My first tour in France, was the day after the Paris terror attacks, I was surprised to find the tour was still on, and our guide was happy to meet us as planned. Adeline was a wealth of knowledge regarding all things chocolate and Paris. She did tell me her tour had been altered slightly, as some of the stores, we'd usually go to were closed (in the days following the attacks many business and public places were closed).
Our first store was Patrick Roger. See his list of addresses in Paris here. Patrick himself was actually in the store when we arrived. The windows are filled with amazing chocolate sculptures (he has an agreement with the Musee Rodin and actually sculpts some of Rodin's works in chocolate)
Every customer is given an amazing book/catalogue which shows not only the truffles and bon bons available. But also his metalwork sculptures as well. I had to do a double take at times, to work out what was sculpted in chocolate and what was sculpted in metal.
It's true of every chocolate shop in Paris, but the smell in store is amazing!. And the attention to details of the packaging and tasting cards is like nothing I've seen anywhere else in the world.
It was a very busy store, yet the servers took time to chat with us, and give us free samples.
As our guide Adeline was so knowledgeable, we took her recommendation on which chocolate to taste (something to eat at each stop formed part of the tour I signed up for)
My amazing chocolate came in a box that looked like it belonged in a jewellery store. I asked our guide Adeline how much a chocolate like this cost, she said 4.00 Euro. As we opened the boxes, she explained there is a special way to eat them. We must place them on our tongues and then push the dome in to the roof of our mouths with our tongues. Thankfully Adeline gave us a heads up on how to eat this beauty - as the thin disk on the bottom gave way with virtually no pressure exploding the caramel/lime in to our mouth. Without this bit of advice, I can imagine the wonderful filling of my 4.00 Euro chocolate exploding all over my face as I bit down on it.
Our Next stop was Pierre Herme, I was told by Adeline (and subsequently another tour guide, Pierre Herme macarons are hands down better than Laduree, which they both felt had become too commercialised). There are stores all over Paris we went to the one at 39 Avenue de l'Opera.
It was incredibly difficult chosing just one to eat
So many choices!. Again I took Adeline's recommendation of passionfruit chocolate. (but I got a box of 7 to take home too!
Vaughan took her other reccomendation of Fois Gras & Fig. Apparently this flavour is a seasonal macaron, that customers queue down the street for Christmas Eve, so as to have them for their Christmas table the following day.
The man himself.
The sales staff were again incredibly helpful and attentive. I thanked the lady that had been helping me, her reply "but of course, I am here for you!"
Our Next stop was Angelina at 226 Rue de Rivoli. We enetered the pastry shop side of the premises, as the lines for sitting down in the tea room were down the street (apparently the line can be hours long). Angelina has been in business for over a century and is still the place to be seen. Coco Chanel lived in a hotel down the street - this was one of her favourite haunts.
The Mont blanc dessert at right is a famous and iconic dessert (made of meringue, whipped cream and chestnut cream)
All of the other pastries were equally delightful
Each a work of art.
At Angelina Adeline told us she was giving us their famous hot chocolate. We had it "to-go" and whilst only in a regular sized cup, I struggled to get to the bottom. Not because I didn't like it, in fact I LOVED IT. Molten liquid chocolate who wouldn't?
The delicatessen shelves were stocked with take home goods. These can be found around Paris in the major department stores. And if you're worried about the weight of your luggage checking in at the airport. Do what I did, once you're through check-in. Grab it at duty free, then you can load up your carry on - it's already been weighed at this stage.
In the week after we got back to NZ, and were lamenting the fact we were no longer in Paris. It was lovely to heat up our hot chocolate and indulge.
Vaughan added it to his espresso also
Pierre Marcolini was one of Adeline's favourite stops, sadly it was closed, so we grabbed some photos of the delightful window display - which reminded me of spaceships.
Our next stop was Jean Paul Hevin they have locations all over Paris The displays in store were amazing
Chocolate sculptures were everywhere
The butter caramels were amazing. From here I brought home some, for all my Kiwicakes staff hard at work in my absence.
These truffles under magnifying classes made a great wall display
Our last stop was Michel Cluizel - again they've stores all over Paris. This amazing store has a running chocolate waterfall running non stop on the wall.
This was our last stop, and I was feeling a little chocolated out! - so in making my selections at this store, Vaughan and I took them home, to eat after dinner. I was a little sneaky, choosing one of the mushrooms chocolates, as the stalk is a different flavour to the cap of the mushroom - meaning I got two chocolates.
Our chocolate tour was an amazing experience after having arrived in Paris only 24 hours before, it was a great way to get accustomed to a part of Paris with the help of our local guide. In hindsight I only wish I'd tried more - not that I could've managed eating them, I think in packing for France, I should've packed an extra dessert stomach.