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Mar 19, 2013 06:22 AM

Alain Ducasse making chocolate near the Bastille

Today's À Nous Paris features an atelier of Ducasse using 50+ year old machines to roast, grind, conch, and prepare chocolates in various forms.

I hope to try it out in the next few days. Any else been there yet?

If you don't like it, it's an easy walk or bus ride to get to Genin.

Here is some info in French on the place:

On the chocolate shop's actual website, there is no info but the address.

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  1. I guess I'll be first to reply to myself. I went to Ducasse chocolatier a few hours ago. Disclaimer: The place pissed me off from the start and that may color what I say about the chocolate.

    You cannot make your own selection except in plain chocolate bars. The bouchées (filled pieces) are only sold in prepackaged boxes. Your choice is chocolate with various ganache fillings and both dark and milk, chocolate with praliné, or a mix of the two. If you want mainly raspberry and passionfruit/coconut, as I did, you are SOL. I do not like the arrogance that says: You take what I want you to have or nothing.

    The price list is also confusing. The boxes come in odd weights. How to compare à l'ancienne in one weight with a different style in another weight?

    So, given the above, I did not buy a box. I got to try one plain with ganache and one orangette. The plain one was ok, but not special. The orangette had too thin a coating of chocolate.

    End of my story. Maybe someone else will buy a full box and can report further.

    I left Ducasse and kept walking until I got to Genin. See my new thread: Genin's tartes au citron are back, sometimes

    9 Replies
    1. re: RandyB

      Thanks for the update. From your original post I would've put it on my to do list for this week, now I think I'll pass...

      1. re: RandyB

        That sounds to me like the exact description of any Ducasse enterprise.

        Bruno Verjus once said "Ducasse does not sell you "the thing", he sells you "the idea of the thing". So true.

        Far more interesting is the opening, a few days from now, of L'Arbre à Café's retail store on rue du Nil (yes, next door to the Frenchies and Terroirs d'Avenir).
        Not just for Hippolyte Courty's wonderful roasts and blends, but also for the Sao Tome chocolates and cocoa beans grown and processed right on the island by Claudio Corallo.

        I had some yesterday at the Omnivore festival and they changed my whole idea of chocolate. Couldn't stop nibbling at those roasted beans.

        1. re: Ptipois

          "Claudio Corallo" - that name brings back memories. He opened a shop in Seattle 5+ years ago. I remember the Italian salesperson explaining to me what Corallo's approach was.

          This was right after I finished a 6 week (1 evening/week) course at Theo's Chocolate. Theo's was taking a fairly basic approach to processing cacao, compared to say Valrhona. Carallo took "basic" back to a whole different level.

          What to say about Corallo? I liked the politics of what he was doing. I liked the idea of getting closer to the essence of the cacao. I really did want to like it. I just didn't. I found it too coarse in flavor and texture.

          He doesn't conch, which leave the "mouth feel" very coarse. He uses minimal sugar, often in large crystals. That makes his 70+% bar seem like 80%. I find that too strong and bitter a taste. The 80% or more bars are really, really bitter. I guess there is no Aztec left in me. They would have loved it, I imagine.

          1. re: RandyB

            I suppose Claudio Corallo's stuff (he himself claims that it should not be called chocolate) is perfect for persons like me, who do not like chocolate.

            1. re: Ptipois

              Wow, this is not the sort of thing you just innocently blurb out on Chowhound like this... A proper "coming out" is in order...

              Will definitely check out l'Arbre à Café though.

              1. re: Rio Yeti

                That's just how it is. I would be more easily believed if I said that I like to eat my toes on a regular basis as they grow back than when I say that I do not like chocolate (I mean, in some conditions I can abide it, but it is not my favorite food at all).

                Some people do not like chocolate. It is a fact.

                1. re: Ptipois

                  Every time you say that, a fairy dies somewhere... please stop !

                  1. re: Ptipois

                    Does that mean some of your ancestry includes the (formerly) cannibal tribe in South America that is documented as being able to regrow toes?

                    1. re: RandyB

                      Well, that's far more serious a coming-out than confessing I don't like chocolate, isn't it?

        2. I recently saw on a blog that Patrice Chapon has been doing his own bean-to-bar in the Paris 'burbs without all the fanfare Ducasse is getting:

          I've always enjoyed Chapon's stuff (and taking visitors to the chocolate mousse bar), and the service is very kind indeed.

          1. I saw that Ducasse has now a store inside G.Lafayette.

            His single origin chocolate bars are kind of expensive at 10 euros each.

            I would like to try one. Mayne a milk one and an Equater or Criollo..