Top chocolate boutiques in Paris*

Patrick Roger

Chocolatier and artist in one, known for his giant sculptures carved out of chocolate. Like in a museum, you can admire many of his works at his flagship store on the Place de Madeleine in Paris. Here, you can also purchase his Grand Cru chocolate bars, Roger travels-inspired truffles, ganaches and signature caramels – Amazon chocolate caramel with lime freshness, the Earth blue Cyclone chocolate caramel & plum, and the wild Savage chocolate caramel. Named Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 2000 at a young age of 32 was a seal of approval for his wonder-arousing tasty treats.
chocolate sculpturesingle origin chocolate bars
 3 place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris
 +33 1 42 65 24 47
 Mon – Sun: 10:30am – 7:30 pm

Richart

The signature product Les Petits Richart is not to be missed. A pleasure without guilt as each tiny chocolate bonbon weighs 4 grams and contains only 15 calories. RICHART removed the sugar and cocoa butter and kept the focus on the most delectable ingredients wrapped inside a 73% Venezuela Criollo dark chocolate shell.
Richart ParisRichart chocolate
The flavors were divided into seven aromatic families: roasted (all nutty and coffee-based, but sesame praline is outstanding); balsam (bleached almond coulis, vanilla bean ganache are deep); citrus (calamansi and grapefruit coulis are refreshing); fruity (Ardèche chestnut coulis is surprising); floral (Damask rose and citrus coulis is exotic); herbal (basil, matcha, thyme and rosemary pralines are sublime); and spiced (the curry is an exquisite South Asian beauty).
Ultrafine Chocolate squares from single origin cocoa of various percentages, ‘Infuzzz‘ and chocolate bars complement the irresistible chocolate collection.
Richart goes beyond chocolate with sweet macaroons with wild flavors of foie gras, roquefort cheese or black truffle. All available in the online store.

  258 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75007 Paris
 +33 1 45 55 66 00
 Mon-Sat: 10:00am – 7:00pm; Sun closed

Michel Cluizel

Cluizel is a three generations spanning family business faithful to its original location in Damville (Normandy-France), where also the Chocolate Museum – le Chocolatrium®  entertains and educates curious chocolate lovers. At Manufacture Cluizel they let the cocoa speak, so you will taste its pure origin distinctively fragrant. Their colourful chocolate tasting mini bars are a major export found from London through US to Asia.
Michel Cluizel French chocolate
Direct relationships with renowned planters, being one of the few Cacaofèviers® in the world to master the processing of cocoa beans into cocoa paste first and then create unique chocolates and sweet confectionery warranties fair production and a high standard of quality.
  201 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris
 +33 1 42 44 11 66
 Mon-Sat: 10am-7pm; Sun: closed

François Pralus

Pralus is one of the rare chocolatiers (like the Cluizel family mentioned above) that not just puts his name on the bars, but he also manufactures his own chocolates. Striding a leap further by purchasing a cocoa plantation in Madagascar, that was also certified organic, he is set to control the production right from the cocoa beans’ birth.
pistachio chocolate brickprauline pastry by Auguste Pralus
His father Auguste Pralus invented the delicious Praluline – a sweet brioche bun with chunks of crisp pink pralines made from Valencia almonds and Piedmont hazelnuts coated in rose sugar and then cracked; and was awarded the prestigious title Meilleur Ouvrier de France. He opened his first pastry-shop in Roanne in 1948, where today the manufacturing plant churns daily tons of chocolate from the very best varieties of cocoa beans.
Auguste might be the inventor of the tempting “prauline”, but his son upped the game of chocolate in France. His plantation of rare criollo cocoa beans alongside his meticulous selection and unique products such as the chocolate brick bars “Barre Infernale” filled with pistachio or almond pralines pate coated in dark or milk chocolate. The Tropical Pyramid of chocolate squares each from ten different countries of origin became an immediate success and is ideal for any traveler of the cocoa planet.

35 Rue Rambuteau, 75004 Paris
 +33 1 48 04 05 16
 Mon-Sat: 10am -7:30pm; Sun: 10am-7pm

Henri Le Roux

These are THE chocolates I gave in personalised jewel-like boxes to my family at our wedding reception. Traveling to Paris you can experience chocolate and Japanese green tea pairing sessions at the modern, comfortable and fresh boutique in St.Germain’s Latin Quarter. Not far from the well-heeled tea temple of Marriage Freres, Henri Le Roux knocked the right approach attracting many of the tea-loving customers. Choose a tea and enjoy it with three selected house chocolates or caramels. Gourmet Coffee with chocolate or caramels (Le Roux copyrighted his recipe for the Salted butter caramel in 1981) is also available.
Henri Le Roux chocolate and caramels
My must-haves: Yuzu matcha white chocolate; Goviro dark chocolate bar with sea salt, caramelised almonds and crepes; the “Soizig” praline chocolate with buckwheat crumble; the “Aliberts” a thyme flavored chocolate cream on a base of lime marzipan, the “Ch’tou” bitter chocolate filled with soft caramel made of butter and lambig (calvados from Brittany).

1 Rue de Bourbon le Château, 75006 Paris
 +33 1 82 28 49 80
Tue-Sat: 11am-7:30pm; Sun & Mon: 11am-2pm & 3pm-6:30pm

Jean Paul Hevin

Chocolate with cheese may sound like a quirky whim of some over creative inventor of cutting-age flavors, yet it is superb and should be included in the “must taste list” of any genuine gourmet. The Meilleur Ouvrier de France, J.P. Hevin is a man of many faces creating an entire range of superb products.
chocolate cake in Paris
While chocolate reminds his pride he is not afraid to venture into jams, teas, biscuits and even book writing. His cakes are the utmost luxury for the palate. Let your palate to be seduced in my post about J.P. Hevin.

