Swiss confectionery king Richard Spruengli dies aged 97

Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:57am EDT
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ZURICH (Reuters) - Richard Spruengli, Switzerland's confectionery king and creator of the "Luxemburgerli" bite-sized macaroons beloved by Swiss bankers, has died aged 97, his family announced on Wednesday.

Part of a dynasty of confectioners who helped seal Switzerland's reputation for producing premium chocolate, Spruengli took over the eponymous family patisserie on Zurich's upmarket Paradeplatz in 1956.

He masterminded the cafe's flagship mini macaroons which have drawn bankers and tourists through the cafe doors for more than 50 years.

In 1994, Spruengli handed control of the family business to a sixth generation of confectioners, his nephews Milan and Tomas Prenosil.

The cafe, across the square from the headquarters of Credit Suisse and a stone's throw from UBS, remains a favoured breakfast haunt for Zurich financiers.

The family ran the Paradeplatz cafe, opened in 1859, in tandem with a chocolate factory on the banks of Lake Zurich until 1892 when the business was divided between two brothers.

The younger brother took the Spruengli cafe business while the older acquired the factory, which later became premium chocolate producer Lindt & Spruengli, the maker of Lindor pralines and gold foil-wrapped chocolate Easter bunnies.

The two businesses have operated as independent companies since the split.

A family announcement in the Tages Anzeiger newspaper said Spruengli died last Friday.

(Reporting by Alice Baghdjian; Editing by David Cowell)