A L’Etoile d’Or: A Stellar Confectionery in Paris

I just learned an important lesson.  When going away for a couple of weeks, especially to an exotic island, a destination not exactly known for its chocolate,… don’t leave home without sticking a few bars in your bag (which I didn’t do).  But luckily when I got home, not only do I live in Switzerland, where there will never be a lack of excellent chocolate, I had an overflowing chocolate stash (as usual), including a few notable goodies from my last trip to Paris.

I was recently given a very sweet assignment, and shared “my perfect day in Paris” on The Paris Kitchen, where Wendy Lyn revealed my ultimate favorite sweet addresses.  Here is one of them… A L’Etoile d’Or.

Unfortunately, Franck Kestener‘s Atlantique bars somehow disappeared from my stash, but a few Bernachon bars remained.  If it’s Bernachon chocolate and it wasn’t bought in Lyon, then you know I was with Denise Acabo in Paris’ 9th arrondissement.  A L’Etoile d’Or is the only shop to sell chocolate from this superior bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Lyon, and it would be a destination for the Kalouga bar alone.  David Lebovitz called the boutique “the best candy shop in Paris” and Denise the “sweetest woman in Paris” and is likewise a huge fan.  As is Cenk Sönmezsoy, who photographed the shop beautifully, and I recently hooked Valerie Jacome onto it as well. (She caught Denise with a classic expression !)  The Kalouga is hard to resist: oozing salted caramel in thick sublime dark chocolate.  Enough said.  The price may seem rather hefty below, 10.50 Euros for a bar, but they are quite hefty themselves at 150 grams.  And much less expensive than a trip to Lyon.

The shop is also a destination for Denise herself, who is famous for her uniform.  You’ll always see her in her signature plaid kilt, knotted tie and v-neck sweater, with braided pig tails and glasses hanging around her neck.  She is a true character, never too shy to share her opinion on what she likes (see the photos below) and certainly what she doesn’t like, always there for a laugh, some high speed gossip and a taste or two, or three.  I watched her energetically describe each and every item in the shop (and the shelves are packed), even to people who didn’t understand a word of French.  Quite comical.  Her passion and knowledge are impressive.  And her rules for what she accepts on those shelves are infamously strict!

There are hard to find chocolates and confections from all around France, including Henri Le Roux’s divine caramels – the original cbs (caramel beurre salé).  There are tons of regional sweets in their precious tins, like Bergamotes from Nancy, Negus from Nevers, nougat, calissons, Mazet pralines and more.  You can literally buy just one of each of everything, and Denise will weigh them all separately and put them in individual bags, tied with a little ribbon.  I love looking at all the old boxes and packaging, like displays in a museum.

But my favorite of all… is the wrapping.  (Well, besides the Bernachon bars.)  When Denise asks if your sweets are to give as a present, say yes – even if a gift for yourself.  They will be hand wrapped in papier d’Epinal, large sheets of paper with vintage comic-like panels.  Some are visual riddles, with a new image when you turn it upside down.  When she was growing up, individual squares were given out by the nuns at her school to well-behaved children, but she never received any.  Now she has an extraordinary collection, her most favorite tucked away in a drawer; and she proudly shows them off, as she would have as a little girl.

Denise Acabo, A l’Etoile d’Or
30, rue Fontaine
75009 Paris
France
+33.1.48.74.59.55

16 Responses to “A L’Etoile d’Or: A Stellar Confectionery in Paris”

  1. Victoria (District Chocoholic) says:

    Your photos do such a great job of capturing the energy in the store – and your description of the store is exactly as I remember it. This post makes me want to go back right now!

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  3. Jamie says:

    What a fabulous write-up for an amazing address and one that is now marked down on a piece of paper which will be stuck in my wallet. An address to definitely visit when I am next in Paris. Wow, Kerrin, this is chocolate heaven and O must be one heck of a man to draw you out of this shop and back home to Zurich ;-) I can see you trying to move into this charming shop.

  4. Michael Olivier says:

    Love the pigtails!

  5. Kelleyn says:

    Drooling! Aren’t you lucky!

