A chocoholic practically from birth, Lindt master chocolatier Stefan Bruderer is now making the products responsible for many a chocolate addiction and sharing his passion around the world at events like the Smooth Festival of Chocolate.
When I was six years old I collected chocolate wrappers. After a very short while I filled a whole album with those chocolate wrappers. A museum in Zurich heard about my collection and asked if I would like to exhibit it. I was very proud, so of course I said yes! And I thought, okay, if they want to exhibit my empty wrappings, chocolate must be something that is really special. I still have the album at home.
Ten years later I started my apprenticeship as a pastry chef. That’s when I started to really love working with chocolate. There is no specific training to become a master chocolatier, but I had three years training as a pastry chef. I also went to college to study art and design – that’s where I learned creativity. Later I studied food technology and learned all the processes. The most important thing for me is passion.
I work in the research and development department in Switzerland. We have early morning meetings with the product development team, which start by tasting all the different recipes we made the day before. This means I eat quite a lot of chocolate every day. Sometimes with one product you can have up to eighty different recipes over the month.
What I’m really impressed with in general, is that Australian chefs are very open-minded, passionate and creative. There are so many different influences from Asia to Europe. You’ve got everything, although it’s probably not easy to work with chocolate in Australia because of the climate. What I love to see is for chocolate to be the star ingredient.
A few months ago I did a paring with Excellence Chilli, strawberries, and champagne. I melted the Excellence Chilli and dipped the strawberries in, like fondue, took a bite and then a sip of champagne. The bubbles in the champagne and the chilli chocolate worked together so well, it was like an explosion of the senses.
The last block chocolate product that I brought to market, Excellence Cherry, took me almost a year to perfect. It was difficult to find the right ingredients. It took six months just to find the right cherries. We needed a one hundred percent stone free guarantee from a supplier, plus I was looking for a taste that was a mix between dark cherries and red cherries, not too sour not to sweet.
I would say I love everything about chocolate, but that sounds cheap. I guess what I love most is sharing my passion with others; it’s very easy to make people happy with chocolate.
Bruderer was recently in Sydney to attend the Smooth Festival of Chocolate.