Sweet News for Paris: Franck Kestener Opens Shop

A highlight of my visit to the Salon du Chocolat, and of my trip to Paris a couple of weeks ago, was tasting Franck Kestener’s chocolates in Paris.  I have been buying his bars at A L’Etoile d’Or in the 9th arrondissement for years, which used to be the only place you could get them in Paris.  Otherwise, the family business (since 1936) is in Sarreguemines in the Lorraine region of France.  Getting to his shop there may be as difficult as non-French speakers trying to pronounce the name of the town.  But neither are necessary, as he has just opened his first shop in Paris.  And like my news for us Zürchers that Ladurée opened in Zürich, this is some seriously sweet news for Parisians and any of us visiting the capital.

Franck Kestener, Paris, FranceFranck Kestener, Paris, France

The shop is in the heart of Paris, not far from the Luxembourg Gardens, yet just outside of the bustling area of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.  It seems to me the perfect analogy for Franck himself – named among the country’s best chocolatiers, yet he somehow escapes the spotlight.  Perhaps his address in the capital will change that, with his collection of bars, macarons, praliné ladybugs and chestnuts, the latter with a marzipan shell (below) and more. After all, there’s plenty to boast about: Franck worked as Pastry Chef at the Palais de l?Elysée for the French President, was one of the youngest chefs at 27 to receive the prestigious title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France Chocolatier Confiseur (MOF, best craftsman) in 2003, and led the French team to a gold medal at the World Pastry Championship in 2006.

Franck Kestener, Paris, FranceFranck Kestener, Paris, FranceFranck Kestener, Paris, FranceFranck Kestener, Paris, France

You may recognize his name, as I have mentioned him numerous times here on the blog, as when he (and his Perle de Lorraine) topped my list of favorites at last year’s Salon du Chocolat. When I asked his father, the very friendly Robert (that’s him above, top left), what his favorite chocolate was, his answer… the Perle de Lorraine (mirabelle caramel, mirabelle pâte de fruit and a light, crunchy praliné). Why? Because that was his creation, on which Franck put his finishing touch. You may also recall when I featured my long-time favorite bar, his Atlantique. It’s simply irresistible: dark chocolate, buttery shortbread and salted caramel.

Franck Kestener, Paris, FranceChocolate

But what I had never tasted before, were his cannelés.

Franck Kestener, Paris, FranceFranck Kestener, Paris, France

Ceci n’est pas un cannelé. This is not a cannelé.

And it isn’t, even though it certainly looks like one. When you taste this ingenious creation, you’ll think you’re biting into a dense chocolate mousse.  It’s actually guimauve, marshmallow, but without the elasticity we expect.  Franck created this original recipe for his MOF competition.  The colored stripes on each cannelé indicate the different centers, and each one is worth trying: praliné (plain), porcini praliné (yes, the mushroom), raspberry and calamansi (Japanse citrus).

Franck Kestener, Paris, FranceFranck Kestener, Paris, FranceFranck Kestener, Paris, FranceFranck Kestener, Paris, France

But let’s not forget his chocolates. Each praliné and ganache more delicate and delectable than the last. The bright green catching your eye below is the Emeraude, a mint and lime ganache. It’s part of a series with Topaze (pear and saffron ganache), Rubis (raspberry and juniper berry ganache) and the most recent, Saphir, a caramel infused with the Kinmokusei flower (Osmanthus) that came about when he was given a jar of it as jam in Japan. That’s the chocolate Franck is holding here.  He told me the next in the series will be Diamant – he has the name, now time to create the chocolate.  Can’t wait to see what he comes up with…

Franck Kestener, Paris, FranceFranck Kestener, Paris, France

Franck Kestener
7 rue Gay Lussac
75006 Paris
(opened October 5, 2010)

6 rue Gutenberg
57200 Sarreguemines

26 Responses to “Sweet News for Paris: Franck Kestener Opens Shop”

  1. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    Oh my gosh, those cannelé that aren’t cannelé are amazing. How could you not buy up the whole shop? Or did you? In my round up of 2009 post, I pondered my next obsession could be cannelé. I think this is a sign, a show that I could have fun playing around with these beauties!!

    Anyway, yet another great sweet address for next in Paris. You should produce a sweet guide book you have such amazing finds!!!

