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Nov 14, 2009 03:07 AM

Visit to a wonderful, new chocolatier - Pascal Legac (long)

Yesterday I took the short train ride on the RER A to St. Germain en Laye. From there it was a 10 minute walk to the boutique of Pascal Legac. Along the way I must have passed a dozen chocolate shops or confiseries. So he has lots of competition. However, the Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat just named him one of the top 9 chocolatiers of France, so that should help.

Legac was for years a master chocolatier and head of development at la Maison du Chocolat. I met him several times at their Parcours Initiatiques. These are tasting sessions held at the MdC boutique on rue Pierre Charron. I highly recommend these short sessions, by the way.

He recently left MdC to open his own shop. I got a tour dans les coulisses (backstage) and it is amazing how much he does in such a small space. Jacques Genin's space is immense by comparison, for those of you who have seen it. Yet Legac not only has his line of chocolates, but also macarons and caramels (which I did not sample), and pastries. He supervises everything to maintain his standards of quality, something he obviously could not do with a company the size of MdC.

I sampled about 10 different chocolates, all but one dark. What struck me was their freshness and brightness of taste. The raspberry (always my first choice to taste) was perfect. It really tasted of fresh berries with just the right balance. I'd compare the berry-ness (?) with that of Genin, in the middle of the great chocolatiers. Maison du Chocolat is more subtle but still fine. Hévin overdoes it and overpowers the chocolate.

He makes two plain, dark bouchées (plus regular truffles), one mild and one strong. I loved the strong one. I'm not a fan of milk chocolate, but Legac had me taste his caramel au beurre salé, which he said would be lost in dark chocolate. It was indeed a perfect balance. And if you like mint with chocolate (I don't), his version is as fresh tasting as you could ever want.

He also makes the thinnest orangettes I've seen. The orange peel is not sweet, and they are delicious. 4€ for 50 g. His other chocolates are similarly priced, roughly 25% cheaper than the top places in Paris. I brought home enough to more than compensate for the train fare.

I have to mention the chocolate raspberry cake. It seemed like around 9 layers and came in a very generous slice. Thin dark chocolate, mousse, chocolate wafer, cake, raspberry. It was fantastically rich and very, very chocolaty. (Photo attached.


St. Germain en Laye was a nice place to walk around with a lovely park. Definitely worth the trip.

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  1. The above post is great. Does anyone have more recent experiences at this chocolate shop?

    Also, if anyone would like to recommend other food places in St. Germain en Laye, that would be appreciated.

    Based on other posts on this board, I understand that Cazaudehore, La Rotisserie des Loges, and La Gerbe d'Or are all good.

    5 Replies
    1. re: nl06

      I live in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and I just bought chocolates from Legac "for my husband". They're really good: the salted caramel is to die for, and the fruit flavors are true and intense. My daughter bought a giant rocher and really enjoyed that. Patrick Roger recently opened up a shop in Saint Germain, and I love his stuff as well, but Legac is almost as good and somewhat more affordable.
      I don't eat out here very often because i love to cook, but there's a new place called Le Wauthier or Chez Wauthier that's supposed to be quite good. Le Petit Bonheur, a wine bar, is also quite sympa.
      My favorite food experience in Saint Germain is the market--Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Prices are on the high side, but you have a lot of local producers who are friendly and helpful.

      1. re: mbcraw4d

        Thanks very much for the information, mbcraw4d. I will definitely stop by Legac's shop to buy goodies "for my relatives and friends back home." I did not know that Patrick Roger is now in Saint Germain as well. Will check out his shop, too, especially if I do not visit his shops in Paris.

        I will look into Wauthier. If you try it out (or know someone who has), please report back. As it turns out, I am planning to visit Saint Germain on a Tuesday, so I will plan to check out the market.

        1. re: nl06

          For the record, as I suspect this is too late for nl06, Wauthier is "Quai Wauthier," at 31 rue Wauthier, having shut down and then reopened a couple of months ago. I've been there once, for lunch, and the food was very good, though more expensive than I would have thought it should have been. One note: I've walked past it a bunch of times since then, and it's always dead, no matter what time of day (lunch/dinner).

          1. re: pjshapiro

            Thank you, pjshapiro, for the report on Quai Wauthier. As you suspected, the information came a little late for me (I was in Saint Germain in April). But perhaps it'll prove handy for a future trip.

            Regarding Pascal Legac, his chocolates are indeed very good, and I really liked his macarons, too. The caramels were good, too, but I think I preferred the flavors at Jacques Genin. Now that I am not in Paris, I would kill to have either. But, when you are there, you have the luxury of picking and choosing.

            Saint Germain indeed made for a nice side trip from Paris, and I am very glad that I learned about it on this board.

        2. re: mbcraw4d

          mbcraw4d -- I just recently moved to Saint-Germain. Would love to hear any other thoughts you might have on the town or surrounding area.

      2. definitely sounds like someplace I would like to visit. ;)