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The official excuse to indulge in our Paris’ finger-licking good chocolate tour!

chocolate

The meaning:   chocolatier = master chocolate maker

The history:

The French do take their chocolate seriously! With more gourmet chocolate shops in Paris than in any other city in the world, master artisan chocolatiers have never stopped amazing or delighting us with their extraordinary chocolate creations. From high-end old-time chocolatiers to independent artisans rethinking old-fashioned recipes and competing in creativity, Paris has become a chocolate lover’s paradise of sorts! Distinguished for its superiority and originality, dark chocolate is one of French chocolate artisans’ specialties, as are ganaches: chocolates with rich, velvety centers. Let Paris’ cocoa experts and their succulent creations take your taste buds on a journey of discovery, as romantic as it could get…

The must-tries:

For a taste of a world-famous traditional ganache, head straight to La Maison du Chocolat. Those on the fun-loving side should give a chance to Michel Chaudun’s chocolate “sausages”. Savvy collectors can stuff their bags with chocolate memorabilia, including Jospehine Vannier’s chocolate masks and mini-grand pianos, Michel Chaudun’s (slightly cheaper than the original) chocolate Hermès Kelly bags or Rochoux’s sweet garden gnomes, bronze emperors’ busts or exotic animals that promise not to bite! You’re in it for the flavour? Then go wild with Paris’ imaginatively flavoured ganaches: Pierre Hermé’s orange and balsamic vinegar, Rochoux’s basil ganache, or Marcolini’s refreshing thyme-orange, Earl Grey tea and violet. For more unusual stuff, sample Richart’s star anise, fennel and curry or Christian Constant’s ganaches scented with jasmine, ylang-ylang and verbena.

The curious fact:

Consider yourself a classics’ lover who would only order what the “celebrities” before him did? Then go dip your pinkie in the divine flavours of Debauve & Gallais, Paris’ oldest chocolate shop and a gorgeous historical monument of 200 years ago, where Balzac, Proust and Brillat-Savarin went to satisfy their cocoa cravings…

Some like it hot:

If you’d rather enjoy a cup of decadent hot chocolate in the company of your beau or belle, Angelina’s belle époque salon located under the archways of the posh Rue Rivoli might be your thing! Their specialty is the velvety “African” hot chocolate, which teams well with their most popular dessert, the Mont Blanc, an island of meringue topped with whipped cream and sweet chestnut. Prepare for long queues, though, and preferably go during the week!

Not to be missed:

For a really personal chocolate-related experience, visit the shop of the sweetest woman in Paris! With her plaited pig-tails, necktie and pleated kilt, it’s always a pleasure to come across Madame Denise Acabo, famous all over the world as an authority figure in all chocolate matters. In her charming shop “A L’Etoile d’Or” on 30, Rue Pierre Fontaine, she will charm you with her bright and informative descriptions of each bonbon in her vast collection featuring a variety of chocolates from France’s best artisans. Another unique and unusual place to pay a chocolate pilgrimage to would be the chocolateries of Patrick Roger. On his eccentric shop windows huge chocolate sculptures raise awareness of animal species on the brink of extinction profits from the sales of which are donated to numerous charities.  This year’s highlight, the hippopotamus (at 7 m in length and 4 tons in weight), was all carved by hand and took about a year to complete!

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