231 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris
 +33 1 55 35 35 96
 Daily from 12noon – 6pm

Alain Ducasse chocolates

Alain Ducasse‘s ever expanding gastronomic empire invaded the chocolate continent with a large success. Although, he himself does not make the chocolates, the artisan chocolatier Nicolas Berger is in charge, truffles and other luxurious cocoa-dusted delicacies are all made in a traditional highly manually demanding fashion, that is time consuming but rewards with sublime results.
Alain Ducasse ChocolateAlain Ducasse chocolate factory
The Alain Ducasse chocolate factory is a hedonistic attraction in the quirky 11th district. As you venture inside, the chocolate specialties are displayed like jewels inside a glass bubble over a table in the centre, on the right through a glass window you can marvel at the production process, and alongside the opposite wall an extensive range of chocolate bars from simple to more astute blends awaiting your bite. Now, there is also a small boutique in Saint-Germain-des-Près and a concession at the Galeries Lafayette gourmet floor.

40, Rue de la Roquette (manufacturing); 26, Rue Saint Benoit & GALERIES LAFAYETTE GOURMET floor
 +33 1 48 05 82 86
 Tue-Sat: 10:30am-7pm
Hugo & Victor Paris pastry Angelina hot chocolate
EXTRA worth trying are the chocolates, cakes and tea by Hugo&Victor. Following seasonal flavors and working with exotic ingredients such as combawa fruit lifts them from the crowd of pastry makers in Paris. I wrote about their delicious creations and unique philosophy in the past so you can read more here.
La Maison du Chocolat spurred the trend for boutiques purely devoted to chocolate, and if you have not been in one of their worldwide stores then pop into the first one at 225 rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré in Paris.

A cherry on the chocolate volcano is the legendary Angelina on Rue du Rivoli, right by the Louvre, serving exquisite hot chocolate and desserts, that get on the must-do list of many travelers visiting Paris. Their hot chocolate is seriously thick and served with whipped chantilly cream on the side.
Although I am not a big fan of (according to many serious sweet fans overrated) Laduree macaroons, their recently launched chocolates Les Marquis de Ladurée chocolates are better. While they would shine in may less chocolate obsessed locations, they are a far cry from the best chocolate makers in Paris. Their packaging is impressive though.
 Ladurée chocolates
*I could not limit myself to only Top 5 chocolate stores in Paris, since there are just too many worth opening your sweet palate to. I would advise to create your own personal shopping list, so you can always come back to buy a treat for yourself or a tasty present for others without risking disappointment.


CLOSED Lengue: avant-garde last bottle concept at Japanese izakaya in Paris

As Lengue closed its doors, the owner has opened a new izakaya called Sagan in the Odeon district. A Parisian friend went and not just from his photos but also his fresh report in May 2022, the food looks as delectable as before, while the portions increased beyond a typical izakaya and French cuisine entered the menu’s repertoire as the Michelin Guide points out.

Sushi and black cod miso flocked in thousands of variations to Paris and penetrated well beyond the Asian restaurants into the trendy French brasseries and restaurants, yet Lengue reminds some of us uninformed westerners that there is more to Japanese cuisine than a chunk of raw fish and sticky rice. To fill the gap in the Parisian Japanese repertoire, the chef-proprietor Katsutoshi Kondo, ex- l’Atelier de Joël Robuchon and Aïda, opened Lengue izakaya in the intellectual and artsy Latin quarter.
Lengue's simple interior in old St Germain style

The Japanese pub concept at Lengue

Izakaya is something like a bar where Japanese tapas, served on small plates that can be shared with others, but the drinks remain the main players. Its clumsy definition as a drinking spot with some food to bite on can be explained in a more familiar way if likened to classic Spanish tapas bars.
The difference is that the spanish fried croquettes will have a Japanese twist, there will be tonkatsu, vinegary sunomono pickles, sashimi, yakitori, beef tatami, etc. on the menu.
As much as in Spain, this concept lends itself to wine and other beverages as the score keepers. It is not about pairing the wines with food. The philosophy is to have great wines and some tasty food to enjoy it all together. Wine (or other beverages) must make the impression though.
Chateau Figeac 1990
That is probably where the “Dernière Bouteille” idea was born at Lengue. On a special wine list every single last bottle in the cellar is being featured. It is a hit or miss, but not on a big scale, since the prices are some of the most customer friendly in all of Paris. You can get a smile evoking bargain of a great vintage from a reputable producer – like we did with our bottle of St Emillion Chateau Figeac 1990; or you can get a corked or vinegary 1970s or older wines.
To be fair to Lengue, the risk is highlighted by the polite japanese wine waiter, and he is also eager to advise well depending on your budget and taste preferences.
He nodded to my choice of 1990, which was a superb year in St Emillion not only for the utterly expensive Cheval Blanc. Its neighbour Chateau Figeac rewarded us with supple tannins, still communicating juicy red fruits through its 24 years of life. This perfectly developed Bordeaux with its muscles stretching rather elegantly played the same notes with fatty beef tataki in soya sauce, onions and shiso leafs. The Figeac was like a best friend supporting the meat rather than overshadowing it.
Chablis Premier Cru 1990 with Asian food
The 1990 became the vintage of the evening as we started with a half bottle of white Premier Cru Chablis from La Chablisienne. Chosen from the regular wine list, the wine was very showy and slightly oxidised giving off an enjoyable nutty character, roundness with an off-dry mouthfeel. Not an ideal aperitif, but the fried camembert worked magic with this expressive wine. The lightly seasoned soft tofu also got a kick from it.
Shrimp tempura at Lengue
The shrimp tempura made in the creamy mayonnaise sauce à la Nobu could not befriend the sweetness of this wine. Its oily nature needed a zap of acidity found more in younger wines. But this was me, the wine geek, I had to ponder over the pairings.
Since we drunk the “Dernière Bouteille of the 1990 Figeac (sorry you missed it!), there were still many treasures to be found.
Like the DRC from one of the top millennial vintages – 1982. The Burgundy wines are even more sensitive to proper storage and provenance can become an issue when it changed owners’ hands too many times, so this choice might be pricy without a reward.
My favourite red Hermitage from Paul Jaboulet was featured in 1987 vintage for €107. I would take the risk (Yet, I am a wine buff and food addict, so it still might be too much for others who would rather spent it for a pair of shoes).
Kitchen behind the bar at Lengue
Lengue cannot be a true Japanese establishment if there were not sake, shochu, beer and some Japan-inspired cocktails available, so one is free to choose what beverage appeals to him most.
The interior goes hand in hand with Lengue’s casual purpose. Set in a veritable old Parisian environment with wooden beams sheltering the overhead space and pale sandy coloured stone walls, the wooden bar with kitchen right behind it highlighted that food and drinks have at least an equal status here. The more open upstairs room will be acceptable for claustrophobics, where the tight cellar-like vaulted space downstairs remains for those who like to hide from the curious tourists peaking inside. Next to the stellar wine selections, it is also the authenticity of Lengue, confirmed by tables full of Japanese customers, that is its real draw.

