Bittersweet—that’s the perfect taste of a Schokokuss, a chocolate coated marshmallow treat, literally translated as chocolate kiss. The baker and food technician is the fourth generation in his family to run the Eugen Trauth & Söhne confectionery business in Herxheim in the southern Palatinate and has been managing it since 2018. Some 20,000 portions of Schokokuss roll off the production line on an average day, ending up on the sales counter directly afterwards. It couldn’t get any fresher.

Daniel Trauth is always carrying a box of Schokokuss sweets with him when he leaves home. No matter whether he is heading for the bank or the barber shop, he can’t leave without the red box with the oversized Schokokuss depicted on the lid and with the creamy delicacies inside. Daniel used to be the hero even at his friends’ children’s birthday parties with these sweet gifts when he was a boy. It never occurred to him that you could consider this a bribe. Until a woman from Herxheim told him at the company’s 100th anniversary somewhat disconcerted about an indignant tax official who strongly refused to accept the box. Daniel still can’t leave without taking a box anyway. “It’s just a must,” he says and smiles. Today is no exception. All suppliers leave the factory with one of the characteristic boxes.


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Behind the scenes of Schokokuss production—paying a visit to the confectionary factory. Song: Lukrembo: Brunch

Daniel has been managing the Eugen Trauth & Söhne confectionery business since 2018. He is the fourth generation in Herxheim near Landau to produce one product in particular—Schokokuss sweets. He describes the perfect specimen as follows: the chocolate is shiny, crunchy and somewhat bitter and the cream is compact, yet fluffy and sweet, of course. Some 20,000 portions of the fluffy treat roll off the production line in Herxheim on an average day. What is special about it? The Eugen Trauth & Söhne Schokokuss sweets are only available directly from the factory and fresh of the day. The sweet meringue is still warm in some cases, when the red boxes cross the sales counter.

Select and fresh of the day Trauth Schokokuss sweets are only available in Herxheim.

Daniel and his ten employees get started at six o’clock in the morning so that the first chocolate coated marshmallow treats can go on sale at nine o’clock. They heat the liquid sugar, mix it with refined sugar and prepare the sugar mass and egg whites until frothy. They used to mix the egg whites, which arrive at the factory in powder form, by hand. “That took two to three hours every day,” Daniel recalls the process. His first purchase as the new boss was therefore the beating machine, which has since taken over this strenuous task. Piping, the process of spraying the meringue onto the wafer, has also been automated. Despite all the automation, there is still a lot of manual labour involved in the chocolate coated marshmallow treat from Herxheim. Mocha beans and rum pralines are placed on the beaten egg white portions by hand, for example. They then receive a chocolate coating and go through the cooling process. It takes just an hour for the product to be ready for assorting and packaging into the red boxes.

The products are ready for sale on the floor below a few minutes later. It was Daniel’s predecessor, his aunt Marie-Luise, who converted the old garage into a salesroom in the early 1990s bringing the idea for the factory outlet with her from the US. She had taken over the family business in 1986. “It took a long time for it to become profitable,” says her nephew today. “But we are now doing very well with it.”

They are a special treat when they are fresh and still a little warm

Daniel Trauth

Cars with licence plates from all over Germany, sometimes even from Austria and Switzerland, park in the courtyard of the confectionery factory, even though Eugen Trauth & Söhne does not advertise. Many customers buy for their entire circle of friends and leave the salesroom with eight, nine or ten boxes. Daniel’s great-grandfather Eugen, who founded the company in 1911, originally sold his confectionery to showmen throughout the region. “We still get asked about the Magenbrot specialty today,” says his great-grandson and laughs, “even though it hasn’t been around for over 25 years.”

His aunt not only sold the two lorries that the company used for the delivery of its goods. She also reduced the product range and cut it back further and further in favour of the chocolate coated marshmallow treat. Her successor continued along this vein and also got rid of the Easter bunnies and Santas. Two huge metal moulds adorning the salesroom give you an idea of how strenuous it must have been to make the 400-gram figures. All that has remained is coconut macaroons, rum truffles and ginger and orange sticks. And, of course, the ‘chocolate kisses’.

Daniel Trauth was helping in sales as early as age ten.

The factory has four varieties in its range: chocolate, coconut, mocha and rum. They are only sold in boxes of 25 and only in single flavours. Although many customers would like mixed boxes. “That’d be a huge amount of extra work,” Daniel explains. “We’re too small to realise that.” The factory is as old as the company itself and provides space for exactly one production line. Daniel has been working there since 2006 and had been helping in sales as early as age ten. “I have always been a person, who enjoys working and works a lot.” He is a trained baker like his grandfather and great-grandfather. And he also trained as a food technician in Kaiserslautern.

Chocolate, coconut, mocha or rum—Trauth Schokokuss is available only in pure variety boxes.

All Schokokuss sweets sold over the counter in Herxheim are no older than three days. The recipe for the speciality was provided in the 1930s by a master confectioner employed by the company founder. It has changed again and again over the years. First, the fat icing was replaced with chocolate. Daniel also did away with gelatine. The current varieties are made of no more than sugar, egg white, agar agar, chocolate from the Saarland and wafers from Bavaria.

The small factory in Herxheim provides space for exactly one production line.

The fragile sweet is best stored at a temperature of 16 to 18 degrees. Daniel himself likes the Schokokuss best after two to three days. “But they are also a special treat when they are fresh and still a little warm.” It happens that the boss eats six a day. Coconut used to be his favourite, but he has come to not commit himself to one variety anymore. The peak season for the sweet begins in September. Up to 500 litres of egg white are transformed into the creamy meringue in a single day during this season. In summer, however, Daniel has to reduce production. The factory even closes for a few weeks when it gets particularly hot.

It’s a real treat!

It is down to Marie-Luise, that ‘chocolate kiss’ has been the meaning of the frothy confectionery’s name since the turn of the millennium at Eugen Trauth & Söhne. This was new in Germany, replacing the previously used derogatory name, which was widespread at the time. “It took us some time to absorb the new name,” says her nephew in full support of his predecessor’s decision. His Schokokuss sweets are not at all intended to offend anyone, but instead to delight anybody who loves great and so fresh confectionary.


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