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Best Chocolate in Paris?

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bluestarz Feb 11, 2004 04:07 PM

I'm looking for a recommendation for the best chocolate and hot chocolate in Paris!

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    Arlene RE: bluestarz Feb 12, 2004 12:21 AM

    One of the best chocolates in Paris are from La Maison du Chocolat, there are five of their stores in Paris. Expensive but very delicious. They also have stores in London, Tokyo, NY.

    Angelina's on the Rue de Rivoli is supposed to be good for hot chocolate, but when I was in Paris in Sept 2003 it was closed (for remodeling?)

    Link: http://www.lamaisonduchocolat.com/mdc...

    5 Replies
    1. re: Arlene
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      Simon Majumdar RE: Arlene Feb 12, 2004 03:33 AM

      Jean Paul Hevin

      A friend intro'd me to his amazing chocolates and macaron recently

      Stunning

      S

      Link: http://www.jphevin.com/

      1. re: Simon Majumdar
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        Marty L. RE: Simon Majumdar Feb 12, 2004 09:19 AM

        Yes, JP Hevin is the best---far superior to La Maison de Chocolate in my opinion.

        My favorite of his truffles is the earl-grey tea flavored ganache coated with dark chocolate couverture.

        Although JP Hevin is a chocolate specialist, another thing I always get when I go there is his tarte aux quatre fruits rouge.

        1. re: Marty L.
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          Debbie RE: Marty L. Feb 12, 2004 08:48 PM

          I do really love the chocolates at
          Michel CHAUDUN
          149, rue de l’Université 7e

          the little square pavees are an incredibly delicious, melt in the mouth, complex taste sensation. I highly recommend them, and wouldn't want to be in Paris without a visit to this tiny, friendly and elegant shop not far from the Eiffel Tower.

          1. re: Debbie
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            ChowFun RE: Debbie Feb 13, 2004 09:44 AM

            Michel Chaudun is simply the best. Better cannot be obtained, and believe me I ate a lot of chocolate in Paris. The thing to get are the tiny cube truffles that come in a small box with a toothpick. This is the ultimate chocolate experience. Simple, yet complex. Plus, it's pretty inexpensive and he's a nice guy.

            1. re: ChowFun
              biondanonima RE: ChowFun Nov 1, 2009 10:31 AM

              I third this motion - we stumbled upon this accidentally while looking for a place to go to the bathroom on the way to the Eiffel Tower. Oh the paves! Amazing.

    2. m
      Miguel E. Gierbolini RE: bluestarz Feb 12, 2004 09:22 AM

      Christian Constant in Rue D'Assas is pretty good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Miguel E. Gierbolini
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        cabrales RE: Miguel E. Gierbolini Feb 12, 2004 06:58 PM

        Here's my report on Christian Constant (not to be confused with the Violon d'Ingres chef).

        There is a little tea salon (12 seats) that is very simple, next to the main shop. I picked pastries and chocolates from the main shop, and these were brought to the tea salon for sampling. Constant defines himself more as a chocolate-maker than a patissier like Pierre Herme. Nonethless, he offered a wonderful selection of patisseries, mostly containing chocolate (and in every case dark chocolate):

        (1) “Sonia Rykiel” (Tarte fondant au chocolate banane-braiche, 3.35 euros): A slight acidity from cross-sections from firm, mini bananas. These slices were abundant, and formed a ring on top of the top of the tart, which had a nicely thick crust and a high rim. The rich, gooey chocolate inside the tart was creamy and had some banana taste as well. This was a nice creation by Constant.

        (2) “Fleurs de Chine” (China Flower; mousse legere de chocolate amer, creme croustillante de the vert au jasmin): This is one of Contant’s signature creations. It is a dark chocolate covered square, with a chocolate fan and the Constant logo on a gold little label on top. There are three primary layers, on top of a cake base. Two layers consisted of chocolate; the other was excellent – subtle and flavorful at the same time. This green tea layer was perfumed and more refined than the green tea flavor in green tea ice cream offered at many Japanese restaurants.