Address: 31 Rue de la Parcheminerie, 75005 Paris, France

Phone: +(33) 1 46 33 75 10

Opening hours: Lunch in form of bento boxes: Tue-Sat 12noon-3pm (last order at 2pm)

Dinner: Tue-Sun 7pm-midnight (last order at 11pm)


Alain Ducasse chocolate manufacture in Paris: the wizard and the businessman goes all cocoa

A sublime fresh cocoa scent lures you in. Mindless about your feet stumbling on the old Parisian cobbled street, as if you were about to fly – like a bee seduced by a fragrant flower, your nose cajoles you further inside the indistinct courtyard. In the midst of the poised hive of activity at the crossroads of the third and eleventh arrondissement nests the Alain Ducasse chocolate manufacture.
Alain Ducasse chocolate
Now, it strikes you – right here, behind a prodigious thick glass wall nests a little kingdom of chocolate. This is Ducasse’s boyhood fantasy becoming reality of a grown-up man as the cocoa kingdom is his first chocolate manufacture that he added to his gastronomic-driven empire of restaurants, cookbooks, travel guides and Relais & Châteaux style luxury hotels.
The Alain Ducasse chocolate factory is a beguiling attraction in the quirky 11th district of Paris, cozied in a little street just off Bastille. As you venture inside, marvel at the chocolate specialties displayed like precious jewels in a glass bubble arching over a table serving as the centre piece of the boutique cum manufactory. It would be a sin NOT to pick up one. Unlike for Eve not resisting her lust for the apple the Paradise, chocolate is allowed in today’s world where its antioxidant and other healthful properties are praised by nutritionists.
DUCASSE CHOCOLAT - fabrique
Back to pleasure, whether it is a mere joy from watching the chocolate production process, or savouring the handcrafted bonbons, bars and other in cocoa dipped morsels any chocolate lover will be moved emotionally and physically. Even the multi-Michelin decorated chef, Ducasse, calls chocolate “a terribly sensual and bewitching substance“, so bite in!
Ducasse Chocolate Bar Picture by ®Pierre Monetta
It is a smart business step to dip one’s nose into chocolate these days – with its quality returning back its heydays, also top chefs find chocolate attractive, and why not? The celebrity chef cult is now extended with Alain Ducasse’s new title – an artistic director of chocolate manufacturing. Who would not desire his job – he tastes and suggests variations in the chocolate products made in traditional fashion, and consults his artisan chocolatier Nicolas Berger how to make the already delicious truffles and other luxurious cocoa-dusted delicacies even tastier.
Alain Ducasse chocolate box
Packed luxuriously in an eco wood paper box, that can be recycled, but looks chic when carried around Paris, I rarely resist buying a couple of the superb quality chocolates. The shape and breaking style of the chocolate bars are masterminded by graphic designer Pierre Tachon. These gourmet specialities do not come cheap, but this makes them more special treats and not a quantum of sugar consumed on one occasion. The standard chocolate bars weigh 75g and cost between €7 and €10 (the more rare the origin of the cocoa the higher the price), but the range balloons to giant one to three kilo suitable for the serious chocoholics. Most contain vanilla pods and fleur de sel uplifting the cocoa fragrances.
Alain Ducasse chocolate manufacture in Paris makes either single origin bars, house blends reflecting the “traditional” style and more seriously sweet chocolate specialities such as the “mendiants” and “filled (fourrée)” bars.
Allain Ducasse chocolate 100% Peru Trinitario
Alain Ducasse chocolate 100% Peru Trinitario is so far the only pure cocoa bar. Its deep earthy taste with notes of bitter citruses and coffee is not for every palate, but the 75% Peru in Trinitario or Criollo cocoa bean varietals are both more tender with still prevailing citrus and coffee notes, hazelnut and vegetal freshness and good equilibrium of tannins and acidity. The Criollo comes from the lighter coloured and most refined Porcelana, considered the holy grail of cocoa, that makes the complex balanced dark chocolate look almost like a milk bar. The Non-conched version is crunchy with the unrefined sugar changing the texture and aroma to fermented grape juice and lily flower scents.
The Venezuela 75% dark chocolate bar is excellent as always when I savour the Chuao plantation its complex sweet honey, intense flower bouquet and dried fruits flavours come to overwhelm my sensuous palate. While the all blend of Venezuela 75% dark chocolate bar with its more dusty coffee and wood bark slightly covers the fruity and floral aromas found otherwise in the Chuao.
Ducasse must think of diabetics in today’s demanding consumer world, and his 85 % dark chocolate blend is sugar-free as the more sweet, yet much less calorific maltiol is used instead. Maltiol tastes much better than the herbaceous stevia, that is also used in the bar. Maltiol’s drawback is that it is not purely natural. Fruity, flowery lively flavours mingle with dry rustic character and rough mouthfeel, but it is a very intriguing ‘almost’ guilt-free treat.
Alain Ducasse chocolate 75% Peru Criolo PorcelanaAlain Ducasse chocolate 85% sugar-free
From the other single origin bars I highly recommend the fruit-bursting, spicy and exotic incense evoking Vietnam 75% dark chocolate, and the Dominican Republic 75% Hispaniola, that like a Caribbean dance evokes freshness, fun, curiosity and exotic fruit fragrant oils with floral scents.
The Filled – ‘Fouree’ chocolate bars are enrobed by a thin chocolate layer. The Hazelnut Praline with Fleur de Sel has more crunch thanks to cracking biscuits fused with generously pounded hazelnuts (60% of the total are hazelnuts). Its contrasting texture with melting smooth chocolate touches and calms tense nerves of anyone finding peace while crunching on something (nuts supply the nerve-calming B vitamins).
The Chocolate Mendiants are bathed in 75% dark chocolate from Venezuela and permeated with caramelised sweet nuts and/or dried fruits. The Caramelised hazelnut in the Piedmont fashion has crunch of the whole nuts, while the Mixed Fruits Mendiant is impregnated with almonds, figs, sweetened oranges, grapes and pistachios, is more like an interesting but natural chocolate cake and not just a bar.
Alain Ducasse Le Chocolat Fouree
Alain Ducasse chocolate bonbons underline creativity in “double-bites” and “ganaches gourmand“; pure origins in the ganaches from Java, smooth Madagascar, deep Peru, Trinidad and fruity Venezuela; honour tradition with “old fashioned” pralines with crunchy almonds, hazelnuts, roasted coconut, pistachio or peanut; the creamy “rectangular truffles” enrobing either a dark chocolate ganache, vanilla ganache or orange praline; and fanfare for the “rochers” garnished with nut or caramelized fruits. The rochers are the pinnacle of indulgence in the Ducasse’s noble stable of treats. A small selection of them is offered after a meal at Ducasse’s gastronomic restaurants such as the flamboyant Luis XV in Monaco.
Just recently, in March 2014, a new boutique in Saint-Germain-des-Pres (26, Rue Saint Benoit) opened its doors catering to more chocolate lovers venturing rather to this artistic quarter of Paris then to the quirky Bastille area.
 40, Rue de la Roquette, 75011 Paris (Metro: Bastille)
Boutique only at 26, Rue Saint Benoit, Paris, France
 +33 1 48 05 82 86
 Tue-Sat: 10:30am-7pm


