For almost a century, Ricola has been producing their famous herbal candies in the town of Laufen, just 20 minutes from Basel, and exporting them to 45 countries around the world. You have surely seen them, tasted them, or have heard the voice yodeling “Riicolaa!” in their highly recognizable television and radio adverts that have been broadcast since 1993.
The Ricola sweets factory was founded in Laufen in 1930 by baker and confectioner Emil Wilhelm Richterich together with Daniel Ruoss Sr., establishing the Confiseriefabrik Richterich & Co. Laufen, and to this day, the company is led by the Richterich family. In 1946, the company was renamed “Ricola,” which was derived from the first two letters in each word—RIchterich & COmpanie LAufen—to avoid confusion with another company of the same name in Laufen. In 1940, Richterich invented the original herb drops after researching the healing properties of herbs and experimenting with his own mixtures. While the active ingredient in most Ricola products is menthol, an important part of Ricola products derives from the classic blend of 13 herbs, a recipe that has remained virtually unchanged since the beginning.
The herbs used to produce Ricola’s cough drops are cultivated in natural plantations in the Swiss mountains in accordance with strict organic (BioSuisse) guidelines. Ricola also has six show gardens in Switzerland that are open to the public, where visitors can learn about the original herbal blend in their natural environment and learn all about the cultivation and power of herbs.
In 2021, Ricola opened the “Ricola Adventure Trail” in Arosa, in cooperation with Arosa Tourism. At 10 interactive stations along the 3-km path, visitors can find out all about bees, herbs, and the candy-making process.
And at the end of May this year, Ricola opened their first adventure shop in Switzerland. Right in Laufen’s old town, at Amthausgasse 3, visitors can follow the traces of herbal sweets. On the ground floor, guests can look forward to a unique shopping experience with special offers and a “Pick & Mix” station, where they can put together their favorite sweets in different flavors. Types of candy from other countries that are not otherwise available in Switzerland can also be purchased here. On the upper floors, visitors can learn more about the history of the family business. In an interactive exhibit, they can discover how the herbs get processed and turned into the Ricola candy. Finally, visitors have the unique opportunity to create their own type of candy and learn interesting facts about herb cultivation. The new Ricola Erlebnisshop will regularly hold events and workshops where visitors can watch the professionals cook the candy from herbs. Combine your visit with a trip to the Kräutergarten (herb garden) in nearby Nenzlingen and the “Kräuterzentrum” (herb center) in Laufen, for a comprehensive experience for the whole family.