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Chocolate Merged Topics


Steve Klc
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The discussion Cabrales started in another thread comparing various famous chocolatiers has gotten me thinking about some of the less famous, less well-known chocolate encounters eGulleteers might have experienced along their forays in France.  Don't limit yourself to bon bons and ganache fillings. Chocolate and foie gras? duck confit?  peppers? Anything obscure or regional that a member might like to report on?  Name names.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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Not chocolate, but I had some quite interesting food with cocoa:

-At Marc Veyrat: a potato purée with a truffles center, covered with cocoa

-At Michel Bras: potiron ice cream with a touch of cocoa syrup

-Café des Délices ( Paris) : Scallops with black pudding, balsamic vinegar and cocoa

Patrice Demers

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Steve, since you mention pepper, I will add the chocolate/Espelette piment pralenes we enjoyed in Pays Basques this spring. As you probably know, Bayonne was perportedly the city in which cocoa beans were first introduced into France by Sephardic Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition,and hence became one of the early places for chocolate manufactory. Espelette, a dozen or so km inland, is famous for Piment d'Espelette.  (If you see pictures of this area, these are the drying red peppers strung from eaves on all the houses.) They are a long, spicy red peppers usually sold as a ground product. Both here and in France it is trendy as a savory seasoning, but fairly unusual in sweets.  So as I read about this area of France, I kept falling over references to both this pepper, the chocolate famous in the area, and finally the combined product, as well as to a village factory/shop (Anton in Espelette) which is supposed to be the only factory in France to still work from the cocoa bean.

We visited Anton just ahead of a tour bus, so my shopping was hurried. The chocolates I bought were plain oval lozenges, 1 1/8" long, 1/3" thick, with the piment incorporated in the ganache filling.  The coating was a very dark (60%+) chocolate without additional flavoring. The finish is amazing. The first taste was simply intense dark chocolate; then as it developed you were aware of a clean chili taste and bite. They are truly addictive.  Seeing only sachets and contrived tin boxes, rather trays of bulk pralenes, I bought several handsful of the sachets, NOT enough.

We found plain chocolate bars with piment in Bayonne at, I believe, Cazenave, but possibly Daranatz, since we went to both shops which are almost next door to each other.  The shop had a large array of flavored chocolate bars.  I didn't buy the bars, sorry now.  

Anton, place du Marche, Espelette      05.59.93.80.58)

Cazenave, 19, rue du Port Neuf, Bayonne   (famous also for hot chocolate)    

Daranatz, 15, rue du Port Neuf, Bayonne

eGullet member #80.

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I'm reminded of a previous thread by Patrice:

http://forums.egullet.org/ikonboa....;t=5595

Perhaps members have had similarly adventurous tasting menus in France?

Thank you so much Margaret--you had me hanging on your every word.  You know how some couvertures can seem reddish when melted--like Valrhona Manjari?  Was the ganache filling reddish at all from the piment?

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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I had a scallop dish with a squiggle of hard dark chocolate prepared by Paul Liebrandt at Papillon in New York. I didn't get it. It was an alien touch to the dish and the chocolate and scallops did nothing for each other to my taste. When we returned to Papillon recently, the creativity seemed to have been toned down a notch from our previous visit earlier this fall.

Last November at the Salon du Chocolate in Paris, in addition to Steve Klc's foie gras bonbon (with a variation repeated at the Chocolate show in NY soon after) we had a taste of two savory dishes with chocolate. Someone was selling sandwiches of foie gras pate, onion marmelade and chcolate spread on a baguette. They were good. Van Laer, the Chef from Maxence in Paris was offering tastes of a wild hare rillette with chocolate. From the tiny sample we had, it seemed like a good idea.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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You know how some couvertures can seem reddish when melted--like Valrhona Manjari?  Was the ganache filling reddish at all from the piment?

Steve, I don't remember much difference in the color of the couverture and filling.  And I'm sure they couldn't use enough piment to show color. :wow:

how long have the confections that you describe been around?

Robert, I really have no idea. I don't have the feeling that they were in any way trendy; if anything, I would accuse them of having started out as a tourist oriented product, like the contrived uses of maple syrup, sea salt, dried fruits, etc.

eGullet member #80.

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  • 3 years later...

This upcoming Monday, I will fly to Paris (as a trans-Atlantic virgin) to explore chocolatiers and patisseries. I have compiled the following list:

Jean-Paul Hevin

Michel Chaudun

Pierre Marcolini

Pierre Herme

Sadaharu Aoki

Laduree

Lenotre

Gerard Mulot

Robert Linxe

Laurent Duchêne

Arnaud Larher

Christian Constant

Sacha Finkelsztajn

Are there any glaring ommissions? Have I missed any must-experience shops?

My limited budget will be geared toward chocolate/pastry (expensive meals come next trip); are there any relatively inexpensive bistros that I cannot avoid?