Frenchie: bistronomy's little treasure in Paris

Frenchie embodies an old Parisian ambiance blended with modern international gastronomic fare rooted in its French history.
The name of this culinary and vinous enterprise comes from a nickname given to its French chef and founder Gregory Marchand when he worked in the kitchen of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen in London. The chef’s past also appears, like in an open book, on your plate.
Frenchie Wine bar
Frenchie today comprises a cosy wine bar on one side of the road, that is uplifted by its older sister (opened in 2009) – a gastronomic eatery of the same name just across, so the guests can peak from either to the other locale, scanning out what is happening over there. Usually, there is more action at the bar à vins. What connects them both is  casual generosity and excellent products. They aspire to “the motto is to share and have a good time.”
Frenchie wine bar
In their cosy, pocketed location near to the vibrant central Les Halles district, the restaurant, bar à vins and the third newest made-on-the-spot takeaway outlet, are  hidden away from the voracious tourist hives. The small cobblestone-laid Rue du Nil, is now the hangout for the fans of ‘bistronomy’ and great wines.

Poured by the amiable Frenchie’s sommelier AURÉLIEN MASSÉ are mostly old world wines, particularly from France, but also some from New world (currently only New Zealand). Affordability is at the heart of the list. Most of the bottles do not surpass €50 price tag. The wine menu however peaks in these red beauties:
Vega Sicilia « Unico » 2000 (€490)
Beaucastel, Châteauneuf-du-Pape «Hommage à Jacques Perrin » 2001 (€680)
Château Mouton Rothschild 1998 (< €1.000)
Mouton Rothschild 1998
The list is constantly evolving though, so you should be open about your choices and let the knowledgeable sommelier advise you, just describe your preferences and taste and he will for sure surprise you with something enjoyable like he pleased us.
By his recommendation of a rare bottle of white Burgundy from Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Terres Blanches 2011 by Marchand Tawse, we learned that even this red-dominated appellation can strike a white gem. Made by a Canadian native Pascal Marchand, who adopted strict organic and biodynamic practices, this bottle is a less common blend of Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay showing mineral quality with crisp acidic grip strongly expressing the local soil.
Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Terres Blanches 2011 by Marchand Tawse
The cuisine at the restaurant and the bar has international influences of the well-travelled chef with experiences from London, Spain, Hong Kong and all-blending New York. He often combines French, Spanish, Italian and Asian ingredients in one dish. Cooking at the gastronomic restaurants of Jean Georges Vongerichten, inspired by the London’s River Cafe and his stint at the Gramercy Tavern in New York, accumulated in his first own venture back in his native country – the Frenchie in Paris. Excitment from contrast on the plate guides the chef’s creativity.
The ingredients come mainly from the popular chefs’s fresh food supplier Terroirs d’Avenir, that opened up on the same street so Frenchie always uses the superb vegetables, fish, meat and fruits sourced from its neighbor.
Terrines, homemade charcutterrie, a Foie gras in original variations inspired by the chef’s international experiences and starters like the adventurous Cream sea urchin from Brittany, starters using the Italian Burrata, and even en escape to Asia with plates inspired by various eastern ingredients. There are always some homemade pasta dishes, and daily changing fish, seafood and meat hearty dishes, that pair well with their wines.
The Rib-eye beef steak with french fries and homemade Bearnaise sauce is tongue-smackingly delicious and cries for a bold wine with lots of tannins and acidity to loosen up the weighty effects of the fat on your taste buds. The sauce is made to order fresh, so if you want more, order it ahead. It takes time to clarify the butter and emulsify it with the egg yolks in the bain-marie, then add some spark with a dash of white wine vinegar and finally bring the flavor to perfection with green herbs like shallots and tarragon.
Beef steak with french fries and homemade Bearnaise sauce
Curiously, much of the cheese comes from the UK and not from France. The chef’s English past comes to the surface once again in your cheese plate. Sourced from London’s Neal’s Yard Dairy, the cheeses are of the top quality and can be paired with wines on a request. Pecorino from Italy, Spanish Manchego and some French savory cheeses show up from time to time as well to please everyone. Cheese sometimes becomes a dessert when served with contrasting sweet condiments such as membrillo, honey comb or chutney.
Internationally inspired desserts like Honey ice cream with honeycomb, Chocolate pot with caramel butter and passion fruit or Amaretto panna cotta with avocado and chocolate stray away from the savory cheesy mode.
The wine bar is a younger, more spontaneous and approachable sister of the Frenchie restaurant, which still remains though the favorite choice crowning the local ‘bistronomy‘ trend.
If you need wine glasses for home use, Frenchie sells them at the bar as well. They really have it all; even a takeaway outlet on the same street with everything freshly made on the spot. Frenchie to Go is the youngest sibling to its two more grown-up sisters, that became such a hit in Paris.
Address: 5-6 Rue du Nil, 75002 Paris, France
Tel:+(33) 1 40 39 96 19