        (3) Praline Chocolat (Creme chocolate et creme parlinee caramelisse aux noisette): This was very nice as well, being comprised of two layrs, each with a nice chocolate cake-like (somewhat soft) crust at the bottom. The top layer was yellow-colored and appeared to have slight browning and caramel effects on its surface. On top of that surface were a single almond, praline, small hazelnut and the Christian Constant sign. The second layer was chocolate. In between the two lawyers was apparently a gooey mixture of hazelnut and cinnamon and sugar – moist and crunchy and a nice combination.

        I had the above with Moka d’Ethiopie, described as sauvage and parfume. I also bought small chocolates from the shop for sampling: Ganache au The Earl Grey; Roses et Raisins de Corinthe; Safran en fils (threads); Cardamone de Malabar. None had the ingredients separately discernible; all had the ingredients combined with the chocolate. I’m not a big fan of dark chocolate, so, while nice-tasting, these items were not of particular interest. Other flavors included Frangipanier flowers, Ylang Ylang des Comores; Jasmin du Yemen et The Vert; Ganache au Café Fort.

        Certain Poilane breads, as are a variety of salads (pasta; squid; marinated mussels; chick peas; chicken salad). Roasted farm chicken was also available. Ice cream was also offered in 5-7 rotating varieties. The day I visited one flavor was a wonderful almond milk; another (not sampled) was Coconut. Christian Constant also sells jams made by his shop.

        The chocolate bars available includes:
        Pure Pate sans sucre, 100% cacao (5.35 euros)
        Bitter-Plus (80% cacao, Venezuela)
        Monteserrat’s Plantations (73%, Trinidad)
        Cuba (70%)
        Madong (70%, from [Papouasie])
        Carupano (70%, Venezuela)
        Guanaja (70%, blend from Antilles and Central America)
        Extra bitter (66%, very roasted blend)
        Pur Trinitario (66%, Trinidad, Tobago and Grenada)
        Pur Criollo (64%, Madagascar, Ceylan)
        Guayaquil (64%, [Equateur])
        Grand Caraque (59.5%, Venezuela; also available with dried fruit)
        Lait Amer (64%, also with dried fruit)
        Chocolat Blanc

        33 rue d’Assas, near the Saint-Placide Metro station (01 53 63 15 15)

      2. g
        GG Mora RE: bluestarz Feb 12, 2004 09:57 AM

        For chocolats, I'm partial to Gerard Mulot on the Rue de Seine, corner Rue des Quatre Vents in the 6ieme.

        1 Reply
        1. re: GG Mora
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          jlfischer RE: GG Mora Nov 27, 2006 06:33 PM

          I'm glad to see someone else loves my favorite chocolate shop in Paris. Gerard Mulot never disappoints!!!

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          Michael RE: bluestarz Feb 12, 2004 12:50 PM

          My favorite chocolatier in Paris is Michel Cluizel, and his products are served by Catherine Cluizel at 201, rue Saint-Honoré.

          I know la Maison du Chocolat: this is an American style chain of stores for high priced chocolats. Nice, but not the real thing. Hevin is great for lovers of sweets. But the best PURE chocolats are Michel Cluizels chocolat amer of 85% and 99% purity. Amazing with a glass of Bordeaux. And the Cluizel webstore is offering everything for delivery to your doorstep !!!

          BTW: Another amer of similar quaility does not come from France, but from Barcelona: pasta de cacao 100% from Enric Rovira ...

          Link: http://www.fontaineauchocolat.com/Fon...

          4 Replies
          1. re: Michael
            LMGM RE: Michael Nov 22, 2006 12:45 PM

            I'd have to disagree. I bought a fair bit of Cluizel chocolate when I lived in Toronto from a specialty store, and was always disappointed. When I got to Paris, I found the Cluizel shop here and tried again, but the same disappointment. His chocolates are certainly fine, but he doesn't manage bitterness and acidity very well once you get above 70% cacao. If you're looking for a 100% bar, I'd actually recommend Maison du Chocolat over Cluizel. On the other hand, my current favourite chocolatier is Soma in Toronto. While Paris rocks my world for the generally high level of chocolate-making, Soma beats everyone with their combination of fine chocolate work and imaginative flavors/ingredients. Mind you, I still haven't checked out Hévin or Chaudun yet.

