Velvety ganache, molten 'chocolat chaud' and light, airy truffles abound in our pick of Paris's top chocolate shops. From impressively eccentric cocoa creations to scrumptious, understated classics, these 'chocolatiers' will seduce you over to the dark (chocolate) side. Think we've missed one out? Let us know in the comments below.
Voted the 'best chocolatier in the world' by critic Mort Rosenblum, Jacques Génin's creations could previously only be tasted in top restaurants. But now his impressive boutique allows you to taste sur place or take a bag home. The signature eclairs and tarts glisten in glass cases, and the millefeuilles are made to order for perfect freshness.The chocolate ganaches include Menthe Amante, a two-phase taste sensation that finishes with mint leaves bursting on the tongue.
Created in 1910, this family-run chocolate shop only uses natural ingredients. The hot chocolate is divine: made from 100% cacao powder (from the Ivory Coast), pure cacao butter, half-fat milk and very little sugar, it thickens naturally in a copper cauldron. You can’t drink it in the shop, but on a cold winter’s day there’s nothing better than warming your hands (and soul) with a cup in the street.
Roger is shaking up the art of chocolate-making. Whereas other chocolatiers aim for gloss, Roger may create a brushed effect on hens so realistic you almost expect them to lay (chocolate) eggs. Other locations: 91 rue de Rennes, 6e; 199 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 8e;45 avenue Victor Hugo, 16e; 12 cité Berryer, Village Royal, 8e.
One of the world’s best chocolate makers, this Belgian chocolatier wows with each impressive bite. Be it his raspberry and white chocolate hearts or one of his chocolate-covered marshmallows, there’s something here for every chocolate lover. Don’t be deterred by the stark black store – he doesn’t need frills or décor to sell his wares. Seasonal collections keep things fresh while old favourites (like a box featuring chocolate from around the world) are always on hand.
Chocoholics will be in paradise in this concept store dedicated to cocoa, where an upscale brunch is served on Sundays with Poilane bread, Bordier butter and slices of Iberian ham. As part of the €55 menu: foie gras with pear, crème de cassis (in autumn) and a glass of Champagne. There are no muffins, but rather a madeleine, a mini-éclair and a slice of cake – all of which go perfectly with one of the best hot chocolates in Paris, made with real melted chocolate, milk, a little cream and a touch of cinnamon and vanilla.
At Michel Chaundun’s cavern of cacao, expect a welcome smile and an enthusiasm for chocolate so communicative that you can’t help but want to try a square truffle, a Fidgi (a dark chocolate filled with passion fruit ganache) or a Veragua (a heavenly chocolate, praline and caramel layered bon-bon). Chaudun’s chocolate shop has to be the most atmospheric of them all; a wooden panelled 19th-century affair, covered from floor to ceiling with hand-made chocolate sculptures.
Finally, a shop dedicated to the man who trademarked the salted butter caramel. While he makes chocolates as well, it’s the caramels that draw locals and foreigners alike into the signature orange and black shops. An array of the sweets, some infused with matcha powder, chocolate and apple cinnamon, are available individually or in pre-bundled sachets. While many try to imitate, few can compare to the deliciously rich yet subtle, chewy yet tender caramels that melt in your mouth.
After learning the ropes with chocolate wiz Michel Chaudun, this young chocolatier has become somewhat of a star in Paris’s Saint Germain quarters. The first things you notice in the boutique are the perfectly shaped figurines, animals and giant eggs behind the counter, which – each Easter – tell the tale of how the shop came to be. You can even buy a man’s chocolate torso (a nod to the term ‘plaquette de chocolat’ used in French to describe a six-pack). Order a heavenly ‘ganache’; or, if you’re passing by on a Saturday, try one of the chocolate bars made from fresh fruit.
His creations are as much art as they are confection. Chocolate shoes, guitars, and diamond rings decorate the dark wooden counters, prompting dropped jaws among passersby. And they taste as good as they look, which is remarkable. For the adventurous, Hévin specialises in the beguiling combination of chocolate with potent cheese fillings, which loyal customers serve with wine as an aperitif.
After doing time on the high-end patisserie scene in Paris, Jean-Marc Rué finally went independent in 2007, opening his own shop with his wife Keiko Orihara (a renowned chocolatière in her own right). Monsieur Chocolat caters to a clientele of regulars, who come for the chocolate bars with dried fruit or the salted caramel ganaches. You’ll often find Rué in his workshop in the back, busy fashioning figurines of landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower.