When it Comes to Gifts, Chocolate Tops the Chart!

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Ooh La La!  Parisian Chocolate Shops!

This is the first in a series of ‘best of’ posts.  The world of chocolate is immense.  The world of fine chocolate is vast but a bit harder to uncover.  Choosing where to shop is always a personal choice, but when traveling abroad, it’s always nice to have a few recommendations with you.

Since Paris is considered one of the culinary capitals of the world, one would expect they have more than their share of artisan chocolatiers.  And that is true—in fact, there are more chocolate shops in Paris than in any other city in the world.  That makes the process of choosing even more problematic.

Best of Paris

Ganache, the immulsion of melted chocolate and warm cream, was first ‘discovered’ here by a Parisian pastry chef.  And artisan chocolatiers have taken that discovery to new heights year after year.  Here are what many avid chocolate experts consider to be the top ten Parisian chocolate shops (in no particular order).  This list is subjective—one person’s rocher is another person’s mendient.  Get your taste buds and your wallet ready!

Jean-Paul Hévin

A pastry chef, Jean-Paul Hévin opened his first Paris shop in 1988 after spending time alongside world-famous chef, Joel Robuchon, at the Hotel Nikko.  Now operating 3 stores in Paris, Hévin is a true master of his ‘flagship ingredient—chocolate.”  His uncompromising pursuit of quality ingredient has established him as a master chocolatier of distinction.

www.jphevin.com

Michel Cluizel

Michel Cluizel chocolates have been renowned since the mid-20th century, when Michel Cluizel first opened a family run shop in Normandy. It is still a family run business today.  One of the rare chocolatiers to process their own carefully selected cocoa beans, Michel Cluizel’s chocolates are known for their distinct, balanced flavors. At his two Paris stores, visitors can indulge in delicious dark or milk bars, each produced from a distinct blend of cocoa beans.

www.cluizel.com

Patrick Roger

With 5 shops in Paris, Roger is considered by some to be the best chocolatier in the world.  He was awarded the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France Chocolatier 2000” as well as “Meilleur Chocolat de la Ville de Paris 2007.”  A sculptor of flavors, he treats chocolate like a raw material which he transforms into giant 80-kilo creations or wrapped sweets in meter-long boxes.   Known for his stunning window displays, Patrick Roger focuses on flavors, textures and the aesthetics of his creations.  One of the world’s innovators, Patrick Roger will continue to set the chocolate world on fire.

www.patrickroger.com

Gérard Mulot 

This celebrated pastry chef and master chocolatier is renowned for his attention to quality and detail, making him one of the most popular chocolatiers on the Left Bank.  He opened his first pastry shop in 1975 and introduced Paris to his amazing confections in 1980.  Now operating 3 stores in the city, he continues to be a popular destination for chocophiles young and old.

www.gerard-mulot.com

Pierre Hermé

The international press has described Pierre Hermé the “Picasso of Pastry.”  The world’s most celebrated pastry chef, Pierre Hermé has also won accolades for his line of gourmet chocolates. At his 8 Paris locations, customers line up for chocolate cakes, pastries, and macaroons, as well as unclassifiable confections like the famous “Death by Chocolate.”  You can also sample varieties of chocolates sure to stimulate the palate, such as pralines with caramelized sesame seeds or ganaches with orange and balsamic vinegar.

www.pierrehermé.com

La Maison du Chocolat

Founded in 1977 by Master Chocolatier Robert Linxe, La Maison du Chocolat is today one of France’s most well-known luxury chocolate shops. They have 11 locations in Paris featuring exotic ganaches, pralines and truffles as well as chocolate-based pastries and ice-cream.  World-famous for their ganaches, this shop also specializes in truffles, mendiants(slices of chocolate topped with dried fruit) and bars with fruit or herbal notes.

www.maisonduchocolat.com

Josephine Vannier

This is a lesser-known gem of an artisan chocolate shop nestled in the Marais district on the right bank.  Be prepared to rub elbows with other visitors and shoppers in this popular Paris neighborhood.  Offering a dizzying array of creations, from chocolate masks, mini-grand pianos and all-chocolate replicas of vintage ads, to classics like crispy nougatine, truffles, or mendiants, the Josephine Vannier shop is guaranteed to seduce adults and kids. Gourmet ice cream is also served here.  But who is Josephine Vannier?  No one claims to have ever met…what a great mystery!

http://www.chocolats-vannier.com/

Richart

Michel Richart continues the family tradition started by his father Joseph in Lyon in 1925. Richart spent his childhood with his father and his mother in their laboratory and chocolate shop established on the slopes of the Croix-Rousse in Lyon.  He took over the family business in 1968 and in 1985 developed a high-end “chocolaterie”— highly regarded in France by all the great professionals—for which he received the “Chocolaterie Blue Ribbon” seven times.   At his two Paris stores you can find the company’s signature chocolates showing a mix of innovation, purity, elegance and clean design sure to delight even the most discerning chocolate connoisseurs.

www.richart.com

Michel Chaudun Chocolatier

The former head of La Maison du Chocolat, Michel Chaudun is, hands-down, one of the world’s best artisan chocolatiers. Known for his whimsy as much as his mastery of the classics, you can expect to find anything from simple dark or milk bars and truffles to chocolate crafted to look exactly like sausages at his shop. Chaudun is also a talented chocolate sculptor– he once cast a chocolate mold out of performance artist Laurent Moriceau, which was then devoured by spectators at the Palais de Tokyo. This shop is a must for chocolate lovers.

Tel: 01 47 53 74 40

149, rue de l’Universite, (corner rue Malar) Paris 7th

Métro: Invalides

Christian Constant

Unique spice and flower-based chocolates you won’t find anywhere else. “The sweet miracles that Constant fabricates with passion will delight enlightened lovers of chocolate,” according to the Petit Futé Guide Paris 2001.  Christian Constant has two shops in Paris, one close to the Luxemburg Gardens.  His chocolate is rated by food critics worldwide as some of the world’s finest, and he is particularly applauded for delicacies like raspberry ganaches, chocolates with spicy or herbal notes, or his famous “palet d’or”, made from fresh cream and dark chocolate. Author and award winner, Christian Constant also offers a dazzling selection of cakes and pastries.

www.christianconstant.com

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