A delicious experience: CHEZ Camille Bloch

When I first spotted a tip at Freizeit.ch (Swiss leisure portal) about visiting the newly opened Visitor Center of the Camille Bloch Chocolate factory, I immediately decided about our destination for our next trip! However, I must confess, until then, I didn´t know that the famous chocolate bars Ragusa and Torino come from one factory! And even the name Camille Bloch didn´t ring any bell to me :O And that was the reason I wanted to visit CHEZ Camille Bloch as soon as possible!
Updated: 22.4.2024

How to get there

The head office of Camille Bloch SA is located on Grand-Rue 21 on the outskirts of Courtelary, in the French-speaking part of the Canton of Bern (also called Bernese-Jura). You can get here by car from Bern in about an hour.

The outdoor parking is free of charge; it is a few steps away from the Visitor Center.

The admission fee for adults is 15 CHF; for children (6 – 16 yo), it is 9 CHF. A family ticket (1+3 and 2+2) is also available for 40 CHF.

Opening hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 to 18:00. Special opening hours during holidays and free days are also available on the website.

Between the cash desk and the shop/café, you´ll find a dressing room, where you can leave your coats and lockers (2CHF deposit) for backpacks and bags. Through the turnstiles, you´ll get to the exhibition area. The tour is not organized, so enjoying the exhibition is solely up to you.

A bit of history

As it is quite common in Switzerland, Camille Bloch Chocolate Factory is a traditional family-owned business. It´s run by the third generation of the Bloch family (as it is e.g. by Kambly).

The company was founded in 1929 and its headquarters was first in Bern. 1935 production moved to a former paper mill near the Suze River in Courtelary.

During the tour, you will learn interesting information on large panels and small labels, so you recommend looking under the “lids.” Among other things, you will learn why it was a good idea to reduce the size of chocolate bars, where Mr. Bloch came to the name Ragusa chocolate, or how the company dealt with the situation when employees were “headhunted” by the nearby watch factories.

Do you want to feel like an Italian arriving at work in a chocolate factory on the iconic Vespa scooter? Then pull out your ticket, scan it and have your photo taken as a souvenir (you can have the photo emailed to you at the end of the expo).

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the company’s flagships are chocolate bars, Ragusa and Torino. Ragusa, which contains whole hazelnuts and hazelnut cream, “came to the world” in 1942 and became a sensation almost overnight. In 1948, the company came up with another innovation, filled chocolate Torino (and you guessed correctly that it was named after the Italian city of Torino :)).

In 1959, Rolf Bloch followed his father´s footsteps and became the company’s director. He used his knowledge of London and New Your internship (in cocoa companies and advertising agencies) and established an advertising department in the company.

In this part of the exhibition, children can try animating a short commercial film on several tablets (the younger ones with the help of their parents or older siblings). They can then have the result sent to their e-mail.

But classical crayons also get a word in—with them, children can design their chocolate wrapper.

In 2005, his son Daniel Bloch became the director, and under his leadership, the company came in 2014 with another innovation – Ragusa Blond chocolate. And Torino Blond follows soon 🙂

Production

In this section, visitors will learn how chocolate is made – from cocoa beans to chocolate bars.

Chocolate is flowing here, and you can watch “Maîtres chocolatier.”

Degustation

Throughout the visitor center tour, we were able to taste excellent chocolate. Immediately after paying the admission, we received a chocolate praline, then the creamy Ragusa.

In the production part, we tasted the necessary raw materials for making chocolate (nuts from Turkey and almonds from California), and finally, of course, the excellent Ragusa and Torino (such a pleasant difference in comparison to Swiss Chocolate Adventure, which I wrote about here recently).

Cinemas

At the end of the exhibition, there is the possibility of entering two cinema halls. The one on the left has now been transformed into a game room with joysticks, where you can “party” with your children. In the second one (Warning: you can easily miss the entrance; it is located behind the flower swing), you can watch an engaging panoramic animated projection. In my opinion, it allegorically tells the company’s history (the film lasts about ten minutes, and the pause between the projections is 5 minutes).