            1. re: LMGM
              rjkaneda RE: LMGM Feb 1, 2007 03:26 AM

              I like Cluizel's chocolate very much. The shop is unpretentious and the service is gracious.

              Best chocolates in France? Probably Thierry Mulhaupt in Strasbourg:

              http://www.mulhaupt.fr/

            2. re: Michael
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              chickenluv RE: Michael Nov 4, 2009 06:26 PM

              I agree with you on Michel Cluizel; he is my favorite as well. I recently compared his pralines with Maison du Chocolat's, Debauve & Gaullais, and Hevin and they just do not compare. A recent taste of the Conception bar at a Salon du Chocolat in Paris reminded me why I love his dark chocolate. This question is such a matter of taste, you owe it to yourself to give him a try.

              FYI- I tried MC's chocolates in NYC recently and they were not the same. I don't think they travel well to foreign outposts.

              1. re: chickenluv
                fanoffrance RE: chickenluv Nov 5, 2009 02:45 AM

                That's interesting, Chickenluv. My unfavorable impression of Cluizel is based on products of his which I bought in Oslo. Based on your advice, I'll have to try him in Paris! On the other hand, I did try Debauve & Gallais in Paris once, and found them to be far below the generally high standard maintained by Chaudun, Genin, Maison du Chocolat, Hevin, Patrick Roger etc. Actually I wouldn't rank D&G any higher than Valrhona's mass-produced assortments that you can buy at the airport. As you say, people have different tastes!

            3. c
              cabrales RE: bluestarz Feb 12, 2004 09:37 PM

              In case you are going to Pierre Herme for the macarons or pastries, note that Herme also offers chocolates. I wouldn't consider them the best in Paris, but they are worth a little sample nonetheless.

              Bernachon, a famous Lyons chocolate maker that some like a lot, is, contrary to popular belief, available in Paris. I posted in another forum I can't search about a little shop that sells Bernachon in Paris. I've not yet visited that shop.

              I happen to dislike chocolate, but some of my travel companions who like chocolate like J-P Hevin, as other members have mentioned.

              As for hot chocolate, there has been good mention of Angelina tea salon on the Rue de Rivoli. However, I tasted the hot chocolate and wasn't impressed. Not that that means much, given my preferences. I would suggest looking elsewhere for hot chocolate.

              5 Replies
              1. re: cabrales
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                Peter McCarthy RE: cabrales Feb 13, 2004 02:29 PM

                The shop that sells Bernachon is A L'Etoile d'Or (at 30 Rue Fontaine in the 9th.) The proprietress is wonderful. I'll be in Paris in 2 weeks, and A L'Etoile d'Or is one place I know I'm visiting.

                1. re: Peter McCarthy
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                  sedap RE: Peter McCarthy Mar 7, 2007 12:35 AM

                  nice link! if ever you go to lyon, try bernard dufoux as well and let me know what you think. i liked them better.

                  lyonnais chocolates are (just a little) less adventurous than their parisian counterparts but i do have a sentimental spot for them.

                  1. re: sedap
                    ChefJune RE: sedap Dec 3, 2008 08:56 AM

                    imho, the best chocolate in the world is in Lyon, and only in Lyon, at Bernachon on the Blvd Franklin Roosevelt in the 6eme.

                    1. re: ChefJune
                      LMGM RE: ChefJune Dec 4, 2008 03:21 AM

                      This may have already been mentioned in this thread, but as far as I know the only place to get Bernachon chocolate outside of Lyon is at Denise Acabo's "L'Étoile d'Or" near métro Pigalle. That store is well worth a visit for all of the amazing chocolates and candies she has for sale. Best in France, IMHO.

                2. re: cabrales
                  mizzlizz RE: cabrales Dec 22, 2008 01:31 PM

                  We are just back from Paris and loved finding Bernachon chocolate at madame Denises little shop in the 9th called L'Etoile d'Or. She also carries Le Roux's salted butter caramels.......simply wonderful!

