Every day SWISS hands out around 45,000 pieces of the chocolate to its passengers as a small token of gratitude – and to give them a delicious taste of one of Switzerland's most iconic exports.
Chocolate's key ingredient is cocoa beans, which grow in tropical rainforests. The fruit of the cocoa tree are harvested, cut open and covered with banana leaves. The fruit pulp and beans are heated by the sun, which triggers a natural fermentation process that creates chocolate's much loved flavour.
After roasting, the beans are broken, ground and separated into cocoa butter and cocoa powder. This is then enriched with ingredients like sugar and milk powder, milled at temperature, conched, cleansed of any unwanted tannins and finally recombined with the cocoa butter. The result: chocolate.
The enjoyment of chocolate engages all the senses, as does the quality control process. While the weight is checked using scales, the sheen on the chocolate's surface is clearly visible, as is the consistency when the chocolate is broken and bitten into. The flavour and aroma develop as the scent enters the nose and the chocolate melts on the tongue.
The viscosity of the liquid chocolate used to create the SWISS thank-you chocolates is thoroughly checked in the final stage of production. If the consistency is just right, it means all the ingredients have been perfectly blended together during all the various stages to create a refined, smooth chocolate.