  2. Dolcefuga says:

    Hi Kerrin,
    I am brand new to your blog and I am sooo happy to know we have so much in common! Today, I tasted my first Bordier butter (that’s how I found you, googling Bordier!) and is it possible to cry of joy over butter? Also, 2 weeks ago I was in Paris and bought the Atlantique chocolate bar for Denise Acabo candy shop. I know what you are talking about and it is amazing chocolate. I am planning my next European trip (Zurich or Bologna), I am in San Francisco by the way, and it is tough to make a decision but Zurich has a slight edge because of luxumbergerli (sp?). So, you see we have a lot in common. I look forward to your next entries. Well done.

  3. Tweets that mention Sweet News for Paris: Franck Kestener Opens Shop | MyKugelhopf -- Topsy.com says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kerrin Rousset and Travel News, Kerrin Rousset. Kerrin Rousset said: looks like a cannelé, tastes like chocolate mousse… what is it? marshmallow: http://bit.ly/aGEwQA […]

  4. Emma says:

    Shut the front door!! Mushrooms tie for my favorite food, and here they are paired with chocolate guimauve?!? That sounds super duper amazing. Actually, everything looks amazing. The gap between the marzipan covering the chestnut is a nice touch – – tastiness mimics life. I’ll have to try and get my hands on an Atlantique bar.

    Now if only it was a good idea to mix my other favorite food, mayonnaise, with chocolate… There’s always chocolate mayonnaise cake, but I’m thinking more extreme than that… however, mayonnaise cannelés just don’t sound very good.

  5. Kerrin says:

    Julia, buying just about everything you see is very easy to do there – and yes, I almost did ! 😉 You’re right, cannelé certainly have become more well known lately. Oh get this, I saved a recipe for cauliflower cannelé from a French magazine ! I think I prefer the guimauve au chocolat though ! Thanks for the comment, and as for a sweet guide book, sure sounds good to me ! That would pretty much be my journals of every trip I go on…

    Dolcefuga, thank you, and welcome to MyKugelhopf ! So glad you found me here. To answer your question, yes, it *is* possible to cry of joy over butter – when it’s Bordier ! Have you tried all his different kinds – smoked salt, algae, yuzu… ? I just love the original. Exciting that you are planning your next trip to Europe. If Zürich wins (Sprüngli’s luxemburgerli are a fine reason !), there are plenty of sweet addresses on this blog here for you. Let me know…

    Emma, haha ! Yes, the porcini filled cannelé totally has your name on it then. But mayonnaise chocolate cake, let alone mayonnaise cannelés,… beurk ! 😉

  6. Andrea M. says:

    Yes, “let’s not forget the chocolate”. Ever. Well said.

  7. Andrea M. says:

    oh…and I wanted to add (before I hastily pushed SUBMIT COMMENT) and thanks to you Kerrin….we won’t! 🙂

  8. Sam sidney says:

    Yum! What is that delisousness on the left? It looks like white chocolate with something amazing inside!!

    Also… The big K in the logo totally reminds me of addressing letters to you at kenwood in Kent!


  9. kelleyn says:

    I feel like I have died and gone to heaven just looking at these photos of beautiful chocolate.

  10. valentina says:

    Hi Kerrin, I hope you got my response to your email. Love this tip as I’ll be going to Paris again on Sat morning. this time for a whole weekend to do only my own things, and go through my list of patisseries, galeries, bakeries…I’ll be staying at the Boulevard Raspail, not far from Kestener’s shop. I’ve already added the address to my ipad bookmark so that I’ll definitely pay it a visit. those cannelés!!! Topaze has also grabbed my attention. Love delicate flavours.I’m glad I’ll be doing a lot of walking in addition to all the food I’ll be eating. Roll on weekend. Have a good rest of week. and thanks for another great post and read.

  11. Kerrin says:

    Andrea, oh absolutely – that’s what I’m here for ! 🙂

    Sam, on the left… hmm, I think you mean the praliné that’s shaped as a chestnut. The outer covering isn’t white chocolate, it’s actually marzipan. And you are too funny, I remember the triple K – Kerrin at Ken-Wood in Kent ! Ah the good ol’ days.. =)

    kelleyn, just imagine when you taste them then… !!

    valentina, hi there ! I’ll have to check my inbox, missed your email then. And so exciting that you’re heading back to Paris. Great area to stay in too. You’ll have to report back here about what you got at Kestener’s shop. Whatever you get, I’m sure you’ll love it ! Enjoy – and bon voyage !

