I recently spent a few days in Paris in the cold, cold heart of winter. It’s bit more difficult wander about the beautiful city in the winter than it is in the summer. Lingering along the banks of the Seine, pausing to enjoy the view from the many bridges, and lapping up Bertillon’s ice cream just aren’t as appealing in the shorter, darker, colder days of winter. Not surprisingly, we were nevertheless, able to find ways to enjoy ourselves. One of those ways was dashing from chocolate shop to chocolate savoring small bites as well as the warmer temps indoors. We went on a official tour, with a great guide to the following shops:
- Patrick Roger – This was our first stop. There are two branches operated by this chocolatier one on Boulevard St. Germain and the one we visited on Place de la Madeleine. Patrick Roger was present not only as a genius chocolatier, but also as an artist, a sculptor. He did, in fact, create sculptures out of metal and also make the same out of chocolate. He has a small gallery upstairs in the Place de la Madeleine location. I wanted to try something I wouldn’t normally go for, so I got the basil/lemon chocolate. I wasn’t really expecting much, but I am still thinking about it to this day. It is one of the best, well put together chocolates I’ve had. It had strong flavors, but the chocolate was able to shine through as well. I wish I had bought a whole box. I would highly recommend a trip here, and trying that small square.
You can read about pastry chef David Leibovitz’s work with Patrick Roger to learn the chocolate business in his book, The Sweet Life in Paris.
2. Pierre Herme – Our second stop was not far away. It was a smaller, but still delightful and delicious chocolate shop. We tried a caramel flavored chocolate, which melted in our mouth. Really smooth.
3. Angelina – This place had already been on my list of places to go. I was dying to try the renowned thick hot chocolate, and to see if it would live up to some I’d had in Florence, Italy.
I had originally wanted to have lunch in the dining room at Angelina, but I was thrilled to see that it was on our chocolate stop. We weren’t there though for the hot chocolate, though, we went inside, bypassing the long line outside. At the counter, you can order an assortment of chocolates, macarons, which we sampled, and their famous Mont Blanc treats. It is a mountain of chestnut cream atop a meringue. I may have to go back and try it.
(photo courtesy of angelin-paris.fr)
At Angelina, I did however, take the opportunity to grab a cup of the hot chocolate. Fortunately, there was a stand in front of the shop. It was worth the hype. It was delicious, and just and thick and as I had hoped it would be. It is like drinking pudding. Carrying that cup also helped keep my hand warm, win-win.
4. Michel Cluizel – This chocolaterie seemed to focus mostly on single-origin chocolates, and making a pure chocolate. They were delicious, but didn’t seem to have stand out qualities, like the others. (photo courtesy of cluizel.com)
5. Pierre Marcolini – This chocolaterie was our last stop. It is located on the bustling Rue St. Honore. This street is where many of the great design houses and finer shops of Paris are located. The guide explained that this is because of its proximity to the Tuileries Garden and the Louvre when it was a royal palace. Many of the suppliers to the royal family and the finery they desired needed to be close and thus readily available. The tradition of fine shops and suppliers has continued even without a royal family in France.
This was another melt-in-your-mouth experience. The ones we tried as a slight caramel taste to them, which amazing. It was perfectly matched. It was another square I wish I’d gotten a box of. Of course, it’d be gone by now.
Have you tried any of the chocolates of Paris? Do you have a favorite?