                3. l
                  lizzie! RE: bluestarz Feb 19, 2004 12:54 PM

                  Our favorite chocolate in Paris (as in "Oh My God!") is at A La Mere de la Famille (missing a few accents there!). The original, I believe, is on Rue FBG Monmartre and there is another one on Rue Cler. Cher yet AMAZING! (post script: fondee en 1764! Lotsa' practice!)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: lizzie!
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                    laraffinee RE: lizzie! Mar 19, 2013 06:02 AM

                    Great chocolate at La Mère de Famille!

                    1. re: laraffinee
                      Parigi RE: laraffinee Mar 20, 2013 05:11 AM

                      Absolutely. Love it.

                  2. m
                    Maurice Naughton RE: bluestarz Feb 25, 2004 10:26 PM

                    There are a lot of Maîtres chocolatiers in Paris. To try to say one is best is to presume to know everone's particular tastes. Cabrales, for example, doesn't like chocolate, yet reviews the offerings from Christian Constant.

                    Master chocolate makers to consider are Thierry Mulhaupt, Michel Chatillon, François Leroux, and the shops Bonnatier Chocolatier and Regis Chocolatier

                    Along with ChowFun and Debbie, below, my particular favorite is Michel Chaudun at the corner of rue Malar and rue de l'Universite in the 7th. Nothing that can be said of his truffes pavees can possibly be an exaggeration. And even if you walk in looking slightly seedy, as I usually do, you are treated with graciousness tres gentil et tres amicale.

                    1. 2
                      2625nharding RE: bluestarz Nov 13, 2006 02:17 PM

                      Could anyone tell me if you have heard of a chocolate shop called "Duo Trio" We are leaving for Paris in a few days and someone told us to go there. it is in the St. Gremaine area.

                      1. s
                        smtucker RE: bluestarz Dec 12, 2006 03:49 AM

                        I am particularly fond of the choclate store on Isle St Louis.... www.cacao-et-chocolat.com. Other spot I loved is no longer in business.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: smtucker
                          erica RE: smtucker Dec 12, 2006 12:04 PM

                          I thought this place, Cacao et Chocolate, was part of a rather commercial chain, no? The website does not work..btw. I passed it every day when I stayed on the Ile recently and never thought to go inside...did I miss something great?

                          1. re: erica
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                            Pistou RE: erica Dec 13, 2006 03:42 AM

                            I don't think you missed anything at all. The chocolates I tried at Cacao et Chocolate were average chain chocolate at best--lots of sugar, not so much chocolate. And it's definitely a chain, at least in Paris.

                            I second the recommendation for A l'Etoile d'Or--what a fun and wonderful shop, and the Bernachon chocolates are magnificent. My favorites were the bar with candied orange peel, and the rum raisin bar. I also really loved Patrick Roget's chocolates. The little toasted nut stacks were out of this world.

                        2. b
                          Barstool RE: bluestarz Dec 12, 2006 04:11 AM

                          Hot chocolate - can never remember the name of the place... On the Isle St. Louis near the foot bridge at the Notre Dame end of the isle. Left side, end of rue as you are walking from the Pont Marie. Besides - I really love their 1920's silver plated pots.

                          1. s
                            schoenick RE: bluestarz Dec 12, 2006 01:44 PM

                            Caveat - I haven't tried the other chocolates listed here except for La Maison du Chocolate. All I can say is that if they are better than La Maison, I simply cannot imagine. I use to think Leonidas had great chocolate but then I tried La Maison and I don't think there is any other food item that has brought me closer to an orgasm than La Maison.

                            You can find which store is closest to where you will be staying in paris by going to their website.

                            1. j
                              jamiejay RE: bluestarz Dec 12, 2006 05:08 PM

                              Looks like I will be visiting many chocolate shops on my upcoming visit to Paris!

                              Let me add one more to the mix: Debauve & Gallais, on rue des Saints-Peres near the church of Saint Germain des Pres, makes wonderful chocolates. Plus, they are situated in a lovely old building and their displays are beautiful. I highly recommend paying them a visit!

                              1. f
                                friscohorn RE: bluestarz Feb 7, 2007 11:22 AM

                                Pierre Hermé

                                Jean-Paul Hévin

                                La Maison du Chocolat is great but not as good as the 2 listed above.

                                1. ChefJune RE: bluestarz Feb 7, 2007 12:47 PM

                                  I haven't had J-P Hevin's chocolates yet, but Maison is pretty doggone fine, in my book.

