Rodolphe Lindt was successful with his chocolat fondant – and gained the recognition of noble Bernese society. They all ordered his chocolat fondant. And kept on ordering more. But they waited. Patiently at the beginning. Then irritated later. And ultimately furious. His old factory, down by the Aare, was much too small; it creaked and groaned.
And what did Rodolphe Lindt do?
But all that didn't bother him: He enjoyed his life, hunting, at vernissages, in parlours. Sold the chocolat fondant to the noble daughters at boarding schools in Neuenburg and Berne. He only went to the factory when he felt like it. And he accepted the offer from the confectioner Jean Tobler to ensure even fuller order books for Lindt as a travelling salesman.
Thank you but no
At the same time, everyone was trying to uncover his secret, but fortunately they were unsuccessful. And so the offers came. The secret recipe was worth an audacious three million marks to a German company. But hand it over? Rodolphe Lindt rejected the offer.
In the mid-1890s, his small factory was ready for demolition; modernisation was vital. And there was the pressing question of how to reduce the pile of orders. Rodolphe Lindt's forehead started to show the first signs of worry. And they were precisely the things that caused him to meet a man who had travelled especially from Zurich to meet him.
Knowledge of people
It was the spring of 1898. Almost twenty years after the invention of the chocolat fondant. In Olten, half way to Zurich: That was where Rodolphe Lindt met this man who was famous for his own chocolate, but much more so for his entrepreneurial spirit. This man knew: Rodolphe Lindt would have to be able to continue to tinker and, which was just as important, have a say in what happened to his chocolat fondant.
So he suggested to Lindt that he buy the brand off him. And this brilliant secret of the conching as well. For a good price, obviously, and with a say in what happened, of course, and without obligations. And yes, also the employees of Lindtsche Berner Fabrik – they would all be taken over.
The rest is history. Today, you would call it a classic win-win situation. After all, each one of them got exactly what he wanted to get from the other one: here the manufacturer and wealthy businessman from Zurich; there the creator of the chocolat fondant and holder of the secret recipe from Berne. They had an inkling, but didn't yet know for sure: The company was about to embark on an unparalleled success story.
When Rodolphe Lindt revealed the secret to Sprüngli junior and senior, they were both highly amazed – and sworn to secrecy. The secret was placed in a safe, where it remains today. And very soon, chocolat fondant was produced in a modern factory in Kilchberg near Zurich. For unauthorised persons, it was "No entry".
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