A visit to laflor
We meet Laura from the chocolate manufacturer laflor at her production facility in the provisional premises on Uetlibergstrasse in Binz in Zurich. We are impressed by the lively and creative atmosphere of the Provisorium. It extends over three floors in the former pastry shop and bakery of the Buchmann area. People who deal with the topics of nutrition, food and sustainability on a daily basis work and meet here. We climb up to the first floor and find ourselves in a large kitchen. The smell of chocolate is already in the air. We follow our nose and are warmly welcomed at the back of the large room by Laura, the manager, and Meret, the food technologist. So this is where the fine laflor chocolate is produced.
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-Laura, how did you get into chocolate?
I did a Master's in Food Culture and Communication at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra, Italy. University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra, Italy. For me, the producers are always in the foreground. in the foreground. My aim is to bring the consumer closer to the producer, because I am convinced that producers, because I am convinced that the appreciation of a product changes when you know its background. the background of the product. What fascinated me about chocolate is the biodiversity and the resulting variety of flavours. variety of flavours. The cocoa variety, the geological and geographical conditions and the way the and the way the plants are cultivated, as well as the fermentation of the cocoa beans have an impact on the taste. Cocoa is an incredibly living product!
How was lafor created?
Switzerland is a chocolate country, but little attention is paid to the diverse flavour possibilities of chocolate. importance is attached to it. The idea of founding a transparent and urban chocolate manufactory was was very spontaneous. For 4 years we worked on the idea once a week. each of us taking on a part of the work. We looked for producers, bought machines machines and made chocolate again and again in my kitchen. In 2018, we produced the first laflor chocolate at Schwarzenbach as house chocolate. In the beginning, we delivered all the bars ourselves by bike or took them to the post office. Today, the bike courier does that.
- How do you work with your cocoa farmers?
We visit our producers regularly. On the one hand, we want to understand their work better work, to support them, to test the new harvests, but above all to maintain contact. to maintain contact.
- Some of your chocolate is organic. What does that mean?
We indicate the percentage of organic cocoa on our packaging. It is not possible for all farmers and not possible for all farmers and especially not in all countries to obtain organic certification. For us, if we have personal contact with the farmers, organic certification is not so important. organic certification is not so important. In direct contact we notice how carefully the people work. work. If we don't have personal contact, certification is very important to us.
You have a chocolate in your range where the cocoa travels through Europe on a sailing ship.Can you tell us more about that?
Transport has been a big issue for us from the beginning. 90 per cent of the goods traded worldwide are traded worldwide are transported by sea. The container ships used for international shipping The container ships that use heavy oil for international shipping are considered climate polluters. That it can also be Fairtransport GmbH proves that it can also be environmentally friendly with the "Tres Hombres Hombres", which is powered only by wind energy. Fairtransport was founded in 2007 with the purchase of a dilapidated sailing ship, the "Tres Hombres". Hombres". With the active help of many volunteers, it was restored and made afloat. The propulsion: two masts and 280 square metres of sailcloth. The "Tres Hombres" has been sailing "Tres Hombres" has now been sailing across the Atlantic, bringing wine and olive oil to one and cocoa beans, coffee and rum in the other direction. All the products that the "Tres Hombres" have one thing in common: they are ecological and fair. Our "Rio Sinu" cocoa is transported across the Atlantic to Europe on the "Tres Hombres" in a Co2-neutral manner. Europe.
- What is the future of laflor?
We are still a very small company. We want to produce more chocolate and thus contribute to the livelihoods of our producers.
- Who is actually behind laflor?
laflor is Ivo Müller, who is responsible for sourcing, Heini Schwarzenbach, who is in charge of finances and strategy, and Ziegler. finances and strategy, Zelia Zadra is responsible for the visuals, and I am the managing director.
Pictures by Raffael Waldner