paste takes two days in a super fancy machine which cost £3,000! That problem is also real because we’ll never own one.
However Rich found the tempering class more than helpful and the opportunity to watch a professional’s techniques inspired him and he was able to chat with the chocolatier after the class too. He had a great time!
Rolling the Marzipan & decorating the sheep
You’re given a short introduction on how to roll & create marzipan shapes before the sheep are glued together (with more melted chocolate) and decorated with an array of sweets and decorations including marzipan, sprinkles and accommpaniments such as salt, chinnamon & chilli.
Ta Daa; a chocolate sheep
Here is our boy proudly showing me his decorated sheep. It was very rich and took him at least a week to eat. I hate to think how much sugar it had in it.
And you even get to keep the moulds
At the end of the class you’re given a beautifull presentation bag with your moulds and chocolate protected in a nice box. The chocolate made it back to us in one piece!
Going on a Tour of Maison Cailler
Although I didn’t purchase it with the ticket, you have the option to complete a self-tour of Maison Cailler.
This costs an additional 7.50chf in total and you can visit at your own leisure with a listening device given to explain the different areas. At the end of the tour you can see Chocolatiers piping chocolate into moulds to sell in the shop.
These guys went the week before Easter so the shop was full of moulded chocolate animals.
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There’s even a Shop
Of course Richard cannot resist a shop and he purchased
- A Spatula with an inbuilt thermomoter -17 CHF
- More Chocolate – 17CHF
There’s a play park in the grounds
After all that sugar, the kids had a pose on the train and a play in the play park. I’m not sure if the train leaves the ground or if it’s just there for decoration but it’s pretty!
How to Book a Class at Maison Cailler
There are over eight different classes you can take that range in price from 45CHF upwards. You can have a look at the classes on the Maison Cailler Book a Chocolate Workshop.
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Stick around a little longer
Can we inspire you with anything else? We’ve been travelling full time since 2016 and with our kids since they were born back in 2003! Take a look at our recent posts or the countries we’ve been to and see if you’ve been too?