                                  imo, the best chocolate in France is Bernachon in Lyon... http://www.bernachon.com/welcome.htm no Paris shop that I've heard of.

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                                    Purse_Obession RE: bluestarz Feb 17, 2007 03:36 PM

                                    My favorite chocolate is La Maison du Chocolat also. As for hot chocolate, definitely Angelina's . So rich and smooth!

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Purse_Obession
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                                      sedap RE: Purse_Obession Mar 7, 2007 12:38 AM

                                      if you like your chocolat chaud a little less sweet, JPHevin also does a good version. there's a long-running debate as well about the best chocolat chaud in paris - try googling "meilleur chocolat chaud a paris".

                                    2. purplescout RE: bluestarz Feb 19, 2007 09:15 PM

                                      I just got back last week from Paris and tried JP Hevin for the first time. His chocolates are wonderful. I also really enjoyed his caramels.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: purplescout
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                                        missholmes RE: purplescout Feb 26, 2007 04:40 AM

                                        JP Hevin is very good, love the chocolate cheeses to be served as aperitifs (reminds me of cheesecake) and his truffles are simply amazing! however i didn't think his caramels were anything special, and the luxury box of chocolates is just okay.

                                        visited christian constant last week, thought the chocolates were crap - very boring ganache with almost imperceptible flavour stuck together with plain "granular" chocolate akin to Hersheys. ate half the box on a bench in the luxembourg gardens and threw the rest away. waste of €8.

                                        mrholmes

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                                        euromike RE: bluestarz Dec 2, 2008 02:08 PM

                                        I was just researching Paris chocolate shops and found a great overview! http://www.europeupclose.com/paris-an...

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: euromike
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                                          Dodo RE: euromike Dec 4, 2008 03:41 AM

                                          I've had a slight faible for Galler (from Belgium). One of his several Paris boutiques is located on Blvd. Haussmann.
                                          http://www.galler.com

                                        2. RandyB RE: bluestarz Dec 4, 2008 12:02 PM

                                          Several years ago I spent a week visiting numerous chocolatiers around Paris. To get a good comparison of how each used similar ingredients, I tried to taste at least a truffe nature (just dark chocolate and dark ganache), a dark chocolate raspberry truffle (for want of a better English word), and an orangette (chocolate covered orange peel) at each one.

                                          I will say the Étoile d'Or was by far the most fun to visit. However, I was very underwhelmed with the Bernachon chocolates. To my taste, and I agree with one poster that this is all very personal, they are not in the same league as la Maison du Chocolat or Jean Paul Hévin.

                                          MdC may have multiple outlets, but the quality control is exquisite and they are in a position to enforce their standards on their major supplier of couverture, Valrhona. In fact, it was M. Linxe of the MdC who redefined the standard of cacao production and brought France into the world leadership in chocolate.

                                          What I particularly like about MdC is the perfect flavor balance they maintain. When you taste a raspberry flavored truffle, for example, the raspberry-ness is very clear but the chocolate-ness of the ganache still comes first. In comparison, Hévin hits the raspberry harder, but still in a well balanced way. Both of them understand, as many purported chocolate-lovers don`t, that the highest percentage of cacao does not give the best end product. A well-balanced chocolate piece may have several different chocolates to best complement any other flavors. Too many chocolatiers seem to think that more bitter chocolate and overwhelming flavorings, rather than balance and subtlety, are the way to go.

                                          MdC generally does not have as many extreme flavor combinations as some others do. I asked their head chocolatier about this once. He said it was because they may take several years of testing of a flavor before they are satisfied they have both perfected its presentation and their ability to maintain perfect consistency in production. The flavors may be subtler, but they unquestionably taste like what they purport to be, with a freshness that few others achieve.

                                          I agree with the poster about being disappointed by Cluizel. I appreciate his being one of the few chocolatiers to make his own chocolate, and his not using soy lecithin. But his chocolate just is not that satisfying to me.

                                          I guess I should acknowledge one hit-you-on-the-head raspberry chocolate that I like, but not all the time. That is the one from Pierre Hermé.

