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Sweet Surprise Text: Anicée Gaddis

Photography: Courtesy of Alice Chocolates

If chocolate was a place you could travel to then Alice Chocolates would be the ultimate Shangri-La. New York Branding mavericks Michael Felber and Steven Mark Klein landed on a formula to restore the roots of the world’s favorite delicacy to top-shelf, tastemaker status. Teaming up with a family whose grandfather opened his first chocolate store in 1919, the partners’ artisanal approach and organic, on-site recipe – Alice Chocolates are produced in a glacial valley overlooking the Alps in

Bern, Switzerland – are the essence of old school luxe. The unparalleled purity of Alice Chocolates leaves even the most refined palette pleading for more. Compare the Alice bar, composed of 68% Dark Wild Amazonian Crillo with a twist of sugar and the absence of any stabilizers or additives, to a Lindt, Toblerone or even, heaven forbid, a Hershey’s bar and the difference is too vast to traverse in this lifetime. Add to that the über elegant, sliding case matchbox packaging, a namesake

nod to some of the most famous “Alices” of our time, including Alice B. Toklas, Alice Prin and certainly Lewis Carroll’s worldfamous fairytale nymphet, and you have the full story. Well almost. The larger picture is about more than just producing delectable confections. Klein and Felber are determined not only to restore chocolate to its previous hauteur, but to have their brand join ranks with such luxury marks as Patek Philippe Calatrava, Chanel No 5 and Hèrmes Kelley.


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Sur La Terre spoke with Alice founders Klein and Felber about the highways and byways of the chocolate trade, branding epiphanies and some of life’s finer indulgences.

him the ideal choice. Also, Bern has an amazing history of chocolate making, which was revolutionized there over one hundred years ago by Rudolph Lindt and Jean Tobler (Toblerone).

Sur la Terre: What is the genesis of Alice Chocolates?

SLT: Why do you think Alice Chocolates has the potential to become a luxury brand?

Steven Mark Klein & Mark Felber: The ALICE Debut edition was launched in the spring of 2007 with the objective to create the definitive Swiss chocolate experience. SLT: What is the story behind the factory in Bern where you make your chocolate? How did you come across it? SMK & MF: We have been tasting and researching chocolate around the world and visited some of the most celebrated Swiss manufacturers. Once we met with Hans Tschirren, the third generation maitre chocolatier from Bern, the decision was set to work with him. His expertise and passion for perfection made

SMK & MF: The exceptional quality of the chocolate combined with its Swiss heritage have enjoyed an overwhelming, global response from epicureans, celebrities, and luxury retail stores, including Selfridges in the U.K. and Bergdorf Goodman in New York. SLT: Who is your desired client base? SMK & MF: Anyone who enjoys and appreciates the highest quality of artisanal chocolate. Which includes individuals, hotels, airlines... SLT: How did you first get involved in luxury branding?

SMK & MF: With our New York based brand development group we have for over a decade created comprehensive strategies and designs in a variety of industries, including jewelry, technology and luxury hospitality. SLT: What is one of the most inspiring or challenging branding campaigns you’ve headed to date and why? SMK & MF: The current campaign for Thompson Hotels, titled “Shock of the New,” which is based on high-speed photography using Doc Edgerton’s original equipment. As the headline says, the subject is an ironic statement about renewal and growth. SLT: Where do you see the Alice Chocolates brand in the next five years? SMK & MF: As a member of the international luxury brand pantheon with ALICE branded stores in Zurich, Beijing, Moscow and Tokyo.

SLT: What is one of your favorite indulgences in life? MF: Other than a bar of ALICE CHOCOLATE... it’s a Fondue on the Slopes of Verbier overlooking the Alps. SMK: Sharing a bar of ALICE Swiss Chocolate with Lapo Elkann while sailing in the Ligurian Sea on Gianni Agnelli’s Q sailboat Stealth.

For further information please visit www.alicechocolate.com

Alice  

portrait nod to some of the most famous “Alices” of our time, including Alice B. Toklas, Alice Prin and cer- tainly Lewis Carroll’s world- f...