Sunday, October 18, 2009

October Tour: Saint-Germain’s rich and dreamy chocolate trail

In honor of the Salon du Chocolat (which I didn’t go to this year) this month’s walking tour takes you to some of Saint-Germain’s best chocolatiers. After all, you can toss an M&M in any direction in the sixth arrondisement and hit a world-class chocolatier—especially now that Patrick Roger has opened two new boutiques there.

Start at one of them, 91 rue de Rennes, and see what magical window displays the creative chocolate genius has whipped up. After admiring the fantasies and inhaling the smells, select a few of his unusual bonbons to sample—perhaps the Jamaica, made with ground Arabica coffee beans; the Jacarepagua, a blend or tart lemon curd and refreshing mint, or the Phantasme, made with oatmeal.

A fun and under-appreciated spot awaits just around the corner. The tiny and whimsical Jean-Charles Rochoux (16 rue d'Assas) is cluttered with chocolate figurines and sculptures—everything from fist-sized bunnies, squirrels and alligators to imposing nude busts. While Rochoux works in his basement kitchen, a lovely vendeuse, donning a lace glove, will pluck the pralines, nougats and truffles of your choice. Don’t miss his signature Maker’s Mark truffles.

A quick jaunt east, you’ll find Christian Constant (37 rue d’Assas), a small but slick shop filled with decadent cakes and fragrant teas. In a case tucked along the right-hand wall, you’ll find delicious chocolates with spicy and floral notes such as saffron and ylang ylang.

On your way back into the heart of the shopping district, skip the long line snaking out of Pierre Hermé (72 rue Bonaparte). While his macarons and cakes are to die for, his chocolates, try as I might, aren’t as good as the others. Instead, make your way to another Pierre—Belgian chocolatier Pierre Marcolini (89 rue de Seine).

Marcolini’s boutique is as elegant and refined as a luxe jewelry store. Study the display cases to choose your bonbons of choice. My recommends: the Pavé de Tours Fondant, an uber thin milk chocolate, filled with sugared almonds, hazelnuts and puff pastry cake, and the Coeur Framboise, dark chocolate ganache with raspberry puree, enrobed in white chocolate.

Is there anything better than chocolate??

1 comment:

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