For All You Chocolate Lovers
Yesterday’s show, Chocolate…Chocolate…Chocolate...was in every way delicious. Each and every one of my guests had something unique to contribute to our conversation on Chocolate. I really hope that you’ll listen to the chocolate show. We explored the history of chocolate, romance and chocolate, sex and chocolate, books and chocolate, artisan chocolate, and health and well-being and chocolate and oh, so much more. Author Laura Florand whose first book of her Chocolate trilogy, KISS THE BRIDE debuts April 24, which takes us into the sensual, passionate world of top Parisian chocolatiers, was kind enough to leave us with a list of her favorite chocolate-makers, both in Paris and in the U.S. Enjoy!
I. When in Paris…
133 Rue de Turenne 75003 Paris, France. Tel: 01 45 77 29 01.
In Jacques Genin’s salon de chocolat, rough arches of exposed stone blend with red velvet curtains, white, rosebud-embossed walls, and a spiraling metal staircase to create a setting of exceptional beauty. Considered by many to be among the best in the world, his chocolates are presented in flat metal boxes that frame the beautifully printed squares of luscious ganache infused with herbs and spices, ganaches that melt in your mouth in a sensuous ecstasy. Worth a trip to Paris, all by himself…
149 Rue de l’Universite , 75007 Paris, France. Tel: 01.47.53.74.40.
Michel Chaudun’s tiny shop in the 7th arrondissement of Paris is crammed with so many sculptures and artifacts of chocolate, it’s like stepping into the storage rooms of an old museum. And take one bite of his famous pavés—sensuous bites of ganache delicately dusted in cocoa—and you will melt right at the feet of the chocolate Mayan warrior standing guard over them. Another of the world’s very best chocolatiers…
II. For Armchair Chocolate-Lovers
Neither Jacques Genin nor Michel Chaudun bother with a website—chocolate worshipers must come to them. But when Laura Florand can’t make it to Paris, she orders from one of these:
La Maison du Chocolat
A legend. Founded in 1977 by Robert Linxe, these days, La Maison du Chocolat has boutiques all over the world. Michel Chaudun was chef chocolatier here before he set off on his own over twenty years ago. Jacques Genin was head pâtissier here when he was 33. These days, the creative director is Gilles Marchal. Try his tender, intense ganaches, and the way you think about chocolate will never be the same. And if you’re in New York? La Maison du Chocolat has not one but four beautiful chocolate shops there, into which you can step to experience your own magic moment in Paris.
Tiny bites of dark chocolate, laced delicately with fig and port wine; exquisitely delicate chocolate-enrobed salted caramels; truffles infused with lemon, pepper, and rum…and if that isn’t enough, each box comes with at least one of their impossibly cute, tiny chocolate mice. (If you have a child in the house, go ahead and give up on tasting the mouse yourself right now.) Their classic mice can be varied through the holiday seasons with the cutest chocolate ghosts known to the living, turkeys, snowmen, adorable tiny bunnies, or even honeybees. All of which taste as delicious as they look adorable.
200 N. Greensboro Rd. Suite A5 Carrboro, NC 27510. Tel: 919.967.2313.
There is something delightfully charming and comforting about Miel Bonbons chef Bonnie Lau’s chocolates, for all their exotic flavors of mango mint and coconut curry, as if exoticism and quality have been synthesized in a chocolate you can cozy up at home with, large enough that it will last you two or three bites. Rich, dark ganaches pair with whimsical and sophisticated flavors, and don’t miss Bonnie Lau’s dense, intense salted butter caramel chocolates. Every chocolatier gives her chocolate the stamp of her personality, and Bonnie Lau’s are fanciful, warm, adventurous, and reassuring.
Miel Bonbons chocolates. Photo courtesy of Miel Bonbons.
Christophe Artisan Chocolatier
90 Society Street, Charleston, SC 29401. Tel: 843.297.8674.
Third-generation French chocolatier-pâtissier Christophe Paume set up shop in Charleston in 2009, thanks to a beautiful love story and his American wife. His hand-painted chocolates shimmer in the light, each box an emperor’s treasure of sapphires, rubies, emeralds, topaz. Start with a luscious and reassuring cinnamon-touched milk chocolate ganache, or a delicately infused mint dark chocolate, and then let him lead you well down the path not taken with such flavors as tomato-basil dark chocolate or even blue cheese. And don’t miss his dark chocolate caramel sea salt bar, which is absolutely sublime.
Check out Laura Florand’s site, www.lauraflorand.com, for more tours of chocolate shops, behind-the-scenes looks at chocolate-making, or even occasional giveaways of the best chocolates out there.