Annual Salon du Chocolat Not to Miss List

With family and friends living in and around Paris, I visit the City of Lights several times a year. But there is one trip that stands out from the rest. My annual pilgrimage in the fall for the Salon du Chocolat. Yes, I take an almost 5 hour train ride to visit this show. But then again, it’s no ordinary food show. We’re talking almost 14,000 square meters (150,000 square feet!) of floor, one stand after another, showing their finest products – the very best in the chocolate world today. Free samples abound.

On my train ride to Paris, after going through my endless lists of patisseries and boulangeries that I would visit during the few days leading up to the salon (that I’ll share soon too), I also went through my notes from last year’s Salon du Chocolat. It felt like it was just yesterday – I could still taste the masterful pairing of buckwheat flour and salted butter by Henri Le Roux.  I could picture the hot pink candied nuts of François Pralus’ signature Praluline and wondered if they would be baking at the show once again (oui !). I pictured my favorite discovery last year – Les Gayettes du Pays Noir from Belgium, as well as the meringues as big as rugby balls from Le Grenier à Pain, hoping they would both return to the show this year (unfortunately not, 0 for 2).

Salon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, France

For the 15th year, the show was just as grand and impressive as previous years. I love going the very first day before the masses arrive, when the chocolate makers manning the booths themselves are more than happy to chat and explain their creations – from where the idea came, with what ingredients they used – and to offer you a sample… or two. I tasted Le Roux’s (he’s below center left) new pumpkin seed praliné (divine), Sadaharu Aoki’s yuzu macaron shell (that’s him below right), Mazet’s orange clove Praslines (new addition, special for Christmas) and cotton candy flavored marshmallow from Les Délices d’un Gourmand. I compared ganaches from Aoki (sesame), Swedish MÄLARCHOCOLATERIE (cloudberry; blue cheese), Servant (tonka) and Joel Patouillard (Venezuela vs. Java). The chocolate with cheese was surprisingly pleasant – it will still more about the chocolate, rather than the cheese.

Salon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, France

I also had a laugh or two with Teddy of Rody Chocolaterie. Combining his name with that of his grandfather Robert, Rody was born – and with it, a product especially for Grandpa Robert, Patates à Papy (small chocolate balls resembling potatoes). Don’t worry, he didn’t really bite the chocolate bear below. I also had great fun chatting with Philippe and Sylvie Dura of Nougaterie des Fumades (another from last year’s roundup). They told me about new recipes people around the world are trying with their nougat – all different types of meat cooked down with nougat, even fish too. I have yet to give that a go. I tried their newest flavor made with caramelized nuts, and it’s excellent.

Salon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, France

But what you all really must want to know? are my incontournables of the day! Without further or due, my annual Salon du Chocolat Not to Miss List is back (photos follow):

* Franck Kestener – First place on my list this year.  Kestener is a soft-spoken, friendly guy, also very chic – take a look at his website! I’ll be featuring his chocolates for sure again on MyKugelhopf, and sharing more about the family history behind the company (5th generation). When I tasted one of his bars at the show, I had an immediate reaction – it brought me back to Paris years ago when I first discovered the very same bar. My sweet memory bank started ringing, telling me this was long ago a favorite of mine. It still is. Taste his Perle de Lorraine, a beautiful green hexagonal chocolate with 3 layers: mirabelle caramel, mirabelle pâte de fruit and a light, crunchy praliné.

* Philippe Pascoët – For the Zürchers reading this, you’ll be happy to know that I tried to convince Swiss Pascoët to open up a boutique in Zürich. And in 2011, it may just happen! Until then, Geneva and Carouge are not too far. For you Parisians, he also just opened up a new shop on rue Saint-Placide. Be adventurous and try his exotic flavored chocolates, made with Absinthe, licorice, Champagne, coriander or even cigar. Pascoët gave me a sample of the chocolate called L’Adrien, created 4 years ago for his son’s birth. I was in luck; it was a perfectly crisp praliné, nothing too exotic for my sweet palate.

* Pariès – the Basque region of France is one of my very favorites, so I was immediately drawn in by the little chocolates with the Basque symbol on them at this stand. Gâteau Basque and tourons aside, what really called my name were the Kanougas – individually foil-wrapped caramels made with chocolate, vanilla or different nuts. Go for the gold – that’s coffee flavored, and as you chew, it will slowly melt and the butter will coat your mouth and you will be so very happy I told you not to miss it. (I had at first confused the name with my favorite chocolate bar by Bernachon, Kalouga. Turns out the caramels were created in 1905 for Russian Dukes and are named after the same Russian city, Kalouga.)