Fouquet: from jam to chocolate luxuries sweetening up the picky mouths of old Paris

Since 1852 Maison Fouquet has been installed as a jam purveyor on Rue Laffitte in the heart of Paris, and it is still here, near to the Opera, where all manufacturing remained until today. Later, as the Chambeau-Mimard family took over the house in the 1900s, other confectionery products were added. For five generations, the Chambeau descendants reigned over their small kingdom of flavours, thriving in the popularity of luxurious confectionery. During one period of the early 20th century, Rue François I, where the second boutique was opened, became a luxurious neighbourhood of high-end shops (Avenue Montaigne), so Fouquet naturally entered the sphere of desirable Parisian indulgence.
Fouquet chocolate
Fouquet is one of the oldest chocolate shops in Paris, yet it has not been until the 1980 when Christophe Chambeau levelled up the chocolate production to match its other highly praised sweets. Today, chocolate remains the specialty of the house.
Alongside the traditional recipes for ganache, pralines and truffles, the fifth Chambeau generation came with more modern chocolate treats at Fouquet. Vanilla marshmallows enrobed in dark chocolate, white ganache with coconut, fine almond biscuits wrapped in dark or milk chocolate coating are some of the “innovations” that were recently added to the already expansive portfolio.
The old-school favourites remaining are the Praline Amande Noir & Lait (Dark & Milk chocolate almond praline) and Praline Amande Moka (Coffee praline).
Chocolate bars are not  much elaborated, with plain milk and dark chocolate (72%) bars as well as milk and dark chocolate Mediants with chopped dried fruits and nuts so far the only  available, yet they are made of a very high quality cocoa and delicious. Small chocolate bricks or slants – “Biseautes” –  are an ideal treat for guests as they are individually wrapped. Similarly, Griottes – kirsch enrobed in dark chocolate, Liqueurs – alcohol filled in dark chocolate, and Perles – nougatine in chocolate, all are packaged in a shiny wrap.
Fouquet dark chocolate bar
Shops:
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36 Rue Laffitte – 75009 Paris
 +33 1 47 70 85 00
 Monday to Friday 11:00 – 18:30 except holidays.
22 rue François 1er – 75008 Paris
 +33 1 47 23 30 36
 Monday to Saturday 10.00 – 19.30 except holidays.
42 rue du Marché Saint-Honoré – 75001 Paris
 +33 1 47 03 90 07
 Monday to Saturday 11:00 – 18:30 except holidays.


Jean Paul Hevin: adventurous chocolatier filling chocolate with cheese in Paris

Jean Paul Hevin is not just a top-notch chocolatier with ultra-luxe boutiques sprinkled across Paris, but he also personally controls all stages of the chocolate making from finding the most suitable cocoa beans in Africa, Indonesia and South America to crafting unique choco objects to please the palate and the eye at the same time. Influenced by the legendary chef Joel Robuchon and the Japanese culture, he won his first international pastry prize and successfully entered the prestigious competition for the Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 1986.
Jean Paul Hevin chocolate with cheese
Hevin travels directly to the sources of cocoa, from which he later masterminds his chocolate marvels – some are more traditional truffles, pralines and ganaches, but many others are groundbreaking (he was one of the first, if not the inventor itself, to craft chocolate with cheese together in one bite). From Europe to Asia, the savvy gourmets can appreciate his groundbreaking creations bought at his tastefully designed boutiques.
J.P.Hevin cocoa visiting a plantation
Jean Paul Hevin is a multi-tasker making chocolates, sweet pastries, macaroons, but he also blends own teas and writes books mainly about chocolate. More, he constantly searches for something new. Surprising his fans with innovative flavours (Gemme – smoked Chinese tea with bitter dark chocolate, Womangreen tea and marzipan ganache with bergamot enrobed in dark chocolate, and much more), making chocolate with cheese, Stilettos (€58), Sunglasses and Eiffel Tower or his Easter play with eggs, are all little chocolate wonders.
J.P. Hevin chocolate with cheese
Hevin’s perhaps most discernible concept are his chocolates with cheese (€16.20 for 16 pieces). Goat cheese is paired with crushed hazelnuts and enveloped in a thin layer of dark chocolate. The shiny coat covering Epoisse displays strawy touch of cumin. The blue Roquefort saltness is tamed by chopped deep flavours of walnuts. Pont l’Evêque squared in dark chocolate is enlivened by a pinch of dried thyme. You can enjoy these morsels with a glass of deep red wine (Bordeaux blend or lighter wines for the goat cheese) or a cup of black tea (the earthy Chinese Pu-erh goes especially well with the Roquefort).

