Ragusa and Torino are two well-known chocolate bars from Switzerland. Did you know they were both made by the same company, Camille Bloch? These Swiss chocolate bars can be purchased throughout the country, and both feature hazelnuts prominently among their ingredients. At their headquarters in the Bernese Jura, Camille Bloch opened a new Visitor Center in October 2017, where you can learn more about the company, its history and the chocolate.
To test your knowledge about Camille Bloch and its famous chocolate bars, here are 10 quick facts:
1. The name Camille Bloch comes from the company’s founder, who started his chocolate factory — “Chocolats et Bonbons fins Camille Bloch” — in Bern in 1929. Six years later, he moved his production site to an old paper mill in Courtelay, Switzerland, where it continues today.
2. Chocolats Camille Bloch is a family-run business. In its third generation, the current CEO, Daniel Bloch, is the grandson of the company’s founder, Camille Bloch.
3. Camille Bloch introduced the Ragusa chocolate bar in 1942. This rectangular bar has a praline filling with whole hazelnuts, surrounded by a thin layer of chocolate. Created during World War II when the company faced shortages, the 50-gram bar maximized limited quantities of cacao beans. When Camille Bloch first introduced Ragusa, it cost 40 centimes. Today, a Ragusa chocolate bar is about Fr. 2.20.
4. In, 1950 Camille Bloch launched a new chocolate bar known as, Torino. This chocolate bar has a gianduia filling, a sweet hazelnut paste that originated in Italy, which is mixed with ground almonds. Torino was first introduced in 1948 as a filled chocolate tablet, and then re-introduced two years later with a new shape that has also lasted over time — the classic “branche.”
5. A new category of Ragusa was introduced in 2014: Ragusa Blond. This product was inspired by a trip to Quebec, taken by Daniel Bloch, where he discovered blond chocolate. Ragusa Blond has a golden yellow color and light caramel flavor.
6. Camille Bloch currently manufactures the following products:
- Ragusa: Classique, Noir and Blond
- Torino: Lait, Noir and Blond
- Liqueurs (liqueur-filled chocolate): Williams, Kirsch, Grappa, Cointreau and Cognac
7. You can find recipes for Ragusa and Torino on Camille Bloch’s website. How about an Avocado-Ragusa Salad with Balsamic Vinegar Dressing?
8. At Camille Bloch’s new Visitor Center, you can attend a chocolate-making workshop at L’Atelier. With your participation in one of these workshops, you also receive free admission to the Discovery Center — a good value, and the best way to fully experience the Visitor Center, in my opinion — especially if you are traveling a distance to be there.
9. At the Camille Bloch Visitor Center, you can purchase a personalized Ragusa. The chocolate bar will be engraved with a message of your choice — a nice gift idea for someone who’s a huge fan of this iconic Swiss candy bar.
10. The construction of Camille Bloch’s Visitor Center coincided with an expansion of its production facilities. The expansion means the company now has the capacity to double its production from approximately 4,000 to 8,000 tons per year — further ensuring that Switzerland will never run out of its beloved Ragusa and Torino bars.
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