* Jacques Bokel – twice in a row on my Must List, Bokel’s massive squares of praliné (2″ x 2″) are no dainty chocolate. I was blown away by his almond with fleur de sel last year, and made sure to come home with some this year. He has a huge stand and there are tons of varieties – ginger, cinnamon, different nuts, rum raisin, etc. Be sure to try a few.

* Christophe Roussel – Bretons are not the only ones who get to visit Roussel’s boutiques, now that he has also opened up in Paris on the rue du Champs de Mars. Next time I go to Paris, I’ll be there, and will once again have trouble deciding between the mini marshmallow cubes in bright fluorescent colors (pink and blue) or the equally colorful macarons in fabulous flavors like cherry/piment d’Espelette, daiquiri/lime and lavender/apricot. I brought back a small box of 6 (that disappeared very quickly), including my regular go-to flavors, salted butter caramel and coffee, as well as the caramel macaron dipped in chocolate (wow), passionfruit/tarragon (wonderful), raspberry and cherry/pistachio.  His macarons are simply outstanding.

* François Pralus – You’ll know you’re near this stand when the aromas of a fresh bakery and caramelized sugar start wafting your way.  Grab a taste of their sublime buttery brioches, but don’t ignore all the other products at the neighboring stand.  You’ll see Pralus’ classic, colorful pyramids of single origin chocolate, a new praline fondue in an attractive Emile Henry bowl and the most dangerous of all – Perles Céreales Noires, crisped rice dipped in chocolate (they look like little dots).  Adult candy!  Great to sprinkle on ice cream, decorate desserts, or simply pop handfuls in your mouth!  Very addictive…

As far as my favorites for esthetic reasons ? Boissier’s gorgeous blue packaging is always high on my list. As is Patrice Chapon’s beautiful and elegant packaging (don’t miss his chocolate mousse bar! You can see him serving up above). And you can’t get more colorful, tastefully so, than chez Sadaharu Aoki and Christophe Roussel. If their products weren’t so divine, I would still recommend a visit to their booths just to please the eye.

Salon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, FranceSalon du Chocolat 2009, Paris, France

In this sugar-laden article, I have only merely touched upon my discoveries at the show. Chocolate chouquettes and cannelés, éclairs, chocolate themed cookbooks and plenty of educational panels to read, exhibits and sculptures, chocolate dresses on display from the highly exclusive fashion show, not to mention dried fruit, spices and the obligatory foie gras too. There?s surely something for everyone. You’re guaranteed to find a new favorite treat of your own, to have your taste buds awakened and potentially sugared out, and to not leave empty-handed.  If you go to the show this weekend, be sure to let me know what you taste and love!

Salon du Chocolat
October 14 – October 18, 10am to 7pm (Friday night the 16th until 9pm)
Porte de Versailles, Halle 5
Paris, France
Metro: line 12 to Porte de Versailles
Ticket prices:
Adults: 12 ?uros; Children ages 3 to 12: 6 ?uros; Children under 3 years old: free

33 Responses to “Annual Salon du Chocolat Not to Miss List”

  1. Tweets that mention Annual Salon du Chocolat Not to Miss List | MyKugelhopf -- says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Travel News and Kerrin Rousset, Gogotrip. Gogotrip said: Annual Salon du Chocolat Not to Miss List: With family and friends living in and around Paris, I visit the City .. […]

  2. Andrea says:

    Wow. Wow. Wow. Do you know how lucky you are? Now if only we could have something like this in our neck of the woods….

    Is anything better than chocolate? Really?

  3. Lani says:

    Just by reading your post I am sugared out! The photography is just mind blowing! Oh how I can picture you wandering the aisles of the Chocolate Show not missing a thing. Tasting everything….photographing the displays which are so creative and elegant! How fabulous! I certainly agree that there is nothing better then chocolate! But I want to really taste the salted butter caramel…chocolate with crunch….see the beautiful packaging and enjoy the excitement of the Chocolate Show in Paris….Thank you for sharing your wonderful time in Paris….thank you …thank you…

  4. Rosa says:

    Aaaahhhh, lucky you ;-P! Thanks for sharing!

    Cheers and have a wonderful weekend,


  5. Scribetrotter says:

    I have to agree with Lani – your pix are stunning! I keep trying to take decent food photos and fail miserably. How on earth do you do it? (It’s a little hard to type right now as I’m drooling and reaching for a napkin at the same time…)

  6. Romy says:

    Chocolate with blue cheese! Yes! I was so skeptical but then I tried a stilton truffle at Paul Young in London and it was excellent. The tiny hint of sourness set of the dark ganache perfectly.