Flower swing

Shop and Café

You cannot leave without buying a chocolate or other souvenir (such as Ragusa lip balm, hmmm … 🙂 )

The café offers a variety of hot and cold drinks (such as home-made ice tea), local specialties, sandwiches, salads, and other goodies.

While you enjoy something from the menu, kids can spend time in the children’s corner, where they can play with wooden trains, draw with chalk or crayons, view books, or build dice.

Alternatively, you can “let the children out” on the playground.

Escape Game

Since our last visit, they’ve also added an escape game called “The Secret of the Golden Hazelnut.” The game is designed for 4 players ages 10 and up (at least one must be an adult). The game is about joining forces to foil the plan of the villains, Dr. Artifice and Professor Meandra Pipeau, who threaten the sweet world of chocolate. The price is CHF 99. For more information, visit the website.

My impressions

  • The entire exposition fully meets the requirements of the present time – it is modern, interactive, full of touchscreens and visual perceptions. At the same time, it retains a touch of “good old times”, especially thanks to period photographs.
  • I liked that despite all the conveniences of the modern time, the exposition wasn´t “impersonal”. One could ask the pleasant staff or “Maître chocolatier” for anything.
  • The place is wheelchair accessible, you can easily get there with a stroller. There is a changing table on the toilets, a children’s playroom in the café and a children’s playground outside.
  • All information is in French, German and English.
  • We spent about an hour and a half in the visitor center. Of course, then we spent some time in the shop 😉 I think we would have been here longer if the weather had been better and the children could have tried the outdoor playground.
  • If I had to compare with the  CaillerAeschbach ChocolatierMaestrani ChocolariumLindt Home of Chocolate chocolate factories we visited, Camille Bloch is probably on the top (and believe me, this is not a sponsored post – although I wouldn´t mind if I received a box full of Ragusa Blond box 😉 )

And what about you? Have you already visited CHEZ Camille Bloch? What were your impressions? I´d be happy if you could leave me a message! And do not forget to pin this for later!

Categories: Canton Bern, Chocolate factory, Indoor activities, Switzerland
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Author

Hana Hurábová

11 Comments. Leave new

  • Sound delicious indeed! I saw a lot of their commercial around Bern. We are not very good in visiting chocolat factories and the only one we have been to is the Caillers and only did it as late as this summer! Kambly is on my list as I love their biscuits! I heard it suppose to be the best?

    Reply
    • I´m sure your daughter would love the visit, Dawan. Our littlest doesn´t speak much yet, but the word for chocolate can say in two languages 😀

      Reply
  • Čím víc článků čtu, tím větší chuť mám jet do Švýcarska.
    A zrovna sem bych se podívala hned. Kdysi jsem dělala brigádu v obchodě se švýcarskýma čokoládama a Camille Bloch byly moje oblíbený. Hlavně Ragusa je fakt skvělá. Už jsem jí ale léta neměla. Ani netušim, kde se to dá v Čechách koupit. Ten krám se švýcarskou čokoládou už je léta zavřenej (ne mojí vinou :))

    Reply
    • Katko, jestli chceš Ragusu přivézt, napiš mi adresu. Na Vánoce se chystáme do ČR a určitě budu nakupovat “vítané” – mohla bych ti pak jednu poslat (teda pokud ji pošťáci České pošty nesní 😉 )

      Reply
  • Just by reading the beginning of your post I could tell you liked this one better than previous chocolate experiences 🙂
    Torino and Ragusa are among my favorite chocolate bars. I especially like the new small “friends” size, very clever.

    Reply
  • Who doesn’t love a chocolate factory, thanks for sharing such a thorough break down of how this one works, it’s definitely on the list for my kids! Great blog!

    Reply
  • Looks fascinating! Thank you for your thoughtful advice and terrific photos.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Kate, for your comment! You´re so nice (I know your photos are million times better than mine 😉 )

      Reply
  • […] On our way back to Bern,  we passed by the Chez Camille Bloch, a new opening chocolate factory only 20 min/17 km from Mont Soleil!! Being already late, we didn’t have time to stop. Please have a look of how your day could look like when visiting Chez Camille, by AdinaJustina ⇒ A delicious experience: Chez Camille Bloch […]

    Reply

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