                                          Finally, on the question of hot chocolate, Maison du Chocolat does a lovely one. I know they serve at their rue François 1er boutique. I don`t know which other boutiques have cafe seating. I won`t say they are the best because I have not done any systematic checking around. I like Angelina`s, but haven`t been there in years.

                                          However, making good hot chocolate is not particularly hard. You just have to use great chocolate and not be stingy with it. Personally, I think ambiance is as important as flavor when it comes to hot chocolate. (Like the old saying that the best tasting hot dogs are the ones with ball games in front of them.) So go to Café Flore, order a hot chocolate that is too rich for anyone to drink it all at once, and watch the people go by.

                                          1. RandyB RE: bluestarz Dec 4, 2008 12:24 PM

                                            There is a guide book to chocolate put out by an exclusive French club. The book is called "Le guide du club des croqueurs de chocolat". It is unfortunately currently out of print.

                                            It`s highest rating, 5 tablets, goes to Hévin; Linxe (Maison du Chocolat); and Le Roux (in Quiberon).

                                            They give 4 tablets in Paris to Grau (Terroir Chocolat in the 2nd); Constant; Hermé; Mulot; and Rué (Peltier in the 7th).

                                            The guide only rates 38 or so chocolatiers in Paris. I don`t know what their original selection process was. It`s clearly not a "top places only" selection. For example, they list Cacao et Chocolat but give it no tablets.

                                            Bernachon is not listed at all. Seems odd. He isn`t a favorite of mine, but with his reputation he should have been rated. They only listed one Lyon chocolatier, and he got a single tablet.

                                            1. RandyB RE: bluestarz Dec 5, 2008 05:32 AM

                                              Ok, stop the presses. A whole new contender has entered the scene. He is Jacques Genin, a mythical chocolatier who only sold wholesale to top restaurants for years, and let only a lucky few into his atelier.

                                              I was one of the lucky ones, but it was several years ago. Since his new boutique near République has only opened this week to the press, and next week officially, I`m not ready to comment.

                                              For more information, David Lebovitz has more on his blog at http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives....

                                              1. Delucacheesemonger RE: bluestarz Dec 6, 2008 05:04 AM

                                                For me, the hot chocolate l enjoy in Paris and the only one l drink is at Steiger-Constantin on Rue Capucines near Pyramides metro stop. Angelina is OK, but at this tiny shop, a elderly woman melts chocolate bars for each cup individually. Expensive yes, but one of the stops l make first on entering Paris. Not quite as thick as tazo from the Madrid or northern Spanish style, but would guess the bars she uses are between 60-70% and it and the store with 4 chairs are just perfect.

                                                1. s
                                                  stefaniem RE: bluestarz Dec 22, 2008 04:21 AM

                                                  I'm suprised no one has mentioned Patrick Roger. http://www.patrickroger.com/

                                                  In my view, he and JPH are the kings of couture cholocate in Paris. Roger goes above and beyond traditional ganache, praliné etc and experiments with peppers, heat, teas etc.

                                                  1. j
                                                    Jordansr RE: bluestarz Jan 9, 2013 08:43 AM

                                                    I've been here on French exchange I'ma student for about 5 weeks now and for Christmas I was given a box of chocolates by the grandmother, who I suspect knows more about Paris than I do :P Anyway, they were undoubtedly the most amazing chocolates I have ever tasted. The fillings were incredibly smooth, and although not as creative as some of the chocolatiers in Paris were complex and subtle. This afternoon I went and tried Patrick Rogers chocolates and they simply did not compare. Anyway, the name of this place is Noir Blanc Lait and it is actually just outside the Périphérique in a place called Saint Cloud... I highly recommend it.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Jordansr
                                                      ChefJune RE: Jordansr Jan 9, 2013 10:02 AM

                                                      fwiw, Patrick Roger is a Meilleur Ouvrieur and his chocolates are more than highly regarded. If you have not tried his bars (forget the fancy stuff -- just go with the bars!) you are missing a rare treat. I recently brought back 7 bars of his Cote d'Ivoire (72%). My friends literally fought over who would get how much of each one.