    Next year I am going to shrink myself down and hide in your bag to Paris…

  7. Kerrin says:

    Andrea, I absolutely do – I am so so lucky, and I thank the travel and chocolate Gods every day! 🙂 Is anything better than chocolate you ask? I really don’t think so, as a matter of fact!

    Lani, sorry for sugaring you out! 😉 Thanks for the great comment, so glad I could take you to the salon with me. You said it best – I walked that show, every inch of it and made sure not to miss a stand, nor a taste!

    Rosa, thanks! And to you too, bon weekend!

    Scribetrotter, you are too funny – hope you got that drool all cleaned up, haha! Thanks for the kudos on the photos. I am certain that you do not fail miserably. Try shooting chocolate – it’s a wonderful medium to practice on! 🙂

    Romy, you are an experienced cheese truffle taster! Stilton truffle in London – ah yes, I remember your chocolate tour, so cool! I’ll bring a bigger bag to the show next year for you, haha!

  8. iain says:

    Superbes, les photos… comme d’habitude!

  9. kelleyn says:

    Ok Kugelhopf, one of these days when I can get away from my husband and children I would love to tag along with you to this show. I am all about chocolate. Hense the not so skinny waist line, but I life would not be life without chocolate. This is show is my definition of Heaven well almost because I don’t want to be Sacriligious but it is pretty dang close.

  10. Amy @ The Q Family says:

    Wow!! How did you survive this without going into sugar coma? 🙂 Amazing pictures. I couldn’t imagine what it will be like to see and taste that in person. 🙂

  11. jkiel says:

    as iain says (I think!), great shots, as usual! complimenti! my chocolate-addicted friends will appreciate this!

  12. Kerrin says:

    Merci Iain, super sympa.

    kelleyn, oh how I would love for you to join me next year. I’m thinking we might just have to organize a group visit to the Salon du Chocolat 2010….! Because yes, after all, what IS life without chocolate? (No fun!)

    Amy, I have years and years of training under my belt – serious sugar experience, haha! You’ll have to join us at the Salon tour 2010 – so you won’t have to imagine what it’s like anymore – you’ll be there!!

    jkiel, thanks so much. And your friends are chocolate-addicted did you say? I like them already! 🙂

  13. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    What an outstanding collection of information – this list is amazing! I almost feel like I was there myself to experience this chocolate overload!

    I am intrigued by some of the flavours you mention from Philippe Pascoët – absinthe, licorice, Champagne (great choice!), AND cigar??!! What a mouth-watering collection from this fine purveyor as well as the others on your list.

    I actually saw those dresses (first collection of photos – top right) on the news the other night and thought, “Kerrin is there right now!”

    I can’t wait for your carnet d’adresses for your favourite patisseries and boulangeries in Paris.

  14. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite says:

    Drooling. All. Over. My. Keyboard. Thanks for taking us along for the ride!!

  15. Laura says:

    I can’t believe I have never managed to get to Salon du Chocolat – though my waistline is probably better off because of this.

    That chocolate sphere covered in macaroons is heaven.

  16. Lady Macaron says:

    Hi Kerrin, merci pour votre email! that was v nice of you. Oh i would love to go to one of this chocolate event, but now I am back in Indonesia and we don’t really celebrate chocolate like the rest of the world, pity really. The cane sugar sticks reminds me of nougat, i thought they were flavoured nougat at first. The macarons look devilish! love the photos, oh really wish i can go next year. Enjoy and pls write about the experience this year, love to read it!

  17. jen laceda says:

    Kerrin, I must say, this is such a comprehensive list, even though I know there were hundreds more at the Salon du Chocolat event! Thanks for taking me for a ride around the chocolate heaven. Can’t wait for more posts!

  18. Kerrin says:

    Julia, it definitely sounds like you were pretty close to being at the Salon yourself! So cool that you saw the dresses on TV – there is always an impressive list of fashion designers matched up with chocolate makers, outstanding what they create in the end. As for Philippe Pascoët’s line of flavors, some may sound totally crazy, yet at this level of quality, they are all masterfully done – and absolutely worth trying. An experience if anything…

    Mardi, thanks for coming along on the ride! Better wipe off that drool from your keyboard before sparks start flying! haha.

    Laura, there’s always the Salon next year…! Your waistline may not agree, but your taste buds and tummy certainly will! 🙂

    Lady Macaron, no chocolate celebrations in Indonesia? Oooh but there’s so much other good stuff! (Hey, have you seen my ABC list of Indonesian fruit? Here’s the page of my Indonesian articles if you want to check it out: Never tried cane sugar sticks, sounds pretty sweet to me!

