I did a fair amount of research online about the best chocolate shops in Paris before we visited, and had in mind some of the ones I most wanted to see, based on blogs and reviews, and the fact that a lot of them show up in multiple articles. I foolishly thought I’d be able to visit more than three. But it is, in fact, seriously easy to overdose on chocolate in Paris. Because the chocolate there at some of the world’s finest chocolatiers is so intense, so rich, and so powerful that really, one or two is enough. But we were wide eyed, and our first stop left us giddy for samples. It should be noted, though, that we went to this shop before we had breakfast, and by the time we left, my head was spinning from a sugar high already. We had so much amazing chocolate that, when we were leaving on the Eurostar and the kind lady at the Pierre Herme counter there (and lets all just take a moment to appreciate that there is a Pierre Herme chocolate counter AT THE TRAIN STATION) offered us a sample my husband turned a little green and walked AWAY. Friends, I took one for the team, and had one last bite of decadence. And it was worth it!
At Jacques Genin, they are pretty free with the samples, especially once they know you’re both new to the store, and ready to buy something. We sampled a host of delightful and some unusual chocolate blends; a Szechwan pepper chocolate, a Brazilian nut chocolate, the best salted caramel I’ve ever had in my life.
The shop is also gorgeous. When you walk in, you think you’ve wandered into Chanel, or maybe a fine jewelry store. All the chocolates are behind glass, and the presentation is gorgeous. We ended up purchasing a box of 12 chocolates for friends in Edinburgh, and coworkers at home. At about 18 Euros a box, they are not cheap, but they were worth that, and the enjoyment, surprise, and delight from our friends was priceless. If I had to go back, I would definitely visit this store. I will buy gifts from there again, and I will sample their wares again myself for sure!
Our next stop, though, was Patrick Roger. Patrick Roger has won the Meilleur Ouvrier in 2000, which is awarded every four years to the best craftsperson that field. So its basically the Olympics of food. Wouldn’t you love to be the judge of THAT?
Anyhow, I also think Patrick Roger is basically the real life Willy Wonka. Check out the image to the right here of this sculpture he did. It’s The Thinker done entirely in chocolate. ENTIRELY IN CHOCOLATE. It makes me think of the little chocolate rabbits we had as kids for Easter and how I could never eat them because I thought, on some level, that I might be hurting the poor wee rabbits. I’m older now, though, and if given the chance I’d of taken a bite out of THIS thinking man!
We also got some chocolates as gift here. This store amazes me. If Jacques Genin is like Harry Winston, then Patrick Roger is Tiffany’s, right down to the beautiful blue of the bags, boxes, and décor accents. Here, the Yuzu chocolates are not to be missed. They are delicate though, and the little domes crack easily. I don’t recommend transporting those across the Atlantic – but I DO recommend sampling them in the store. While you’re walking. Maybe while your husband is in the bathroom brushing his teeth…. Ahem. They are bright, chocolate, and deceptively decadent. I love the combination of chocolate and citrus, and to me, these little chocolates are a near perfect bite of chocolate. Much as I enjoyed the trip to Jacques Genin, and appreciated the more relaxed atmosphere there, if I could visit only one chocolate shop in Paris, it would probably be this one. This is the one I’d take friends to, or out of towners. This is the one you go to for visual wow as well as chocolate wow.
And finally, I want to mention one chocolatier whose chocolates, chocolate truffles anyhow, I didn’t get to sample. I did, however, sample the chocolate tartelette at Jean Paul Hevin, which is bar none the best I’ve ever had. So rich, and yet so seemingly light, I couldn’t imagine chocolate could be that smooth, or that intense yet creamy. It was literally divine. And the thing I like best about this chocolatier is that upstairs from the chocolate shop on Rue St Honore there is a small restaurant, serving amazing brunch. As this is near some pretty amazing shopping, not to mention the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay, it’s the prefect place to begin with a late breakfast, or early lunch, and then explore. Have the goat cheese toast. No, seriously, HAVE THE GOAT CHEESE TOAST.
There’s no shortage of amazing chocolatiers in Paris. We visited but these three. I intend to go back until I’ve tried them all. How about you? Have you been to Paris, or are you planning a trip? What chocolatiers make your list?