Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pralinés good enough for kings

Founded in 1800, Debauve & Gallais is the oldest chocolatier in Paris.

Sulpice Debauve, a pharmacist by training, opened the boutique after the Revolution and gradually built a reputation across the continent for exquisite chocolates. By 1818, he was appointed King Louis XVIII’s chocolate supplier, and then Charles X’s and then Louis Philippe’s. And now me.

It’s a beautiful old shop, which had me worried that the chocolates, too, were going to taste outdated. Silly girl.

The half moon counter is a genius way of displaying all the bonbons, bouchées and tablettes—you’re practically surrounded by chocolate, and it’s just a matter of closing your eyes, pointing your finger and discovering which rich treat you’re going home with.

I kept my eyes open, indecisively (as always) going back and forth, back and forth. I couldn’t decide if I wanted milk or dark chocolate, something filled with Cointreau or Calvados, covered in nuts or dusted with cocoa… Sensing my panic, the patient dame behind the counter steered me towards the almond praliné, for which I’ll forever be grateful.

This praliné heart is one of the best sweets I’ve had in a long time. Creamy, nutty and rich, not to mention generously proportioned, it gave me 1, 2, 3, 4…. I dragged it out to 12 bites of blissful pleasure. It was the kind of treat that made me really savor each mouthful—something I couldn’t imagine King Louis doing after all his years of exile.

30 rue des Saints-Perès



Oh my gosh! I love this place!!!!! Thanks for sharing..brings back great memories!

sylvia said...

Hey miss!
I need to take a weekend trip with you one given day!
How could you eat all these beautiful sweets and keep wearing Maje dresses!!!
NYish magic, isn't it?
Well let me know if me and Lionel can join you on a sweet weekend trip!

Sweet Freak said...

Maria, I'm glad I conjured some sweet Parisian memories for you.

Sylvia, lol! You're hilarious. We will definitely have to do a little Sweet Freak tour in Paris this fall!