If Italy and chocolate are two of your favorite things, then you’ll think all of your birthdays have come at once on our Milan to Lake Como day trip.

Our day trip delivers spectacular scenery and rich, gorgeous chocolate by the bucketload. We’ll take you to the town known as “the pearl of Lake Como”, Bellagio, and cross the border, into the Swiss alpine town of Lugano.

Along with exploring the lake region of Northern Italy, which we will do from the best vantage point of all: the water, you’ll have some free time to explore Bellagio. Make sure you save your appetite for the crossing into Lugano. There’ll be plenty of chocolate shops to tempt you with a little bit of retail therapy. We list our favorites here in this blog post.

The history of Swiss chocolate

lake como

The story of Swiss chocolate begins in 1875. Daniel Peter, a Swiss confectioner, spent time experimenting with cacao beans and sugar. One day, he invented a recipe for a velvety smooth, solid milk chocolate bar using condensed milk. (Guess who had invented the condensed milk? Daniel Peter’s neighbor, Henri Nestlé. Yes, of that famous Nestlé brand.) And the Swiss chocolate industry was born.

Although Swiss chocolate may use ingredients that are grown and manufactured outside of Switzerland, the production of the chocolate takes place within Swiss borders. Switzerland’s chocolates enjoy their famous reputation for the precision with which confectioners craft the country’s famous chocolate brands.

Läderach chocolates in Lugano

laderach chocolates

Rows of melt-in-your-mouth chocolate are waiting for you

Swiss chocolates, in general, are a byword for high quality, but Läderach chocolates are extra special.

The Läderach family started producing chocolates in 1962. Today, even though the business has an international presence in various countries, Läderach chocolates are still owned and run by the younger generation of the Läderach family. The Läderach store can be found on Via Pessina 17 in Lugano.

The Läderach chocolate brand is famous for artisanal chocolates that look like mini works of art. And taste like them too! In particular, their FrischSchoggi (literally “fresh chocolate”) couverture (a term for chocolate that uses extra cocoa butter for a high sheen) is a creation to behold. Beautiful, smooth chocolate filled with nuts, fresh fruits and honeycomb. Purchase a few of your favorites to be packaged so prettily you almost won’t want to open it and eat the chocolates. Almost...

Ricigiliano in Lugano

pasticerria chocolates

Pasticceria Ricigiliano, located on Corso Elvezia 5, in Lugano is a chocolatier, pastry shop and tea room. In other words, be prepared for a very sweet afternoon when you visit this enchanting store.

There’s plenty of opportunities to melt your credit card when you shop here. Not only are there trays and trays of beautifully crafted, and presented, chocolate truffles, there are also cakes that you can buy and take home with you.

Ricigiliano is as famous for its panettone and fresh fruit torte as it is for its chocolate champagne truffles. Yes, that’s right, we did say chocolate champagne truffles. Lugano might just be a little spot of heaven on earth.

Vanini Swiss chocolates

vanini chocolate shop in lugano

Vanini makes no secret of the fact that their brand purpose is to make people feel happy and they do this through the delicious medium of chocolate. The chief ingredient in their chocolates, since the brand was founded in 1871, is love.

You’d be forgiven for thinking this is some clever marketing until you try a Vanini chocolate. As angels dance on your tongue, it becomes very clear that Vanini must use ingredients other than cocoa beans and sugar to make their chocolate wares.

And what a lot of chocolates you’ll have to choose from! The pralines come in 26 different flavors, and each praline is individually hand-crafted and filled. That’s how dedicated Vanini is to its chocolates.

Then there are the dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate truffles. Vanini urges you to eat your truffles the moment you purchase them to ensure that you get the maximum benefit of the fresh flavors. We’re more than happy to oblige!

And then there are the chocolate bars, which come in two sizes. Call us greedy, but we’ll take the larger bars every time.

Vanini chocolates can be found on Via Cinque Giornate in Lugano.

Lindt chocolates just outside Lugano

lindt chocolate

Just outside of the town of Lugano, on Via Angelo Maspoli in Mendriso, is a shop to tantalize us all. The Lindt shop!

This store is an ode to all things chocolate. Lindt is one of the most famous of the Swiss chocolate brands, and people visit this shop from all corners of the globe.

Shelves of brightly wrapped chocolates will welcome you in. Word to the wise, if you have children with you, a lot of the chocolates are at the perfect height for younger chocolate aficionados.

Choosing chocolates is half the fun (the other half is most definitely eating them) and Lindt offers more chocolates than you could ever want. Or need.

Swiss chocolates to end your Milan to Lake Como day trip

Your day trip from Milan to Lake Como is a day designed to delight in the pleasures of life. Beautiful landscapes and lakes, time spent in the stunning town of Bellagio, and then a border crossing into the town of Lugano for a chocolate experience second to none.

This is a visual and taste bud feast you definitely don’t want to miss.