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Best places in Paris?
January 5, 2009
3:51 pm
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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I am probably going to Paris with The One, a.k.a. girlfriend, this spring, and we would both like to get some brown stuff. Now, Paris is probably a place with chocolatiers on every second corner, but do you have any suggestions for must-sees or stay-aways?

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
January 5, 2009
9:09 pm
gap
Melbourne, Australia
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I’m hopefully doing a similar trip with my wife this year as well. We’re hoping to visit pastry stores as well as chocolate stores so if anyone has any pastry suggestions as well, I’d be open to them. In the meantime, the NY Times recently ran this article which may be of interest:
http://travel.nytimes.com/2008…..ys.html?em

January 6, 2009
8:13 am
chocolatero
london
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These would be my top choices
Chocolates: Patrick Roger, Jacques Genin (apprently recently opened)
Pastry: Pierre Herme, Aoki Sadaharu

January 6, 2009
11:59 am
Polarbear
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Thanks a lot, folks! This can be a dangerous trip! :D

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
January 6, 2009
11:50 pm
gap
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That’s why I like the NY Times article – it had a bike route marked out to ride between the different patisseries and chocolatiers . . . allows for more chocolate consumption when the destination is reached

January 7, 2009
5:42 am
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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More info about Jacques Genins new shop:
[url]http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2008/12/jacques_genin_opens_in_paris.html[/url]

“Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos” (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
January 8, 2009
2:33 pm
alex_h
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Hey Polar!
I recently visited Paris with my wife with the explicit purpose of tasting all the best they have. We got around and had a great time, and we had some really fine chocolates.
My guide? I bought David Lebovitz’s book “The Great Book of Chocolate” and it is full of addresses in Paris. The book is OK, but the addresses were worth the price.
Plus check out the website of the Club de Croquers de Chocolat (http://www.croqueurschocolat.com/). They have a PDF on their homepage of “Les 100 meilleurs chocolatiers” and it goes by regions.

Here were my faves:
Michel Chaudun for his pavés (tiny cubes of heaven)
Pierre Herme (ooh la la!)
Jean-Paul Hevin

Don’t miss the following either:
Laduree (try at least three or four maccarons)
Jacques Genin (The store was still closed when I was there in November, but some friends brought me some chocolates of his for Christmas!) You must try his caramels, especially the mango.
La Maison du Chocolat

And absolute must:
L’Etoile d’Or – Denise Acabo, the owner, has treats from Lyon and it’s just fun visiting her. Besides, a few stores up the street you’ll find Les Petits Mitrons with the most amazing tartes!!!

We walked from shop to shop and it was a great way to experience Paris and get some “excercise”. I could go on and on raving about the city and the chocolate and the food! It is definitely worth the trip. Go visit Pralus near Centre Pompidou and try his Praluline!
I went through the trouble and bought myself a moleskine guide to Paris. It’s an empty guide that you write yourself and mine contains mostly addresses of chocolate shops now.
If you need more tips on where to stay, etc., don’t hesitate to write me.
Most places are worth at least a visit.
Also try Michel Cluizel’s 99% chocolate truffle. While his chocolates (I don’t mean the bars) can’t compete with the others in Paris, the 99% is very good.

January 8, 2009
8:25 pm
Masur
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Visited L’Etoile d’Or and Denise Acabo a few years ago. Bought chooclates and bars from famous Bernachon in Lyon.

“Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos” (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
January 9, 2009
2:59 am
Alex Rast
Manchester, United Kingdom
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quote:


Originally posted by Polarbear

I am probably going to Paris with The One, a.k.a. girlfriend, this spring, and we would both like to get some brown stuff. Now, Paris is probably a place with chocolatiers on every second corner, but do you have any suggestions for must-sees or stay-aways?

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…


If you search around a bit (look at the “reviews-filled chocolates…” section for example, I’ve done a few posts on my own impressions in the past. But, as a capsule:

Must-try Chocolatiers: La Maison du Chocolat (now a small chain but still perhaps the very best in Paris)
Richart
Michel Cluizel (pick up a few things otherwise hard-to-get, like cocoa)

Should-try chocolatiers: Jean-Paul Hevin (but somewhat indifferent service)
Christian Constant (select carefully, though – see my previous post)

Avoid: Patrick Roger

Other places to visit: Pierre Herme. The patisseries were good, although I do have to say that if the standard is “best in the world”, he’s not there yet. However, it’s clear that chocolate in particular is a specialty.
Berthillon, at least if you’re going in the summer. The thing there is as you probably know, ice cream.