                                                      1. re: ChefJune
                                                        souphie RE: ChefJune May 30, 2013 06:55 AM

                                                        Also, they have a user manual: the point with Roger is to compare different origins, and you should let them melt in your mouth. If you just take a bite and chew, you're likely to wonder what the big deal is.

                                                    2. John Talbott RE: bluestarz Jan 13, 2013 02:54 PM

                                                      I think Parigi put it best on the Best Oyster thread; who's been to every bloody chocolate store on every bloody street in every bloody quartier?
                                                      Not me - I have 4 not bad ones within panting distance and which is best?

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: John Talbott
                                                        ChefJune RE: John Talbott Mar 19, 2013 10:07 AM

                                                        You're right, John. I mean it's chocolate, for crying out loud! How bad is it likely to be? I have enjoyed lots of different chocolates in Paris (and throughout France). For my money the best are Patrick Roger and Bernachon. But I must admit I don't recall having any I would not want to eat again. :)

                                                        1. re: ChefJune
                                                          RandyB RE: ChefJune Mar 19, 2013 01:45 PM

                                                          I agree that saying "best chocolate" is silly. However, you must not be a real chocolate lover if you ask the question: "How bad is it likely to be?."

                                                          Like the days when French bread was in decline due to inferior wheat (see Steven Kaplan's "Good Bread is Back,") French chocolate use to be generally mediocre. The resulting French chocolate confections were usually also second rate when compared to, say, Belgian products.

                                                          Robert Linxe of the Maison du Chocolat deserves a lot of credit for upping the quality and quality control bar. He demanded that Valrhona meet his standards. Others had to keep up. There are now many producers of excellent French chocolate and chocolates. However, there are also many that are definitely inferior.

                                                          I think Bernachon has long been overhyped. I do not think he is at the same level (for the most part, not having tasted all his products) as Genin, Hévin, Le Gac in St. Germain en Laye, or even la Maison du Chocolat. He is not bad, but for me the others are noticeably better. And many are much worse.

                                                          1. re: RandyB
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                                                            pammi RE: RandyB Mar 19, 2013 03:11 PM

                                                            I went to Saint Germain en Laye last Sunday solely to worship at the shrine of Pascal LeGac . Everything perfect,as usual. Orangettes,intense slivers of ginger dipped in dark chocolate, plus all the usual goodies -he has wonderful macarons too.

                                                            1. re: pammi
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                                                              oferl RE: pammi Mar 19, 2013 10:55 PM

                                                              I have been to Legac's place and liked his chocolate a lot, up there for me with Roger's stuff, altough flavor wise, i like more the "edginess and dareness" in Roger's product :-)
                                                              But both are really excellent, and i think Legac is a small fraction cheaper, which might make some difference when buying quantity of boxes as presents (and his greenish boxes are lovely, not that Roger's also green wraps, at least last time i bought, are bad)..

                                                              1. re: oferl
                                                                RandyB RE: oferl Mar 20, 2013 01:32 AM

                                                                I guess I prefer a bit more subtlety in flavor than what I've had at Roger.

                                                                This is by no means a criticism, just a different preference. I agree that Roger is a great chocolatier. It is also an example of why asking which is "best" makes no sense.

                                                                I

                                                                1. re: oferl
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                                                                  pammi RE: oferl Mar 20, 2013 01:09 PM

                                                                  Roger just opened a large,slick boutique at the corner of the same street as Pascal Legac's boutique. I somehow like the fact that you have to travel for Legac, while Roger can be found in several locations around town..

                                                              2. re: RandyB
                                                                Parigi RE: RandyB Mar 20, 2013 05:13 AM

                                                                " I mean it's chocolate, for crying out loud! How bad is it likely to be?"
                                                                That's like saying it's meat/chicken/pork/FOOD, for crying out loud! How bad is it likely to be?

                                                                1. re: Parigi
                                                                  ChefJune RE: Parigi Mar 21, 2013 09:54 AM

                                                                  oops, I should have said "chocolate in France." Because clearly there is chocolate I wouldn't eat under any circumstances. However, i haven't encountered any in France. Maybe that's partly cause I'm careful whose recommendations I follow?

