Tradition meets innovation

French Chocolatier Schaal Wins European Candy Kettle Award 2018

There are quite many good chocolatiers in France, but only a few of them are exceptional. One of these modern and innovative companies is Chocolatier Schaal in Strasbourg. The owner Jean-Paul Burrus finds a perfect mixture between traditional French pralines – and with his team of 700 people in development, production and logistics, he manages to produce over 1,200 products.

A family business like in the 1950s but with a modern structure and the best sense of quality, innovation and tradition. This is the idea Jean-Paul Burrus and his team hold of what makes the life worth living. I have visited many production facilities and have had the honour to try and taste many different kinds of chocolate, pralines and other confectionery and yet it is always a new and interesting feeling to sense the culture and philosophy that a company aims to transport within their products.

It was obvious that Jean-Paul was proud to receive the European Candy Kettle Award 2018. Proud not only to win it as a personal point in his career. But proud about what his team developed over the past years. Especially logistic-wise. In the chocolate department alone, over 200 employees produce an unwieldy amount of quality products. That’s why the company invested several million Euros in a fully automated high bay storage.

Production logistics is the key

We had the chance to have a look into the production. The production logistics seems to be the biggest challenge. Compared to other European chocolate confectionery manufacturers the production lines themselves are quite old-fashioned. Even more, it is incredible how the staff manages it all, and therefore it was only appropriate that Jean-Paul took his team with him on stage when he received the award, to share the applause of the guests and friends as well as the club members and their partners.

About SALPA group

Located close to Strasbourg, SALPA (Société Alsacienne de Participations Agro- alimentaires) is a holding company born from the 1997 merger of the Compagnie Française de Chocolaterie et de Confiserie (CFCC) and the Chocolat et Confiserie de Luxe (CCL), two companies initially founded by Paul Burrus, inspired purchaser of the chocolate brands Schaal, Salavin and Marquise de Sévigné. As pioneers of chocolate, the Burrus family has been passing on innovation and expertise for three generations since 1912.

Jean-Paul Burrus, Paul’s son, extended the product range by taking the Cofféa brand (since sold), which specialized in the sale of tea, coffee and chocolate, and integrating it into the future Holding SALPA. The foundations of a large family group were therefore laid. Since then, the group has expanded into chocolate thanks to acquisitions of cocoa plantations in Ecuador and of the company Excellence/Yves Thuriès; it has expanded into tea with the creation of the Herbapac company and the acquisition of Comptoir Français du Thé and into coffee with the acquisition of Belco.

With chocolate especially, SALPA form part of the elite of a profession of aficionados, mastering the various links in the chain, from the cultivation of raw materials (such as cocoa and hazelnuts) to the manufacture and distribution of chocolate delicacies.

Nine tea, coffee and chocolate companies are thereby helping to promote the best of taste and delicacy among demanding professionals and savvy consumers. High quality products are distributed in gourmet shops in France and abroad, as well as in a network of 70 stores.

SALPA group’s approach is based around three pillars: first and foremost, teams passionate about their products and proud to put their talents to work for their company; then, mastering its sources of raw materials to meet quality requirements; finally, using innovation to benefit clients, accompanied by both quality of service and the performance of their teams and tools. In keeping with this strategy, in 2014 the SALPA group acquired a plantation of 540 hectares of cocoa trees in Ecuador, which has become the group’s primary source supplying cocoa. Acquisition followed by major investments in the mechanization of plantations, working conditions and the construction of buildings for its employees. In parallel, the group has invested nearly 13 million Euros to modernize its historic Schaal Chocolatier site and has introduced a fully automated logistics centre with a capacity of 6,800 pallets.

For 140 years, Schaal Chocolatier have guaranteed fine food lovers a tradition of excellence and high professional standards. Heritage, diversity and innovation lie at the heart of their first class expertise, benefiting chocolate and pastry-making experts alike. Located close to Strasbourg, Schaal Chocolatier are present in every segment of the profession:

  • Seeking out the best raw materials from the group’s plantations – cocoa beans from Ecuador, French hazelnuts from the orchards of the Southwest;
  • Manufacturing their unique coating, developed in the workshop;
  • Manufacturing pralines in copper vats using traditional methods, with almonds and hazelnuts being roasted in caramel to refine the taste;
  • Using improved sugar coating and extra-fine shells to transcend flavour combinations;
  • Renewing their chocolate confectionery range with 30 innovations each year.

When inspired, the customer can become the creator of recipes; when accompanied, he or she can be sure to benefit from a wide, regularly updated range of sweets and chocolate dragées. Finely made, tasty and delicate, these great value chocolates can be appreciated in retail stores in France and throughout the world. Beyond the Easter and Christmas periods, Schaal Chocolatier develop their expertise by seeking out new trends in “chocolate attitude” – quality and festive snacking and snacking on the move, as well as searching for cocoas of diverse origins.

Take a look at the company at