Elias Läderach Q & A
Elias Läderach – World Chocolate Master 2018
Läderach’s chief innovation and production officer gives us a glimpse into this family-run confectionery.
By: Giuseppa Nadrowksi
In 1962, chocolatier Rudolf Läderach Jr. founded his namesake company in a small village in Switzerland with a goal to create a “Confectionery of Sweet Gifts.” In the years and decades following, Läderach would become a leader in chocolate innovation with the introduction of treats such as the beloved FrischSchoggi, delicious chocolate slabs that are meant to be broken and shared, as well as the patented production of thin-walled hollow shells for truffles. Today, Läderach, which produces 100 percent of its chocolate in Switzerland, continues to be a family-run enterprise, with over 100 retail stores in 13 countries. Here, we spoke with Elias Läderach, chief innovation and production officer and 2018 World Chocolate Master (and grandson of the founder!) about his family’s legacy and delectable creations.
Läderach has a rich heritage and innovative history when it comes to the manufacturing of chocolate. Can you tell me what it means to be part of such an esteemed family legacy?
Chocolate has always played an important role with us. I like to remember the days when our grandfather made chocolate Easter bunnies or other treats with us grandchildren. It fills me with a lot of gratitude and joy to be part of this history, and we want to continue writing it in the third generation. We want to maintain our values but always question the business models and change them if necessary. That keeps us young and innovative.
From the invention of the thin-walled hollow balls used for truffles to today’s beloved FrischSchoggi, innovation is at the root of Läderach. As head of production and innovation, how do you hope to continue the company’s cutting-edge traditions?
Innovation has always been part of our DNA at Läderach, and we continue to put a lot of emphasis on it. It is important to understand that not only one person is responsible for our innovations, but we all write these new stories. As a result, we have monthly innovation meetings where we discuss new products, ideas, and concepts. And if I take the last 18 months and look at our latest products, including our chocolate popcorn, tablet bars, and tartufi, I am pleased about the innovative power behind them … and there is still more to come.
In 2018, you beat 19 international competitors at the World Chocolate Masters in Paris. That competition brought on the creation of the Masters Tablet Caramel and the Masters Bonbon Mandarine. Tell me about this experience and what it means to be one of the world’s best chocolatiers.
Winning the World Chocolate Masters is a dream come true for me. It’s the world’s biggest chocolate competition, and to win it is just incredible. The preparations for the competition were a long journey of almost two years, peppered with many ups and downs. I learned a tremendous amount during this time — both professionally and personally. It means a lot to me that I was able to crown this eventful journey with the title. My grandfather loved competitions and also won several international events. So it also fills me with great joy and pride to see my award next to his in our museum at the House of Läderach in Switzerland.
Craftsmanship, a dedication to freshness, and the brand’s Swiss heritage are all part of the brand’s core values. To you, what defines Läderach, and what make it truly stand out above the rest?
We make no compromises when it comes to quality — whether it’s optimizing the supply chain to guarantee the maximum freshness of our products or through the selection of raw materials, to name just two examples. We want to think “fresh” in everything we do and continually question and challenge ourselves.
For someone new to Läderach, what would you recommend trying first? Do you have a personal favorite?
Our global bestseller is the FrischSchoggi (“fresh chocolate” in Swiss German) Hazelnut Milk — it is fresh milk chocolate with caramelized hazelnuts. It tastes simply delicious.
The question of my personal favorite is not easy to answer. It usually depends on my mood. When I’m really in the mood for chocolate, I go for this FrischSchoggi Hazelnut Milk. But sometimes, I want to lose myself in the delicate nuances of cocoa, so I like to sit down in a quiet place with our Grand Cru chocolates and taste and compare them. It’s also incredibly exciting and fascinating. And then, of course, there’s the whole world of pairings — from praline fillings, chocolate, and wine to chocolate and tea. You see, you never get bored around chocolate.
Almond Milk, from $24.75, Läderach
5×6 pcs per box, $24.99, Läderach
Pralines & Truffles with Alcohol
36 pcs per box, $62, Läderach