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
January 9, 2009
6:06 pm
Masur
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quote:


Avoid: Patrick Roger


I visited their shop near metro station Odeon a year ago and bought a box with chocolates. Most of them where exellent but a few a bit sweet. Read your previous posting with details about your visit to Patrick Roger. Your taste bud migh be differnt but like chocolatero I recommend a visit.

“Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos” (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
January 9, 2009
6:45 pm
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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Thanks Alex & Alex! This is going to be an expensive trip, I hope!

Reading the reviews now, very useful!

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
January 9, 2009
8:21 pm
Masur
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Keep in mind best before date often is within 14 days. Don’t buy too much like I did a year ago.

“Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos” (Maricel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
January 10, 2009
4:53 am
gap
Melbourne, Australia
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Hi Polarbear – not sure of your timing or how long you’ll be in Paris, but the World Chocolate Masters are on in October 2009.

January 11, 2009
9:11 pm
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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We’re going this spring, likely in April.

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
January 12, 2009
12:09 pm
alex_h
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Your welcome, Polar.
I ate almost everything I bought while still in Paris. I wanted it all as fresh as possible so my limit was my daily intake. And the trip wasn’t overly expensive. Figure about 10 euro/100g. Of course, some will cost a bit more.
Also keep in mind that Michel Chaudun’s pavés should be eaten asap, because they really won’t last even when refrigerated.

May 19, 2009
12:21 pm
Polarbear
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And here are the results of the Norwegian jury (as we like to say after the Eurovision):

L’Etoile d’Or – Denise Acabo: Denise was out, but very friendly and expensive shop. Good chocolates, although not something I will remember forever. Bought a Bernachon 74% bar, well balanced but somewhat “impersonal” and too much vanilla.

Cacao et Chocolat: One of the favourites: Not too sweet, clear, pure tastes.

Maison du Chocolat: Excellent chocolates, well balances ganaches with clear fruit tastes. Cuana 74% bar: Smooth as silk, no bitterness, but, but somewhat “impersonal” and again too much vanilla.
Somewhat snobbish – lots of the price probably goes to the shop and staff, rather than chocs.

Patric Roger: Quite similar to Maison, but somewhat stronger choc tastes. Very good. The Madagsacar 75% bar was fruity, but had a strange aftertaste of fried bacon or shellfish salad, though.

Jeff de Bruges: Too sweet and strange, artificial tastes. Ugh! This was equally valid for some other local or unknown shops we found on our way: They had lower prices than the famous ones, and we could taste that.

Hevin: Good chocs, but not something I will remeember. may be I had gotten spoiled at this time? A chocolate cake was somewhat dry.

Cluizel: Good ganaches from his single origin chocs, not too sweet, pure tastes.

These are but a fraction of the chocolatiers in Paris, but since The Woman isn’t as crazy as me, I had to go to the Versailles, Notre Dame, Montmartre etc as well :D (Like most geologists, I enjoyed the garden at Versailles, the castle is fantastic, monstrous, megalomaniac – but found the rocks in the walls equally interesting).

The very best thing in Paris was however Berthillion, an ice cream maker at the west end of Ile St Louis. This is by far the best ice cream I have ever had. The choc ice cream was dark, really dark and the pistacio ice cream actually tastes pistacio!

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
May 24, 2009
1:53 am
Alex Rast
Manchester, United Kingdom
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quote:


Originally posted by Polarbear

And here are the results of the Norwegian jury (as we like to say after the Eurovision):
[/quote}

Yes, sounds like on the whole your experiences were rather similar to what I’ve seen.

quote:


Cacao et Chocolat: One of the favourites: Not too sweet, clear, pure tastes.


Interesting! I have not been before. I’ll put it on my list for the next trip.

quote:


Maison du Chocolat: Excellent chocolates, well balances ganaches with clear fruit tastes. Cuana 74% bar: Smooth as silk, no bitterness, but, but somewhat “impersonal” and again too much vanilla.
Somewhat snobbish – lots of the price probably goes to the shop and staff, rather than chocs.


I get the feeling that part of the reason they seem generic is that they’ve set the reference standard everyone else tries to emulate.
Definitely snobbish, but that’s true to be honest of Paris generally, with a few exceptions (welcome when you find them)

quote:


Patric Roger: Quite similar to Maison, but somewhat stronger choc tastes. Very good. The Madagsacar 75% bar was fruity, but had a strange aftertaste of fried bacon or shellfish salad, though.


Really, you thought them stronger? My experience was that Roger is universally weaker in flavour. Much sweeter in contrast too. Maybe I’ll try again. I could have arrived on an off day or happened to make selections that were never his best.

quote:


Hevin: Good chocs, but not something I will remeember. may be I had gotten spoiled at this time? A chocolate cake was somewhat dry.