Pure chocolate by Jean Paul Hevin

As most of the chocolatiers today Jean Paul Hevin offers single origin chocolate tablets from Caribbean, Madagascar, Central & South America, Java and other locations known for producing high quality cocoa, but he also creates his own blends and even a sugar-free bar for diabetics (Fitness 80% cocoa sweetened by maltitol).
APURIMA 75% is a vibrant chocolate from Peru. Its high acidity, floral notes and raw hazelnut with walnut flavours guarantee complex pleasure on the palate.
CUBA 75% boosts with an unroasted hazelnut-dominant flavour, fresh cocoa powder, youthful green tannins and long fresh aftertaste.

Jean Paul Hevin pastry creations

From his deserts, the highlights are: Caracas – bitter dark chocolate biscuit layered with dark chocolate mousse with vanilla aromas and glazed in a dark chocolate;
Tonka – a crisp leafy pastry with a biscuit rich with almonds and tonka beans, a black Venezuelan chocolate mousse covered with creamy tonka bean, toppled with a dark chocolate mousse;
Yuzu – a thin crisp pastry with a zesty creamy layer of Japanese citrusy-tasting yuzu and chocolate mouse dusted with dark cocoa, that is perfectly balanced, refreshing and not too sugar tasting;
Longchamp chocolat noir –  a French meringue core is softened by Praline mousse, and wrapped in black chocolate filled with nuggets of toasted almonds on hazelnut dacquoise.
pastry by Jean Paul Hevin
You can taste all of his pastries, interesting hot chocolates (pure Grand Crus, hot chocolate served with Japanese matcha tea, strawberry coulis or even more outrageous pairing with chocolate – the oysters, …), teas alongside light salads and warm lunch dishes at his popular Café located just above his boutique at Rue Saint-Honoré. It is a comfortable and efficient place for lunch or a delightful afternoon tea and cake “sitdown” with a friend.
 Jean Paul Hevin Chocolates
231 Rue Saint-Honoré,  75001 Paris (chocolate bar, tea room and boutique);
3 Rue Vavin 75006 Paris;
23 bis Avenue de la Motte-Picquet 75007 Paris (the first boutique);
Lafayette Gourmet 48 Bd Haussmann 75009 Paris.
 Rue Saint-Honoré: Monday – Saturday: 10am – 7:30 pm; closed on Sundays and public holidays.
 + 33 1 55 35 35 96


Dalloyau: royal patisserie since the 17th century still roars in Paris

Lingering in the hands of one French family for more than 330 years, Dalloyau is a unique enterprise in Paris. Creating ‘haute-gastronomique’ pastries, chocolates, ice-creams and even savoury breads (its breads captured the Luis XIV. king and spurred the generations of branches of the Dalloyau tree) and cooked dishes – the house employs cooks, pastry chefs, chocolate makers, confectioners, ice-cream makers and bakers all under one roof.
Dalloyau chocolate box
Much older than the hyped-up and overtly commercial La Durée (founded as a bakery in 1862), Dalloyau served sweet and savoury pastries to the French court since 1682. In their court days the Dalloyau family was wearing the very prestigious title of “Officier de bouche“, the highest French gastronomy distinction at the time. The Versailles-based kings savoured the delicatessen made by Dalloyau until the Revolution brought down the kingdom. In the new Republic era, the family opened their own house of delicatessen in Paris and started the long-term romance with the astute Parisian palates.
Dalloyau chocolate bars
Today, Dalloyau has branches and shops also outside France – in Japan, Korea and the Middle East. Perhaps their most known delicacy is their Opéra cake created in 1955. Consisting of lean layers of dark Venezuela chocolate (70% cacao), biscuit infused with coffee and coffee-infused cream, the sweet delight conceived so “one bite would give the whole cake’s taste“.
Another speciality – Le Cake d’Amour, celebrates the art of French cinema.
Opera cake by Dalloyau
Dalloyau is not just a place to buy something tasty, in Paris the good-life savouring bourgeois can sit down and enjoy an upscale breakfast pastry, freshly made lunch or a splendid dessert treat with a cup of tea or coffee at one of its cafés. It is beautifully decorated inside and if the sun tempts one out, there are white rounded and gold enamelled tables outside, that would not insult even a member of the royalty.
Dallolyau Paris cafe
The choice from chocolate pralines, ganaches and truffles is awash and a devilish temptation for the sugar conscious population. Good news is that all the chocolates are made without any preservatives and other vegetal fats other than cacao butter. The antioxidant-rich Ganaches pures origines, are pure chocolate treats composed of either cocoa from Venezuela, Ecuador, Ivory Coast or Madagascar. The chocolate bar selection is limited, yet quality is outstanding. The Dark chocolate bar with grapefruit stands out not only for originality and depth of taste, but also for its balance between bitter cocoa tones, sweetness and acidity from the grapefruit.
Dallolyau chocolate pralines
The pralines are the most characteristic produce of the house. The Dalloyau recipes show the skills of their chocolatiers. Whether it is a simple praline with hazelnuts from Piedmont, creamy caramel with salt flakes from the French Guérande region or the more complex creations such as praline infused with tea, lemon zest or filled with fruit jelly, it all depends on personal taste preferences. From the Praliné Maison DALLOYAU my palate can highly recommend the Levander ganache enrobed in dark chocolate as its fragrant aroma wonderfully paired with a cup of black tea, but also the Sated Caramel ganache for its wonderful, although sticky balance and a refreshing salty kick. The half-and-half Marzipan and creamy praline was also intriguing in its complex and textured duality.
Dallolyau Paris boutique interior
Salon de thé DALLOYAU:
 101, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré – 75008 Paris
 Daily from 8h30am – 9pm
Restaurant: Weekdays: 8:30am- 7:30pm; Weekend: 9am- 7pm
 +33 1 42 99 90 00


