If you attended the Northwest Chocolate Festival recently you wouldn’t have seen Hans Riechsteiner there. That’s because the former long-time owner of Arosa Café, known for their delectable waffles and hot chocolate, was busy opening his tiny shop, Ascona Chocolate Suisse, in Madison Valley. As one might expect from the Swiss gentlemen, the chocolates in the shop are all imported from Switzerland—and are silky smooth and decadent.
I stopped in yesterday to try the chocolates and chat with Riechsteiner who said he’s always wanted a chocolate shop—and that his wife was tired of making waffles; she made 750,000 of them in 20 years.
Aside from Arosa Café, he spent many years in the import business, bringing products from Aui Fine Foods to pastry chefs, a job that kept him in the car too much.
Now in his tiny shop on Madison Avenue, he presides over 34 flavors, and is the only person in the city selling Swiss Laderach chocolates retail. With the minimalist, white decor the chocolates in the glass case really pop.
Among some of the choices: champagne, dark chocolate, extra dark chocolate, nougatine, pistachio, dulce de leche, passion fruit, cardamom, chai, ginger, chocolate orange, Calvados (red and heart-shaped). He currently even has Halloween- and Thanksgiving-themed chocolates, imprinted with turkeys and pumpkins. He plans to include holiday specific chocolates throughout the year – and can also customize images on chocolates (a nice idea for weddings, birthdays and other occasions).