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                                                            oferl RE: bluestarz Mar 21, 2013 05:11 AM

                                                            Looking for new names for upcoming visit, Ducasse's place in 11 did not sound very appealing in Randy's report, but maybe worth "testing" a sample box..
                                                            Anyone familiar with mococha lb ?

                                                            1. k
                                                              kittle RE: bluestarz May 29, 2013 02:25 PM

                                                              A L'Etoile d'Or, 30 Rue Pierre Fontaine, 75009 Paris, near the Place de Pigalle, is the shop you must visit, especially if you have little time to visit far-flung chocolate emporiums. Pigtailed Denise Acabo will give you a private tour of sweets from all over France and all as fresh as they can be, including the famed Bernachon chocolates. Try the cassis; you will be amazed. In late fall and winter Acabo has a whole cherry dipped in eau-de-vie and then in dark chocolate. The world's best single origin chocolate bars, by Bonnat, are also present.

                                                               
                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: kittle
                                                                Delucacheesemonger RE: kittle May 29, 2013 06:11 PM

                                                                First time l went there some years back, on introduction she gave me a huge kiss on the lips and later showed me her apartment in the back, which at one point was Toulouse Lautrec's

                                                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger
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                                                                  parisjo RE: Delucacheesemonger May 29, 2013 06:48 PM

                                                                  If I hadn't met Denise a few times, I'd want more details about that little rendez vous! But I think she loves her chocolates more than any man, lol. I've never met someone so passionate about what she does. We always spend way more euros than we should, but we can't help it, she's so cute and coquettish! Those are the chocolate bars I don't share when I come home (Monoprix's selection is good enough for co-workers, lol)
                                                                  My husband fell in love with some goodies Denise showed him called la verite de la palisse ~ we made them last for as long as we could back home, but he still talks about them and misses them
                                                                  She sure is a unique lady who loves what she is doing and who can suggest some of the best treats you've ever had in your life if you put yourself in her hands.

                                                                   
                                                                   
                                                                  1. re: parisjo
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                                                                    VaPaula RE: parisjo May 30, 2013 06:16 AM

                                                                    We just had our first Mme. Acabo experience last Saturday. I love her! And I did put myself in her hands. I told her I like spices, meaning a range of spices, but she interpreted that to be "hot" spicy. Which was fine. The chocolate with Szechuan pepper was very good - just a hint, as it should be. We also chose the pêche de Dijon, which was delicious, as well as the lavender, and some others whose names I don't remember. We have two left, plus some almonds with espelette.

                                                                    And yes, Jo, she's full of passion - one of the reasons I enjoyed the time spent in her shop so much. It wasn't shopping - it was an experience.

                                                              2. Rio Yeti RE: bluestarz May 30, 2013 10:08 AM

                                                                Not a shop but a brand... I recently tasted a chocolate by the brand Ethiquable, which is a fairtrade/organic brand.

                                                                I didn't plan on it, was at the local Franprix and saw they had "grand cru" chocolate bars... My brain usually doesn't function to its full potential when I pass chocolate at the supermarket, so I grabbed the first one in front of me : "Pérou 70%", made only from Criollo cocoa beans.

                                                                Woah !

                                                                This is the best supermarket chocolate I've tasted so far. I'm not sure how it compares to a bar from a fancy shop, but it is wildly aromatic, fruity and slightly acidic, no other supermarket chocolate is so subtle and has so many intricate flavors.

                                                                I will go to buy their other "grands crus" to see what they are about.

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                                                                  olivierb RE: bluestarz May 30, 2013 10:26 PM

                                                                  I remember someone mentioning in another thread that Claudio Corallo's chocolates were now available in Paris. (there it is: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8948...

                                                                  )

                                                                  Not saying it's the best, but it's one of a kind and a big favorite of mine. I could live on the 100%, 80% "sablé", 73% soft and Ubric 1 alone.

                                                                  1. g
                                                                    gengis RE: bluestarz Jun 7, 2013 06:49 AM

                                                                    my favorite chocolate place there is "Jean Charles Rochoux" he is a crazy guy who makes his own chocolate in the cave of his shop in the 6th, he makes wonderful chocolates, chocolate sculputres and delicious chocolat chestnut paste. I believe his shop is one of the most delightful chocolate experiences one can experiment in paris

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