Formerly known as "Melange"

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Can I suggest two chocolatiers -

Michel Cluizel, 201 rue Saint-Honore

Richart, 258 Bd St Germain

And one bistro not to be missed -

Chartier, 7 rue du Faubourg Montmartre

If you don't eat anywhere else in Paris eat here, and don't be put off by the queue to get in.

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If you make it to Richart, and are as intrigued as I by their new line: Revelation, perhaps you could share your experience with us on your return. Revelation is only available in France. Compare Richart - USA with their French website below.

"All those which wish to offer another thing that chocolate, RICHART proposes its last original creation: REVELATION. Its melting texture based on almond and of dry fruits, flowers, aromatic herbs and spices, is an exquisite greediness. Choose your aromatic family among universe RICHART: Balsamics (REVELATION Vanilla), the Fruity ones (REVELATION Raspberry), Hespéridés (REVELATION Tangerine), Herbaceous (REVELATION Basil), the Floral ones (REVELATION Ylang-ylang) and Spiced (REVELATION Ginger)." Richart - France Translation from French courtesy of Babel Fish

Have any Parisian members or recent travellers tried these?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well this is a nice list, not much to add to it. I'm glad my very favorite chocolatier (Michel Chaudun) is there.

Robert Linxe = La Maison du Chocolat, yes. In my preferences it follows Chaudun a close second. Although I like Chaudun for chocolate itself (dark, milk, pistoles, tiny truffle cubes, hilarious little moulded characters like cartoony babies, etc.) and I prize La Maison du Chocolat for its chocolate-based cakes and desserts.

Chaudun has one of the nicest chocolate specialties I know of, thin milk-chocolate pistoles laced with crushed roasted cocoa beans.

I notice one missing name, the chain "Cacao et Chocolat". Several shops in Paris, the one I know best is on rue de Buci. Delicious pastries and great choices of pure-origin chocolates to be bought by the chunk.

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Patrick Roger: A great chocolatier that just set up shop in Paris in December is Patrick Roger, MOF. His chocolates are not to be missed (in my humble opinion.) They're simple and stunning. The feuilletine are delicious. Some people flip over the fruity caramels (they're dome-shaped and colorful) although they're not my favorites...I prefer pure caramels. The staff is very nice and helpful. Closed sunday and monday.

108, Blvd St. Germain (Métro: Odeon), near St. Michel

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Our favorite is not in Paris.

Bernard Castelain in Chateau-neuf-du-pape.

Perhaps you can get their chocolates in Paris.

There's nothing like their dark chocolate covered almonds.

Or their dark chocolate covered ginger.

Philly Francophiles

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Delicabar - chocolate/sweet and savoury pastries. When I give chocolate as a gift, I go to Delicabar. Beautiful, modern, and whimsical packaging - perfectly finished chocolate - clean, clear flavour.

Chez Denise - bistro. Period.

Louise, et al, it would be sweet were you to post addresses and phone numbers for such good addresses. Prior awareness is good; Google is also. Your input is invaluable. :smile:

eGullet member #80.

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  • 2 weeks later...

My favorite has been Bernachon in Lyon. Someone in Paris was selling a selection of his chocolates. I don't know if they still are. Lucy has just posted that she's found yet a better chocolatier in Lyon. It's hard to believe, but I wouldn't take the chance she's wrong when it comes to food. Her photographs make a convincing argument. On the other hand, everything she photographs looks good enough to eat. Then again, she's drawn to excellent food. That she's stopped to photograph it is argument enough. Alas, I suspect you're not going to get to Lyon.

Pierre Marcolini is a Belgian whose chocolates are more in the French style than the Belgian, but which I generally mean less rich and more intense. His shop in Paris is relatively new. I haven't had much of Hevin's stuff, but a chocolate macaron was sublime.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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  • 1 month later...
My favorite has been Bernachon in Lyon. Someone in Paris was selling a selection of his chocolates. I don't know if they still are. Lucy has just posted that she's found yet a better chocolatier in Lyon. It's hard to believe, but I wouldn't take the chance she's wrong when it comes to food. Her photographs make a convincing argument. On the other hand, everything she photographs looks good enough to eat. Then again, she's drawn to excellent food. That she's stopped to photograph it is argument enough. Alas, I suspect you're not going to get to Lyon.

Pierre Marcolini is a Belgian whose chocolates are more in the French style than the Belgian, but which I generally mean less rich and more intense. His shop in Paris is relatively new. I haven't had much of Hevin's stuff, but a chocolate macaron was sublime.

Apparently A l'Etoile d'Or at 30 Rue Fontaine in the 9th arrondissement is the only place other than Bernachon to carry their products. Good accounts of the shop are available via No. 60 of The Art of Eating as well as Chocolate and Zucchini and "The Sweetest Woman in Paris" in davidlebovitz.com.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I second the idea of going to L'Etoile d'Or. It was a wonderful experience. The shopowner is delightfully eccentric and has such a passion for all things chocolate. Not to mention the fabulous caramels she sells as well!!!

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