Les 110 de Taillevent: haute brasserie in Paris

110 Taillevent by © twinphotographie.com
My head automatically lifts up, my eyes blink with excitement and my voice answers for me trusting the choice of the wine waiter: “Do you have an interesting small-grower sparkling wine?” So he brings the tasty dry fizzy Brut and I taste, like it, order another sampler size of an even more interesting oxidative style wine from Côte du Jura, move to an oaky white Burgundy (Bâtard-Montrachet) for a change, and that is how the entire evening goes. I try, the sommelier explains, I ask and feel like participating on the most enjoyable class of my life. The wines start at €5 for the big glass and as little as €2.50 for half that size. There are wines from all over the world ranging from practically unknown estates to the first growths of France and even the world’s best Caribbean aged rums. The curious of you can pre-select the dishes and accompanying wines online as pairings with four wines are always suggested. Then comes the food and I am in a wine marries food heaven.
Vegetable starter at 110 Taillevent
Chef:  Inspired by the two-star chef Alain Solivérès from its more glamorous and historic fine dining sister restaurant Le Taillevent. The food is simpler than at the gastronomic outpost, yet not in any sense less appetising. The ingredients are interpreted with care and creativity.
Cod fish with seaweed broth
Food: Wine and dine in a grand style. The food is superb. A light contemporary French cuisine highlighting seasonal ingredients accompanied by wines, prepared to a perfection beating most of brasseries in the city. The Vegetables from the daily market were a sublime starter. Fresh, crisp and sapid, this plate showcased the chef’s talent for selecting the right tasty pieces.
The Lobster Salad with cocktail sauce is a bigger but a mouth-watering appetizer, for some it can make a fitting main course, depending on which style of wine you feel for at the moment.
The main courses are splint into fish and meat groups. The Cod Fillet Natural with leeks, cumin,watercress sauce and seaweed tartare melted delicately leaving the refreshing aroma of the sea greens to conclude the gustatory song of flavours.
Generous Prime Angus Beef Ribs
The Black Angus Beef Prime Ribs for two are one of the house specialities. As the picture below suggests, the meat is juicy, seasoned with care and intense. The succulent texture calls for a juicy red wine such as Hermitage from the Rhone Valley or a mature Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Cheese at 110 Taillevent
Since wine is the king a good quality cheese selection is a compulsory feature that is taken seriously at Les 110 Taillevent. Le Saint-Nectaire goats cheese with a glass of a liquid starting at €3 and peaking on around €30 was my choice and I loved it. The portion is quite big so sharing is ideal. Aged Comte or Italian creamy blue gorgonzola might appeal to strong cheese fans.
Guajana chocolate is the popular choice of the pastry chef, but there are other sweet creations worth teasing the sweet tooth. You can also taste The Childhood Memories of the chef  in one his deserts.
110 Taillevent by © twinphotographie.com
Cuisine: French gastronomic brasserie style
Visit: July 2013
Price: High, but depending on what you order – you can spend about €39 (daily menu) or over a €100 for the house speciality – the beef ribs for two people. The wine prices are extremely flexible while offering the most interesting selection I have seen at a restaurant to date.
The focus here is on wine and everything else just dances around it like an entourage around a prima ballerina.
Drinks: A smiling sommelier hands me a tall book of wine-by-the glass selection and asks: “Would you like to start with a small sample (7cl) or a normal glass (14cl) of something interesting?
Atmosphere: Elegant, smart, while also comfortable and more relaxed along the bar where all the wine connoisseurs share their penchant for hedonistic pleasure delivered by their taste buds. The wood meets comfortable leather interior is artistically in accord with subtle and calming golden murals of the world’s vineyards. Whether you sit at the bar overlooking all the wines or lounge at one of the tables the elegant and chic ambiance you will be treated as a royalty. Dress code is smart.
Address: Brasserie Les 110 de Taillevent, 195 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris.
Contact: Tel: +33 (0) 140 74 20 20
Opening hours: Daily for lunch: 12:15-2:30pm; dinner: 7:30-10:30pm.
 


Learning about tea at Mariage Frères in Paris

Learn more about tea with Mariage Frères at its nostalgia-evoking 17th century residence in the Saint Germain or Marais district of Paris. The first is located on the corner of the narrow Rue des Grands-Augustins, in a building listed as a historical site, where the learning experience about tea is transformative not only knowledge-wise but also refreshing one’s spirit.
Pouring tea for degustation
Mariage Frères became a Parisian tea institution over the centuries of its existence. Today more than ever the company offers a complete tea experience – from selling tea, savouring it, cooking with it, to education for its customers and professionals alike. There are a number of locations across Paris, yet only some also became the “Ateliers de Dècouverte et de dègustation“, therefore it is always good to check ahead where each class is taking place. Anyone can participate of the “Tea Clubsoirèes – weekly tea themed events at one of the Mariage Frères’ tea salons. The only challenge is the language – you either will need to refresh your French or book a private class as most of the employees speak English.
Tea class: tea selection
The PRIVATE CLASSES accommodate up to two people and last for three hours (€300/1 person – €360/2 people). These cater to client’s personal needs. From history, customs, preparation, degustation and gastronomy to diversity of tea around the globe, during the private session one learns anything that he/she is interested about.
A tea master or a specialist guides you through the tasting and answers all questions that may pop out in your head. Jean-Christophe Cornillon was the specialist guiding our SMALL GROUP (€65 per person). Usually between four-to-nine people can participate on these Saturday morning classes lasting for about 1.5h. Although my French is very basic I was able to understand most of the theory and discussion (my specialist knowledge about tea helped too). We were introduced into the class with a short overview of tea’s history, the culture which evolved around tea from China through Japan to Europe as well as the gastronomy surrounding tea consumption.
Marruage Freres tea selection
The tea selection during our class themed as “La première approche” – the first approach – was extensive (12 teas of different origins and types) so we could understand the diversity of tea, its properties, preparation, taste, health properties and mainly how to approach its taste from smell to aroma. It was the perfect way to explore and find teas that flatter your palate the most. You might by surprised and find your new favourite where you would not expect it. During this class your stereotypical views such as ‘all black tea is bitter and needs lots of sugar and milk in order to taste good‘ may be broken as you will learn about some smoky pu-erh from China, partially fermented oolongs that are more mild and some of the aromatic and complex Indian Darjeelings that may be enjoyable without sweetening!
Note taking during the tea degustation
Yet, these intense teas are not good to start with. The right approach is to begin with unfermented delicate white teas, then move to grassy green, partially oxidised yellow and blue oolongs, and finally to fermented black teas reaching the climax of intense taste with aged teas of a pu-erh type. With each tea we were recommended an ideal food or dessert pairing. My favourite was a chocolate macaroon with the Yunnan Imperial black tea from China. Its aromas of tobacco, wood and cocoa created a perfect harmony with the sweet cocoa flavour of the macaroon.
Tea tasting kit
There are other classes offered by Mariage Frères such as “Secretes de jardins” – garden secrets when grand cru teas are tasted; “All green” – comparison of green teas from divers terrors or “Compositions parfumèes” – scented teas such as jasmine and all time favourites at Mariage Frères (the Marco Polo is the best seller).
Whether you just drink tea on rare occasions or are a true connoisseur, you will surely benefit from these tea classes. After my participation I appreciate and drink even more of this healthful beverage and I have clarified my taste preferences since tasting so many teas next to each other at the same time guided my palate in the right direction.
Paris locations:
Marais: 30 rue du Bourg-Tibourg, Paris 4e;  +33 1 42 72 28 11
Saint Germain: 13 rue des Grands-Augustins, Paris 6e;  +33 1 40 51 82 50
Tea Club registration:  +33 1 43 47 18 54
Other locations across France, Germany, London and Japan.