    Jen, here it is, the list you were waiting for, right?! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed a little slice of chocolate heaven. Always more to come…

  19. Akila says:

    Oh my gosh. I am so so jealous. That sounds incredible. All of it sounds delicious but the daiquiri/lime macaron really won me over. And cotton candy flavored marshmallows – ridiculous!

  20. foodloverkathy says:

    I love this post! It takes me back to Paris and all the wonderful chocoltiers. I will have to book my next ticket during next year’s Salon du Chocolat.

  21. Tina says:

    wow this is simply awesome!!

  22. astheroshe says:

    Is it @ the same time every year in France?..I am would love to go next year, i am sure it is already being planed……

    Do you know if some of the chocolates you mention are exported to the USA?

    wonderful show! 🙂

    Merci Beaucoup!

  23. Kerrin says:

    Akila, cotton candy marshmallows – ok, maybe a bit ridiculous (hello sugar!), but such fun, and really yummy too! 🙂

    foodloverkathy, thanks so much. I’ll see you at the Salon in 2010 then!

    astheroshe, the Salon is always around the same time every year. The dates are set for 2010 already – Oct 26 to Nov 2. Here’s the link with the entire global calendar (amazing how many shows in so many countries!):

    As for chocolates exported to the US, there are some chocolatiers that have their products in shops in the US already (like Pralus). Best to check the websites of the chocolate you are interested in and see about international shipping. What caught your eye?

  24. astheroshe says:

    Thanks for the info 🙂 If i would have planned better i could have gone to NYC for the show. 🙁 , but Paris, is way better!
    However, I am new to all this…I am studying to be a pastry chef, and i think i am leaning towards making chocolates… My mini dream is a shop with my handmade ones, and also carry some international..Maybe??..LOL
    ….and everything catches my eye! :))

  25. Niko says:

    Wow – this show is the real deal. It seems totally different from the New York Chocolate Show which is geared towards consumers or “prosumers”. Great photos and descriptions BTW. It is interesting how the same people put on these shows – they must have spent some time figuring out what works where.

  26. Dessert buzz » Blog Archive » More New York Chocolate show: says:

    […] out the coverage of the Salon Du Chocolat in Paris by My Kugelhopf.  It seems a bit more colorful than New York’s 2009 […]

  27. Kerrin says:

    astheroshe, wow a pastry chef to be ! You’ll have to let us all know when you open that shop of yours, of course ! Lots of good luck to you !

    Niko, oh yeah, the Salon is definitely the real deal – a whole world away from the NY show. The same founders behind it all, but different agencies running each show. Different approaches, different audiences, and most of all a different culture and mindset about chocolate. Very very different indeed. Looking forward to seeing your coverage of the NY show for sure… thanks for the shout out to this post on your blog.

  28. Louison says:

    En francais^-^
    Superbe vos photos, en espèrant vous revoir au salon du chocolat de Paris
    du 28 octobre au 1 novembre 2010
    A bientôt

  29. valentina says:

    I’m going to Paris in sept to be a tour guide for two days for a couple of friends on their first visit and I’m now going through your blog with a pen in hand and taking up notes on the various addresses. Your blog is just soo much fun. without intruding on my friends’ tourist route I will try and get shops of my interest in the itenary. They will then become my friends places of interest as well.Thanks again for all the wondeful tips.

  30. kate says:

    Wonderful, Wonderful looking for schedule of 2010 Salon du Chocolate doesn’t seem to be anywhere on website in Paris info … all your photos and descriptions. Daughter studying in Paris for next few months International Business
    sent her your article would love to go if could find English program of events…
    any suggestions not on Salon du Chocolate site so far…Thanks

  31. Kerrin says:

    kate, so exciting that your daughter is studying in Paris right now. I just went to the Salon du Chocolat website, and there is in fact a link on the top right for English. Here are the different events this year:
    And also the demos/activities/workshops:
    Last but not least, the schedule for it all:

    Hope she enjoys !! 🙂

  32. kate says:

    Thanks Kerrin.. She bought her ticket today and is going on the weekend because she has class Friday….Wants to see the fashion show that we see in states on tv each year..studying while tasting , international business such hard work…..
    Thank you for the quick response…..She just hopes the strikes don’t effect that weekend… so far at least 6 days of strikes even cancelled the TGV to Provence the day she had a tour …very dissapointed…YOur photos are GREAT especially for us that can only dream…Thank you for your reports..and photos

  33. Victoria (District Chocoholic) says:

    Thank you so much for the detailed review. I’m tentatively planning on going to the New York show, and several of your “must visits” will be there. Love the insider knowledge.

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