Switzerland is the king land of chocolate and Camille Bloch is one of the key players of a flourishing industry. The Swiss company was founded in 1929 and its history is marked by determination and innovation, always thinking out of the box. Today, 87 years after the company creation, Camille Bloch launches Ragusa Friends and a very special edition Lara Gut, celebrating the tremendous performance of the Swiss Skier.
Camille Bloch, Swiss chocolate avant-garde since 1929
Switzerland’s chocolates have earned an international reputation for high quality with many famous international brands. From the 19th century until the First World War and throughout the Second World War the Swiss chocolate industry was very export-oriented. Today most Swiss chocolate is consumed by the Swiss themselves (54% in 2000 and 45% in 2014), and Switzerland has the highest per capita rate of chocolate consumption world wide (11.6 kg (25.6 lbs.) per capita per annum). The Swiss Chocolate industry represents more than 200 companies acting locally and worldwide. The Swiss Chocolate federation has 20 active members from Nestlé to Camille Bloch. The industry employs 4’241 employees for a total sales of CHF 1.743 billion. Exports remain strong, especially towards Germany and the United Kingdom. The national market is strong as well. Swiss chocolates are consumed by Swiss inhabitants but also by foreign tourists visiting the country. Exports have been gaining some field as areas like Asia or Middle East represent a double digit growth for the past 5 years. So key players like Camille Bloch has its role to play.
When Camille Bloch created his company, the world was facing a strong economic crisis and Switzerland was not preserved. When the famous economic crack hit the world in 1929, Switzerland had a hard time. Exportations just melted down, unemployment was at 8% and almost a fifth of the population was facing poverty. Many Swiss people decided to leave the country and try their luck somewhere else. Others decided to capitalize on Swiss know how and dare to resist to economic recession. That was the case of Camille Bloch. His passion for chocolate started in 1926 when he had a commercial apprenticeship at Tobler AG in Bern. He understood there was a great opportunity to establish his own business and that’s why he created “Chocolats et bombons fins Camille Bloch”. Initially he would buy the chocolate paste already manufactured but he decided quite fast to manufacture chocolate himself. That is why he acquired in 1934 an old factory in Courtelary – Bern Jura. After several works to adapt the factory to a Chocolate manufacture. After a full year of preparations, the company opened its new facility under the name “Chocolats Camille Bloch SA”.
The Ragusa, an innovative idea that became an icon of Swiss Chocolate
A few years later, the world get into the Second World War and very fast, all transports are blocked, importations become complex to manage as several war zones would monopolize the transportations flows. Switzerland had a very difficult position as the country was stuck in the middle of the war between Germany, France and Italy. So borders were pretty closed with very few exchanges. Why this is important for the chocolate industry? To produce chocolate, we need cacao beans and these cannot be grown in Switzerland or even Europe. Cacao beans were imported at that time from South America and Africa. As we can imagine, not easy to travel in a world at war. So Swiss companies needed to find ways to use less cacao beans in their chocolate and still keep the same production volumes. Several recipes and production secrets were found. Camille Bloch did not wish to compromise quality, taste and their know-how as chocolate manufacturers, so the only solution was to think out of the box. And this is what Camille Bloch did. In order to save the chocolate paste and still propose a tasteful product, he had the idea to transform hazelnuts coming from Turkey into a paste. He would add whole hazelnuts and recover everything with a thin yet consistent chocolate paste. And Ragusa was created! We were in 1942. Why Ragusa for the name? According to the brand, Camille Bloch used to go on holidays to Croatia, in the city of Dubrovnik. This city was called Ragusa until 1918, date in which the name was changed to Dubrovnik. Camille Bloch thought that Ragusa was a great name that could work in several languages, so the name was chosen.
Camille Bloch, a success story until today
After the Second world war, the 50’s brought a new positive wave to the country. Industrial development allowed progress and a new era started. Chocolates went from a luxury good to a more mass distribution business model. The development of better machines allowed to serve a demand for more chocolate, so the production of chocolate bars in series was possible. Camille Bloch being well established since 1929 and keeping his innovator spirit decided to embrace this new era and launched another iconic product: the Torino.
The Swiss company was one of the first Swiss Chocolatiers to produce chocolate bars in series. The success of Torino is also due to its formula. Only the best ingredients are used to provide this tender and soft Praline heart loved in a fair layer of best chocolate. Due to the fact that there were no fridges in the stores in the 50’s and the 60’s, Camille Bloch could only deliver the chocolate bars in autumn and winter. So every year a strong advertising campaign in Autumn would take place to remind people they can get their preferred chocolate bar again. This situation lived still for a while and only the 80’s brought a solution to this problem so Camille Bloch could finally please the aficionados all year long. With Ragusa and Torino, Camille Bloch was able to build a consistent and sustainable business over the years. We should also add a third arrow to the company’s bow: the Liqueurs.
Thanks to an innovative manufacturing process, the chocolate maker brought a very original product to the market, for fine liquors amateurs. The recipe comes from Camille Bloch himself and has been used for the past 60 years. From Cognac, to Williams, Kirsch, Grappa or Cointreau, Camille Bloch proposes a vast range of fine spirits.
Ragusa friends, a new way to share good moments
Chocolate is made to procure you happiness and positivism. It might be the sugar, or the magnesium. But in all cases is because you can share it with your family and friends. That is why Camille Bloch wished to celebrate the passion for sharing in launching Ragusa Friends. By launching this small format, Camille Bloch changes the Ragusa product but keeps the philosophy that animates this product over decades. Now you can please a friend, or even yourself with an indulgent moment. Available on a pack of 4 or 12 pieces, it is the perfect item on the go in your urban life. Here is the TV Spot to present the universe of the new product.
With the new Ragusa Friends, Camille Bloch proposes a younger vision of Ragusa that will adapt to a modern lifestyle: spontaneous, active and gourmand.
As we can see, Camille Bloch has been innovating for the pleasure of our senses since 1929. 87 years of creation at the service of quality, heritage, innovation and Swiss ingenuity. You can check more about Camille Bloch by visiting the official website:
Last but not least, Camille Bloch made a limited edition to celebrate the amazing performance season of Swiss skier Lara Gut. It is a limited edition of Ragusa Blond only available in a few point of sales, especially online.
Info sourced at Camille Bloch official communication release. Thanks to Mr Fabrice Aubert for his help and information. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available. Images are for illustration purposes only.