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World Chocolate Day 2016: How independent Swiss chocolatier Blaise Poyet outsmarted food giant Nestle

In the sleepy town of Vevey, Switzerland, a brave chocolate craftsman took on food giant Nestle and came out tops.

Vevey might be the headquarters of giant food company Nestle, but look beyond the Crunch bars and you’ll see independent chocolatiers like Blaise Poyet, owner of Confiserie Poyet, fighting to gain just a fraction of the corporation’s brand visibility.

“It’s a little of my heart that goes into every chocolate made, and who would want to have their heart stop beating?” – Blaise Poyet

 

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Blaise Poyet, owner of Confiserie Poyet in Vevey, Switzerland

This is a classic example of David vs. Goliath. For Confiserie Poyet, even getting a prominent space in the duty-free section at the airport was a challenge.

“You have to pay forty per cent of the price of every box of chocolates you want to place on their shelves, and even then you don’t get a good space because you are a new brand. Nestle, on the other hand, has the money to easily get top-grade space at the airport,” says Poyet.

(Related: The Peak picked out the top 5 chocolate fudge cakes in Singapore)

So, Poyet fashioned a chocolate after famed comedian Charlie Chaplin, who was born in Vevey, to give weight to his brand.

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The delicate bitter-chocolate pralines filled with caramel and pine nuts are an exact replica of the shoes Chaplin wore in The Gold Rush, and Poyet had his work cut out for him trying to get an official license for his chocolate. “I had to contact all eight of Chaplin’s children who are living all over the world. It was tiring and took a long time. Now, nobody else can make a Chaplin chocolate, not even Nestle,” he laughs.

His reason for the Chaplin chocolate is simple: People today want specialty chocolates. But to Poyet, it is not just a matter of making profits: “It’s a little of my heart that goes into every chocolate made, and who would want to have their heart stop beating?”

 

Confiserie Poyet

Rue du Théâtre 8, 1800 Vevey