  6. Kerrin says:

    Victoria, I do believe you called this shop your “favorite spot in the world,” no ? That’s quite a statement ! Glad you could “revisit” it here =)

    Jamie, thanks ! I love picturing a little scribbled note in your wallet with a chocolate stain on it, haha ! And yes, while it may be Olivier, there’s also my personal chocolate cachette back here in Zürich too, lol ! ;)

  7. Emma says:

    yeeeeeee-hawwww!

    one day i will taste Bernachon… and i will snatch up a few of the super amer bars right quick. and the pâte de cacao. and pepitos. and orange. and café. and everything else in every other picture, because everything looks fantastic.

    regarding your article at The Paris Kitchen, i also would have been psyched enough about voyaging to Paris to hug the station agent!

  8. Valentina says:

    My visit to Denise’s shop was a revelation – thanks to you.I’m savouring my CBS still. Saving 4 to take to Brazil for my dad. Should have bought double of the stash I did. My kalouga was savoured over the space of a few days. I was dreading the moment I took the last bite.would always have a bite and a bit under the blanket on my sofa.call me greedy but didn’t share a single crumb. Still have a special bar at home. Also left with beautiful nougats. She sealed my 40 euro worth of sweets bag carefully so that nobody could stick a hand in and nick anything. I was introduced to a wonderful world of flavours which will have me hooked forever. This post has made me relieve the whole thing. Might give my dad only 3 CBS after all.

  9. Kerrin says:

    Emma, yee-haw is right ! =) And yes you will definitely have to taste Bernachon one day, and I know you will. You’re all ready too, with a perfect list. It all looks so good – and really IS all that good. I’m going back to Paris in a few weeks… I may have to hug the train guy again. haha ! Thanks so much for checking out the article on the Paris Kitchen too.

    Valentina, haha, you are too funny ! I hope your dad isn’t reading this here – he is going to ask you for all *four* of those caramels ! haha !! And it sure sounds like you left that shop with a seriously divine package of sweets, wow ! Imagine the damage we would have done together ! And guess what, I still haven’t eaten my Kalouga bar that I bought… just like you, I don’t want it to be gone ! ;)

  10. Lani says:

    I want to go right now! But it felt as if I had been there thru your photographs and flowing words describing all that chocolate. It would be quite hard for me to choose just a few things to purchase. I would want them all. Love the wrapping..that is a total package…yummy and fun! I want the nougats!

  11. Meeta says:

    i adore those pigtails ;o) but as always kerrin you take me to the sweetest of places. i am writing all these down and hope next time in paris i can visit this place. better still you take me along ;o)

  12. Nisrine | Dinners & Dreams says:

    Beautiful post. It makes me want to travel! I would have like a kid amid all the goodies.

  13. Kerrin says:

    Lani, I want to go back right now too ! ;) And it *is* hard to choose just a few things. Impossible to buy just one or two…

    Meeta, keep adding sweet places to that list, and perhaps one day we can cross them off together, one by one…. !

    Nisrine, thank you so much ! And I certainly was a kid myself with all those sweets, totally excited ! =)

  14. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    Hmmmm, I’m surprised such an organised person, and one that would surely have a standard packing list, would manage to leave Switzerland WITHOUT chocolate?????????????!!! Won’t happen again, I’m sure. ;)

    Recently I was away from my stash of chocolate, and had to ask my husband to bring some to me. I requested “that salty sweet gem”. Fleur de sel Lindt, of course. I’m addicted now that I can buy it here in Australia.

    Anyway, loved the interview on The Paris Kitchen. I’d love to visit each and every sweet spot you recommend. Have been to a few that you mentioned, but always room for more, right?

    What a great little spot this looks like, too. I agree, love the wrapping. ADORABLE! And so different, no?

  15. Zita says:

    I came home from Paris 2 days ago but I still dream about it… :)
    I ate so many macarons, chocolates, croissants, pain au chocolats and cakes. I even went to Denis’ chocolate shop! It was so nice to see her after reading your post! :) Everything I bought in her shop was so delicious!
    Thanks for the info.

  16. Kerrin says:

    Zita, fantastic ! And how lucky you are… tell us, what did you get at Denise’s shop ?? Mmmm, now I will live vicariously through *you* ! =)

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