Mariage Frères: centuries of tea heritage in Paris

Finding a good wine shop is easy in Paris, yet you may be surprised that the city also has a rich tea heritage. The French Salons du thé scattered all over Paris are at least as socially, culturally and in particular gustatorily important as the English afternoon tea tradition in London. Mariage Frères had set the ground for the French tea culture over a century ago.
Traditional tea parlour at Mariage Frères
At most salons du thé today, you will not find a long list of tea. Perhaps some verveine (verbena) and chamomile infusions or a breakfast tea alongside the more ubiquitous French strong coffee, chocolate chaud (hot chocolate), sweet pastry or the popular macaroons. At best blends with herbs, flowers and spices with tea will be offered. Most pastry houses have their house blends: Hugo & Victor, Piere Hermè and Angelina are the leaders in the perfumed ‘candied’ tea blends.
If you are passionate tea purist, behold and stop your vile thoughts of putting the Bastille on fire yet! In contrast to these misleading salons du thé, there are serious tea houses in the favourite metropolis of lovers. These tea heavens compensate for the fallen angels and can soothe your body and spirit with hundreds of teas from all over the world, pure or expertly blended.
Afternoon tea offer at Marriage Freres
One such treasure is Mariage Frères. Founded in 1854, the company has more than 150 years of heritage, that not just proves that tea is not a novelty for Parisians, but its popularity and traditional interior confirm a long-lasting romance between tea and Paris.
Endless selection of teas from around the world
The Tea Parlour is an ancient pharmacy-resembling boutique with tins filled with awe-inducing teas from the famous tea regions such as China, Taiwan, Japan, India, Africa and Indonesia to the lesser known tea producing countries such as Burma, Thailand, and Argentina. You can find common and cheap teas, but the company is known for its house-blends and the rarest plant gems costing as much as €100 for a little 100 g sachet. The Japanese grassy and fine Gyokuro, some of the Indian Darjeelings and Assam teas as well as the aged Pu-erh from China are the priciest totes on their lengthy tea menu.
Mariage Frères does a great job with their house blends though. The wonderfully fragrant green tea-based Marco Polo is one of the best-sellers and a great starter for many of these who do not like too strong green teas. These are well-priced, high-quality teas that can be enjoyed every day with or without a meal. Not only with your breakfast, but you can incorporate their teas into your lunch or dinner.
Tea caddies at the Tea Museum
The “Tea Cookbook” featuring recipes from the Mariage Frères restaurants can give you some ideas. I have tried a number of recipes from the cookbook and my favourites are the Matcha financiers, Salmon tartare with matcha and the Pan-seared Foie-Gras. Further, at the restaurants in Paris, the staff advises what tea would fit best with any of the dishes served or you can order from the lunch menu which is already paired with tea. Last time I had the NORWEGIAN SALMON TARTAR, ISKANDAR TEA AND WASABI-AVOCADO COULIS served with lotus chips, celeriac, mizuna greens, pink radish and ground cherry. The green tea infused toast bread on the side was a pleasant accompaniment to the Japanese green tea as well as the salmon dish. There also wonderful desserts – from macaroons to chocolate cake – that will surely satisfy the sweet tooth.
Tea and food pairing at Mariage Freres
There is also a Tea Museum upstairs in the Mariage Frères original store at rue du Bourg-Tibourg in the Marais district as well as in some of the other locations. You can explore everything from tea ware, tea caddies and utensils to traditional tea travel boxes and tea selling parlour on wheels (picture below, the funny person trying to push it is me). The museum is humble, yet it displays more than most of the tea paraphernalia institutions across Europe. You can also buy modern as well as traditionally inspired tea utensils at the shop downstairs.
The traditional meets modern tea seller in Paris at the Tea Museum
For the real tea connoisseurs hungry for knowledge there are weekly Tea Classes. Information about these can be found in the leaflets in the store. They usually take a couple of hours and cover various topics or are focused on certain types of tea sold at Mariage Frères. They are in a group or can be private (1-2 persons pay €300-360 for 3 hours). Inquire about these ahead so you can secure your spot on the day of your visit.
Mariage Frères has also a very good online store, where you can buy tea, accessories and books about tea. Their service is prompt and you get free shipping in France if you order above €80 (which is easy to do when you order a tea kettle, cups, tea and books as I did). Once your order is processed, you get your tracking number so you can check where exactly is your package at the moment.
 +33 1 43 47 18 54
 30 rue du Bourg-Tibourg, Paris 4e
Open daily
Tea emporium & museum: 10:30am – 7:30pm
Restaurant: 12pm – 3pm
Tea Salon: 3pm – 7pm


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