For chocolate lovers, the idea that your town would be coated in a light dusting of cocoa, with a lingering scent of chocolate filling the air. It sounds like something right out of a Roald Dahl children’s story, but this exact scenario actually happened in a town called Olten, Switzerland.
Several residents of Olten woke up one morning to find the strange substance all around their town. According to the Associated Press, there was an issue with ventilation at the Lindt & Spruengli chocolate factory as it was roasting cacao nibs. The combination of high winds along with HVAC problems meant that there was a resulting light flurry of cocoa powder around the surrounding streets.
According to a Lindt & Spruengli representative, “one car was lightly covered” and the company offered to pay for cleaning the car and any other property affected. They also clarified that the cocoa dust is not harmful in any way, and that they have taken care of the ventilation problem immediately.
The Lindt & Spruengli factory got off easy, but that was not the case for a chocolate factory in Werl, Germany. In 2018, a “small technical defect,” as described by the company DeiMeister, led a delivery truck to spill a literal ton of liquid chocolate to outpour into the street.
Though we all love chocolate, this led to a huge and problematic mess, as when the chocolate cooled it hardened. That resulted in two dozen firefighters having to use pickaxes and shovels to break up the hardened chocolate and clear it out of the street.
DreiMeister workers then collected the shards of chocolate and carried them away, while the roadway was cleaned with hot water and a roofing torch. Tobias Teutenberg, a resident of Werl, described the ordeal: “A thick mass came out of the door and was moving towards the street. The policewoman at the other end of the line had to laugh a little when I said ‘Something strange is happening here.'”
Though it sounds like any kid’s dream that the streets would be flowing with chocolate, in reality, it leads to quite the logistical nightmare. The residents of Olten were lucky that they were not faced with quite a dramatic situation as the residents of Werl. We wonder what it would be like to wake up to the scent of cocoa around our town would be like.