Food Destinations #3: Confiserie Sprüngli, Zürich
[Update:] Now you can buy Sprüngli chocolates online to be shipped worldwide! See the Shop page for details.
My entry for Food Destinations #3, hosted by Emily of Chocolate in Context, is, rather predictably maybe, the best known confectionery, pastry and chocolate store in Z&;uuml;rich, Confiserie Spr&;uuml;ngli. Even though it has multiple locations throughout the city, including 4 stores at Kloten airport for last-minute gifts to chocolate hungry friends in other countries, the quality is always very high and totally reliable. The blue-and-white Sprüngli packaging has a certain cachet in Zürich as well as much of the rest of Switzerland - it's a guarantee of something delicious within.
Since I've described Sprüringli briefly previously, this time I'll concentrate on the chocolates. Sprüngli specializes in pralines and truffes, hand-dipped chocolates with various fillings. The best known truffes may be the truffe du jour, hand-dipped milk or dark chocolate truffles made of fresh cream with no preservatives. For this reason they have clear signs everywhere telling you that you must eat these truffles the day you purchase them. Most people have no problems with that.
They do sell more sturdy chocolates that will last for a week or so (though it is recommended that you do not hoard them, since chocolate does deteriorate.) Their assorted chocolates come in all sizes, from small boxes called Lilliputs with tiny bite-sized truffles or pralines, to large, multi-tiered boxes. The Lilliputs are very handy as gifts-from-Switzerland since they are small and compact. They will also sell you their chocolates by the piece, and none of the unfailingly polite ladies behind the counter will even blink if you order just one.
A fairly new entry into their truffle lineup is the extraordinary Cru Sauvage, made from wild cacao beans harvested in Bolivia (or so the pamphlet says). Intensely chocolately and creamy, they are about as close to a chocolate orgasm as you can get. The Cru Sauvage is only available for a few months during the year, so if they aren't around, the next best would be the Grand Cru truffles.
Other offerings include kirsch-soaked cherried dipped in chocolate, which many people swear by, and premium chocolate bars made in-house. They also make some adorable molded chocolates, like milk-and-white chocolate cows or teddy bears. (My stepfather is addicted to the cows.) During the Christmas season, they sell a chocolate bar with cinnamon in it, which is quite addictive. They also carry chocolate bars from other companies such as Lindt, but I would avoid those since you can get the same from other places such as supermarkets. They have also started offering chocolate and wine pairings.
About the only thing you can't get at Confiserie Sprüngli are chocolate for cooking, or couveture - for that, I go to Schwarzenbach, which should be your second chocolate destination in Zürich.
Incidentally, Confiserie Sprüngli has no relation to the chocolate manufacturing giant Lindt & Sprüngli; as their web site explains they parted company more than 100 years ago. So the Lindt chocolate shops now invading shopping malls in the U.S. are operated by the latter. As far as I know, Confiserie Spr&uum;ngli, unlike their rivals Teuscher, hasn't opened any stores outside of Switzerland. They do however ship overseas - see the page for details.
Confiserie Sprüngli locations. (The web site erroneously says Sales Outlets, making them sound like discount/remainder places! They are all boutiques with a full lineup of products.) Paradeplatz is the main store, with a restaurant on the upper floor, but many other locations also have places to sit and eat too.