Recently I boldly stated on Instagram that Patrick Roger is my favorite chocolaterier in Paris. Perhaps I should have been a bit more precise in saying he is one of many chocolate masters in Paris whose creations leave me with little more to be desired. And while Paris has no shortage of some of the worlds best, they’ve had to make room for one more.
This time, it’s Alain Ducasse who has me captivated with his works of art. The chef (decorated with 19 Michelin stars from his empire of world-renowned restaurants) opened late February the first bean-to-bar chocolaterie in Paris – yet again astonishing the culinary world with his passion for coloring outside the line. Partnered with torréfacteur Nicolas Berger, Le Chocolat is a 300m² space just of Place de la Bastille where raw cocoa beans from select regions around the world are transformed into some of the most luxurious chocolates.
I had the honor of meeting Nicolas Berger when I went to investigate Le Chocolat for myself. And though I made the mistake of going on a Saturday afternoon (I could make my way from entrance to chocolate!), Berger was happy to share his recommendations after asking a few questions to uncover my preferences. Of course, I would have taken every single tablette off the wall just to discover the diverse flavor profiles. But from my modest selection of four, I was not to be disappointed! A lover of both milk and dark chocolate, if it’s superior in quality, rich and delicious I’m fairly easy to please. While I’ve even been known to go straight for the 85%, my favorite was the cocoa-rich Pérou Lacté 45% (45% milk chocolate from Peru) which made no attempts to cover up the cocoa with too much sugar and milk. I will be back for more, and soon.
As for boxes of chocolates, there is plenty of selection for those too. For the time being, the chocolates are divided into boxes based on your coup de coeur – Ganaches Origines, Ganaches Gourmandes or Pralinés (yes, yes and yes). If you’re like me and want to try a little of everything, the Boîte Découverte (Discovery Box) is the way to go. I about died when I bit into the Lait-Amande éclats (almond praliné enrobed in milk chocolate) – I could have stopped there. But that was just the first one I tried out of the box. Like I said, Berger is about to become my best friend.
It’s a beautiful thing to enjoy such delicious chocolates knowing that every single element was created on site – and on view. But I think the real beauty is in the organic process, the trial and error, the authenticity of the product and the quality – each monitored by an attentive master. Though with all I just said, I might as well be talking about an artist.