140 Chocolatiers Under One Roof
If you’ve read my last few posts, you might be thinking – obsessed with macarons?! You’ve read about macarons in New York City, and you’ve read about macarons in Paris. So yes, maybe a little obsessed. But there are other things in life too. I agree. Like chocolate. So thank goodness that my trip to Paris coincided with the 14th annual Salon du Chocolat. Ok, so maybe it wasn?t a coincidence. I have a long relationship with the Salon, having visited it in Paris many years back when it was a very high-end event on a smaller scale, held at the Carrousel du Louvre. I also helped run the media relations for the Chocolate Show in New York for several years. As the liaison between every exhibitor and the press, I had to know (and taste!) every product at the show. Not a bad job!
So it was exciting to go back again this year and see old friends, chocolate makers I worked with in both Paris and New York, and most especially, taste Paris? best chocolates all under one roof. I also had the chance to discover new products from all around the world, not just France. The show continues through this weekend, every day from 10am to 7pm. I’m not sure if lines will resemble those of the New York show with its infamous 2 hour wait, but there promises to be quite a crowd! Even in the enormous Porte de Versailles, it will be plenty packed. With demonstrations, lectures, activities for children, tastings, chocolate dresses on display, books for sale, cultural performances, and the main attraction of the stands themselves, there?s enough to keep you there for a good part of the day. You’ll see your high end chocolatiers and famous pastry chefs with television cameras by their sides, and you’ll see the fun and whimsical too, like chocolate shaped into tools, the Eiffel Tower or SpongeBob SquarePants. There’s something for everyone. And if you need a break from the dark stuff, there?s plenty of savory food to change it up a bit, before going back to sweet of course. What would a Chocolate Show in France be after all, without a stand for foie gras?
Top 10 Stands Not to Miss at the Salon du Chocolat (or simply, Kerrin’s favorites):
- Henri Le Roux from Brittany, France: for their new Chocolat du Terroir – a delicate praliné made with Brittany?s famous buckwheat flour (blé noir), crushed cookies, salted butter and dark chocolate.
- Les Gayettes du Pays Noir from Belgium: confections resembling the black coal of Charleroi, but tasting more like heaven – a soft buttercream in a sugar coating made with roasted coffee. My #1 favorite product tasted all day at the Salon. Stay tuned for more on them!
- Le Grenier à Pain from Angers in France’s Loire Valley ? their “Rocailles” are hard to miss: meringues the size of a rugby ball. Also difficult to choose between the 3 flavors, chocolate, salted butter caramel and red fruits. (I went with the last.)
- Nougaterie des Fumades from the South of France ? ever try nougat with morel caramel (yes, morel as in the mushroom)? I hadn’t either. So here?s your chance! The lady running the stand recommended putting a bar of it in the middle of meat when roasting… certainly original. Worth trying (if you do, let me know how it goes).
- Jacques Bockel from Alsace, France – for a hefty square of his almond praliné made with fleur de sel. Strong after taste of salt ? this is a very good thing. That?s why he won first place for praliné at last year?s Salon.
- Francis Miot from Southwest France – not only for his large range of delicious fruit jams, but for their colorful names and labels. If you speak French, don’t miss Couille du Pape and Gratte Cul! (Sorry, no translations available!)
- Francois Pralus from Roanne, France – for the absolutely mouthwatering Brioche aux Pralines Roses ? my new must-have in Paris. More to come on Pralus ? on their brand new boutique in Paris, on the stunning new cookbook and on that irresistible brioche (of which I bought several to put in my freezer back in Zürich!).
- Mazet from Montargis, France – for the delicious range of crispy pralines and caramelized almonds in very attractive tins and boxes. A classic for over 3 centuries now.
- Chocolaterie Colas from France – for their impressive chocolate replicas of shoes in all sizes and styles – for babies, men and women. On display in glass cases, they are true museum worthy pieces.
- Madame Setsuko from Tokyo, Japan – for their precious chocolates, impeccable designs and unctuous flavors, like green tea or red bean. Watch the Japanese chefs combine art and pastry in front of your eyes, just don’t forget to taste too…
Children ages 3 to 12: 6 ?uros
Children under 3 years old: Free