Both companies are located in Morges, between Geneva and Lausanne.
Fornerod has been producing chocolate in the town since 1965; Eurolactis was created in 2008.
The chocolate is named Quartier des Ânes, which roughly translates as the Donkey Quarter, or Donkey District.
And there’s a local history reason for this, Eurolactis founder Pierluigi Christophe Orunesu told DairyReporter.
“My office is located 200m from the Fornerod factory, in the same street,” Orunesu explained.
“When I was looking in the city archives, I noticed that we were living in the Donkey District. Donkeys brought milk to the milk factory in the 19th Century, right here. So we live in Quartier des Ânes, and we wanted to use this for our chocolate!”
A rare chocolate
The new chocolate is designed to be exclusive, from the content through to the design.
Beatrice Fornerod, from Confiserie Fornerod, which includes a tea room, factory and store and employs 40 people, told DairyReporter that the company makes and sells a variety of chocolate products, with different ingredients, in milk, dark and white varieties – and now donkey milk chocolate.
“It’s a rare chocolate because of the donkey milk, but it also tastes good,” Fornerod said.
Orunesu said, “In the history of the Swiss chocolate industry, it is the first time that a master chocolatier has created a non-bovine bar of milk chocolate. It's a very big innovation.”
He added that the product took some time to develop, and that it requires a large quantity of donkey milk powder to create.
“You can order one ton of bovine milk in 24 hours, you cannot order one ton of donkey milk in 24 hours,” he said.
Orunesu added that it's a semi-industrial process, but that as this was still an artisan chocolate, it took time, and donkey milk is more challenging to use.
Donkey milk has different properties to cow’s milk.
Orunesu noted that donkey milk proteins are very close to human breast milk, and the milk is high in Omega 3 and 6. It is also non-allergenic.
“We've kept 95% of the value of the milk inside,” Orunesu said.
“It's a milk chocolate, but it seems like a dark chocolate. It has the sweet of the milk chocolate, but it has the dietary aspects of dark chocolate.”
He said it’s a good product for those with milk allergies.
“Sometimes you find chocolate focused on certain health requirements, but it doesn't taste good,” Orunesu said.
“This is a healthy chocolate that is still a chocolate.”
The packaging utilizes a donkey motif, and was designed to look somewhat like a cigar box.
“We wanted to give it a privileged look,” Fornerod said.
Orunesu added, “I think we have the most beautiful packaging. Then there are then the health claims, but the front, it is very important to be different.”
Donkeys produce less milk
Available at the chocolatier in Morges, Quartier des Ânes is also available online and will be sold through a network of high level stores in Europe, then Asia and the US.
A 25g bar costs around €9 ($9.53) per bar, which Orunesu says is not only related to its exclusivity, but also to the availability of donkey milk.
“A donkey gives two liters per day. A cow gives 30-40, so the ratio is normal.”