Well, the service is definitely snobbish, and if you are someone to be put off by that it can diminish the experience. I concur with you that the pastries aren’t anything special. The chocolates themselves are good but Hevin isn’t yet a master at patisserie it would seem.

quote:


Cluizel: Good ganaches from his single origin chocs, not too sweet, pure tastes.


This increases my confidence that you react negatively to snobby service. My experience with Cluizel is that the service was second to none – I never felt patronised or put down in any way. Meanwhile, the chocolates are very good, and some are superb, but if I must be truthful are just slightly off pure perfection. The bars, are, of course, magnificent, and among the best in the world by any standard, but that’s a separate case. However, Cluizel doesn’t try to hide that his primary focus is in chocolate itself rather than chocolates.

quote:


The very best thing in Paris was however Berthillion, an ice cream maker at the west end of Ile St Louis. This is by far the best ice cream I have ever had. The choc ice cream was dark, really dark and the pistacio ice cream actually tastes pistacio!


A must-visit, although by this I infer you haven’t been to Italy. In Rome there are some ice creams that are better still. However the very best chocolate ice cream I’ve had is in Alghero, Sardinia in a small shop called L’Arcobaleno. Unbelievable. They (Arcobaleno) had some unusual flavours there too like pine nut, although I stuck to the chocolate. But I’ll surely be trying other flavours next time as well.

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…


Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
June 4, 2009
11:23 am
Polarbear
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quote:


Originally posted by Alex_Rast
A must-visit, although by this I infer you haven’t been to Italy. In Rome there are some ice creams that are better still. However the very best chocolate ice cream I’ve had is in Alghero, Sardinia in a small shop called L’Arcobaleno.


True, never been to Italy. However, during a bike trip trough EUrope in 2006, from north tip of Denmark to Barcelona, we tasted our way through a lot of ice ceram daily, including a lot of italian style ice cream shops in Germany. My biking mate is German and told me that Germans are crazy for Italian ice cream. But, I found them usually too light, simply not tasting enough. The memorable expression was a shop in Koblenz, which had ice cream with strong, pure tastes – and which tasted natural; often the tastes were obviously artificial in the other places

But I should probably go to Sardinia! :)

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
June 5, 2009
12:47 am
Alex Rast
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quote:


Originally posted by Polarbear

quote:


Originally posted by Alex_Rast
A must-visit, although by this I infer you haven’t been to Italy. …


True, never been to Italy. However, during a bike trip trough EUrope in 2006, from north tip of Denmark to Barcelona, we tasted our way through a lot of ice ceram daily, including a lot of italian style ice cream shops in Germany. My biking mate is German and told me that Germans are crazy for Italian ice cream. But, I found them usually too light, simply not tasting enough.


I wonder if German tastes are averse to strong, distinctive flavours? As many of us here will be aware, most German chocolates are fairly mild in flavour, and this is clearly a national preference. And I can tell you with ice cream that Italian ice cream is anything but mild: flavours are bold and intense, very distinctive and unmistakable. It sounds like in Germany they’re trying to replicate the texture but not the flavour, which would certainly be consistent with the difference in typical chocolate style between Germany and Italy.

quote:


The memorable expression was a shop in Koblenz, which had ice cream with strong, pure tastes – and which tasted natural; often the tastes were obviously artificial in the other places

But I should probably go to Sardinia! :)


Or anywhere else in Italy. Still, you do need to have selectivity: obviously not all ice cream shops in Italy are good and many of them are bulk-produced. Here’s a hint, however: An ice cream shop where the ice creams are heaped into high mounds in the tubs, then drizzled on top with syrup or other stuff is usually low-grade. Likewise places where the pistachio is iridescent green or the banana bright yellow. Usually the good shops have tubs where the ice cream lies somewhat low in the tubs and has colours which, while not subdued in any sense, aren’t glow-in-the dark (or to be technical, don’t have a strong blue component in the overall colour spectrum). Also look for metal tubs rather than plastic because plastic is often an indication that they aren’t making it themselves.

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
June 16, 2009
10:39 am
alex_h
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hmm, I can’t say that the Italian ice cream in Munich has no strong or distinctive flavor. We have a few great shops here that are Italian run and owned where they churn out the ice cream fresh daily. And as far as I know if you sell ice cream in Germany and label it Italian, there better be a good reason, ie, an Italian ice cream maker in the kitchen.
As for the taste in chocolate I can’t really say, but I know many Germans that prefer Cluizel, Valrhona or Domori to the German brands. Which do you mean, Alex?