Berner Mandelbärli AG

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Weyermannsstrasse 24
CH-3000 Bern 5
Canton of Bern
Switzerland

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Exhibitor profile

THE LIGHT AND AIRY SPONGE CAKE

These sweet ambassadors from Bern are the edible counterpart to the Bernese heraldic animal and – just like the former town guard – the «protectors» of the city of Bern. Read on to learn about the slightly tongue in cheek history of the Bernese almond bear.
The origin of the Bernese almond bear dates back to the year 1596, as ....

... the inspiration for the creation of the Bernese almond bear was the traditional relief decoration which shows the bears dancing around the hour bell of the Church of the Holy Ghost (Heiliggeistkirche), cast in the year 1596. The symbol of parading bears, which symbolises the former town guard, is also found at the Zytgloggenturm.
However at that time of course no almond bears were being made. Not even at the time of our next milestone, as we make a leap in time from the end of the Middle Ages to the time of the French Revolution, when ...

... in 1798 French revolutionary forces invaded Switzerland. There was little resistance, Bern alone tried to resist the occupation. The Bernese troops were decisively defeated in March 1798 at the Battle of Grauholz. The French Revolutionary Army soldiers christened the three living Bernese bears in the Bear Pit with the names of patricians and led them in a humiliating triumphal procession through a defeated Bern. In 1798 when the French led the bears out of Bern, they did not yet know that these would become an export hit almost 200 years later ...
... because 191 years later, and this much is known already, the first Bernese almond bear was produced. But one by one, and this continued up until the late 19th century, then ...

... for the first time metal molds were used and were filled with chocolate. Around 1870 Friedrich Anton Reiche founded a factory for plating tin in Dresden. Reiche's chocolate molds are some of the most famous in the world and today are collector's items. Looking at order books from the years 1906 to 1914 it is clear that all the big confectionery manufacturers were customers of Anton Reiche – e.g. Lindt, Suchard and Tobler in Switzerland.
The actual concept of the Bernese almond bear dates back to Anton Reiche's first chocolate bear mold from the year 1914, because ...

... when 75 years later the baker's Glatz Confiseur AG, celebrated their 125th company anniversary in 1989, they naturally wanted to create a new and very special product to celebrate this occasion. At the same time they came across these old chocolate bear molds and the master confectioner's brilliant idea was to fill these molds with a cake mixture instead of chocolate and subsequently to bake them.

The bakers and confectioners at Glatz created – under the leadership of master confectioner Peter Kollöffel – the light and airy Bernese almond bears, which are now available in 12 flavours : original vanilla (gluten and lactose free available too), chocolate, Irish cream, cappuccino, blueberry, pistachio, honey, coconut, chestnut, strawberry and Christmas cinnamon.
Over the years not only the flavours of the almond bears have been continuously refined, but also the bear molds have been adapted and optimised, until we now have today's almond bear shape.
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