  12. Lani says:

    First off, your photographs of this amazing chocolatier are mouth watering. I just want to dive right into the computer. It almost feels as if I have tasted all these fabulous tastes. I only hope that one day I can taste his guimauves. Quite irresitible!!!
    But where in New York can I find the Atlantique bar. I think that this would be one of my favorites, as it is yours. Lots of goodies in this new shop in Paris….thank you so much for sharing this wonderful tasting adventure.

  13. Meeta says:

    i am lusting after those non-cannelé and i swear sporty if you do not take me with you next year i will never share that recipe of my STP with you ;o) haha! you are making me weep with delight. what a decadent place to hang out at.

  14. dorie says:

    Those non-canelles look fabulous! Of course, everything you photograph looks great.

  15. Juls @ Juls' Kitchen says:

    I want to die right now. Craving chocolate, desperately!
    I wanna go chocoshopping with you!

  16. Kerrin says:

    Lani, thank you so much ! Unfortunately, the Atlantique bar is not available in New York – nor Switzerland 🙁 At least it’s more readily available in Paris, before it was just in Sarreguemines.

    Meeta, are you threatening me — yes ! 😉 Ok ok then, you have one very chocolatey date for next year. Salon du Chocolat 2011 ! Then do I get your sticky toffee pudding recipe ?? =)

    dorie, merci beaucoup ! Franck’s shop will definitely have to be on our sweet itinerary next month in Paris… Already can’t wait !

    Juls,.. oh my goodness, someone get that girl some chocolate – asap ! 😉 When you come to Zürich, chocoshopping will be on the agenda, don’t you worry.

  17. Edd says:

    Those cannelé look amazing as does everything, definitely adding his shop to my list for my next visit to Paris

  18. Sarah, Maison Cupcake says:

    It looks like an amazing shop, I would love to visit Paris again.

  19. jen laceda says:

    Since the holiday season is coming, all sorts of sweet stuff are in my thoughts!!! Those ‘faux’ canelles look so tempting!

    Oh, I bought the Laduree book already!!! Can’t wait to get it in the mail.

  20. valentina says:

    Unfortunatelly I couldn’t go there on the Saturday and on Sunday just looked at the goodies throught the window. Saw beautiful chateignes..wanted to buy them. had quite a list as well. When I visite L’etoile D’or I did ask Denise if she had the Atlantique bar but didn’t. Otherwise I would have bought it. There’s got to be a next visit.; o )

  21. Kerrin says:

    Edd, I bet that list of yours is getting long ! When is your next trip to Paris ?

    Sarah, it definitely is. I already can’t wait to visit Paris again too !

    jen, yay !!! I’m so excited for you to get the Ladurée book. Obviously you’ll have to tell me when you do. But of course. And what’s this about sweet stuff in your thoughts because of the holiday season – you know I *always* have sweet stuff in my thoughts !! =)

    valentina, you have to leave a few temptations for the next time, right ? Considering all the amazing places you went to this past weekend, I know you had a fabulous and sweet time !

  22. jkiel says:

    Those cochinelles are cute as a bug! (oh wait…) What is inside?
    Thanks again for a fabulous report, although I always end up drooling over your adventures…

  23. Kerrin says:

    jkiel, very cute ! 😉 The inside is the same praline filling as in the chestnut next to it. Only difference is the latter has the extra outer layer of marzipan. Glad you enjoyed the latest sweet report. Another one is soon on its way… =)

  24. Bolo de chocolate com farinha de avelãs, L’etoile d’or, Henry Le Roux, Bernachon e Pierre Hermé « Trem Bom says:

    […] endereço que tinha anotado era o do chocolatier Frank Kestner. Nunca provei nada dele, mas a Karrin já tinha falado duma barra de chocolate dele chamada […]

  25. Myriam @ Detours says:

    Ahhhhhhhh, just had one of these lightbulb moments!

    I’ve tried the Atlantique bar and the guimauve cannele last time I went to L’Etoile d’Or (and I loved them, as you do) but I didn’t know they were from Franck Kestener! Now I know where to send my mum for a little pre-Xmas shopping expedition. I want some of these babies in Sydney!

    PS: Kerrin, just saw on Wendy Lyn’s blog that you two knew each other as well. Gotta love Wendy 😉

  26. Kerrin says:

    Myriam, oh I love your light bulb moment !! And especially since I had one myself – with that very same Atlantique bar. You must read this post about it last year: http://mykugelhopf.ch/2009/12/chocolate-roundup-3/ – you’ll giggle for sure ! Thanks for sharing your story, hope a few of these bars make their way Down Under soon ! =) And thank you for the wonderful comment on Wendy’s blog and for spreading the sweet news, as always…

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