A family

The history of the Rohr house traces back to March 1st, 1936...

The history of the Rohr house traces back to March 1st, 1936, when Hans Rohr, a young chocolatier, acquired the business of his former employer situated on Boulevard du Pont-d’Arve in Geneva.

From a young age, Hans Rohr harbored a passion for chocolate-making and confectionery. Hailing from Aargau, he initially ventured to St. Gallen before being drawn to the cosmopolitan allure of Geneva, where he decided to try his luck. Securing an apprenticeship at a small shop located at 44 Boulevard du Pont-d’Arve, he undertook the entire journey by bicycle, as it proved more economical than travelling by train.

His employer then passed the reins to him, appreciating his strong work ethic, frugality, and a touch of boldness.

Each evening, leftover cakes are distributed to those in need.

To kickstart their confectionery and pastry shop, Hans and his young wife devised what would be considered “mailing” today: they personally wrote cards and delivered them to mailboxes in Plainpalais.

Their daily routine involved producing fresh merchandise to ensure its quality. To prevent waste and ensure their efforts were not in vain, any unsold pastries were donated to hospitals, asylums, and the Salvation Army.

"Better to give to the poor
than waste away,"
said Hans

1940–1960: The Birth of a Chocolatier

Gradually, the pastry shop gained popularity, and both the house and the family expanded with the birth of their second son, Henri, in 1944. In 1950, Hans took a bold step by opening a branch in the heart of Geneva, at Place du Molard. He continued to offer pastries there, and the exciting news was that he started crafting chocolates.

By 1952, owing to his success, he made a significant shift and focused entirely on chocolate production. Chocolate proved to be more thrilling than cupcakes and also a more commercially viable venture, given the esteemed reputation of Swiss chocolate.

The image of the chocolatier swiftly replaced that of the pastry chef. In 1960, another pivotal moment came when he abandoned his outlet at Pont-d’Arve and established a modern production facility in Carouge. It was a small yet technologically advanced unit that allowed the artisan-creator to personalise his chocolates and sign his creations.

In Henri’s personal and professional journey, a new character played a vital role when she was hired by his father: Sylvia, a young saleswoman from Zurich who had trained with Sprüngli, one of Switzerland’s leading chocolatiers. Henri married her in 1967, and they had two children, Nicole and Roger.

Henri took care of crafting chocolates, refining flavours, and overseeing production, while Sylvia contributed ideas, designed new gift packaging, and managed sales. Concurrently, Henri expanded the Carouge workshop and acquired an arcade in the central gallery in 1972. By then, the house boasted two boutiques and Henri had emerged as a prominent chocolatier in Geneva.

Henri’s specialty lies in truffles and truffled chocolates, particularly dark chocolate, which is a true delight! Collaborating with Sylvia, they ventured into creating unique holiday decorations for occasions like Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, and more.

"People often request original or personalised pieces for family ceremonies," he explains. "I can create bespoke and custom-made items, tailored to their needs and preferences."

1968: Henri, the second son, returned from England and took the helm

His initial creation was dedicated to Sylvia, his muse and inspiration. Among his notable successes are the famous “Geneva dustbins,” which, despite their name not evoking gourmet dreams, originated as a playful jest and continue to be sold with unwavering enthusiasm. His chocolate creations are renowned, including the champagne marc truffles, pralines, florins, and Grand Marnier specialties.

Does chocolate possess a soul? According to Henri Rohr, it does, as he crafts poetry with his chocolate creations.

His reputation extended beyond Geneva, with recognition in Barcelona, London, and Paris among the leading names in chocolate.

1986. The second generation, Henri Rohr, who has a passion for sports such as sailing, piloting planes, and skiing, is also a connoisseur of dark chocolate. However, as customer preferences evolved, they now purchase equal amounts of dark and milk chocolate.

Henri began his training in Basel and further honed his skills with renowned chocolatiers. He spent six months in Barcelona with the renowned Antonio Escriba, followed by stints at the Hilton hotel’s sugar confectionery department in London and an internship in Paris with Tholoniat, a top specialist in drawn and blown sugar. He also gained valuable experience through internships in Interlaken and St. Moritz.

The success of the remains steadfast and continues to flourish! The third generation, Roger and Nicole, have taken up the family business with great pride, now boasting four outlets in Geneva. The newest addition, located in historic Carouge, showcases one of the house’s latest delights: artisanal ice creams.
Adapting to modern times while upholding family traditions, the guiding principles of the second Rohr generation remain unchanged: beauty, excellence, and the art of chocolate making.
Rohr’s artisanal production takes place entirely in its Carouge workshop, churning out approximately 50 tonnes of chocolate each year. However, it is not just about quantity but also about prioritising quality and innovation…