Before everyone gets busy with the holidays, I want to share some of my latest adventures with you.
My daughter Sophie got married this last July and of course we wanted the most beautiful and delicious wedding cake. For that, we turned to Sebastien Gaudard, a 33-year-old pastry chef who, after a few years at Fauchon, is the creative force behind the DELICABAR “snack chic,” the happening lunch and tea space above La Grande Epicerie du Bon Marché on the left bank. We chose a five-tier fraisier, génoise with tasty strawberries caught in the lightest pistachio-flavored pastry cream, coated with a white glaze, and decorated with marshmellows (very trendy here these days) and silver coated dragées (almond candies traditionally offered at weddings and christenings). It was in keeping with the dress, made of paper strips by my friend Mireille Etienne Brunel, known for her romantic yet unusual designs.
For a summer wedding we had decided against chocolate, but it is one of my favorite subject. Flavors, flavors, new flavor combinations, this is what some of France’s best chocolatiers are doing these days. On your next visit to Paris, or meanwhile on the internet, here are some of my recommendations.
First, back to DELICABAR
…where Sebastien and his partner Hélène Samuel have put on their menu the latest twist: foie gras au chocolat (cocoa-coated foie gras) is a signature dish. If you like foie gras, try it on your next visit.
Delicabar (edit : the place doesn’t exist anymore)
Le Bon Marché
26, rue de Sèvres
His range of chocolate bars, bonbons, and pastries is vast and keeps growing, all available in his three boutiques. Look for his most surprising invention: les chocolats au fromage. How did the idea of combining cheese with chocolate come to such a classically trained palate? Accidentally, in Japan, while munching on cheese and chocolate at the same time five years ago. He uses four cheeses, and not the mildest: Epoisses, with a touch of cumin, Chèvre with a touch of hazelnut, Pont l’évêque with a touch of thyme, and Roquefort with a touch of walnut. The tastes are indescribable, but delicious. To be served at aperitif, preferably with a moderately sweet wine.
Jean-Paul HEVIN (website)
231, rue Saint Honoré 75001 (also has a tea room)
23 bis avenue de la Motte Picquet 75007
16, avenue de la Motte Picquet 75007 Hevin 2 (“chocolate to go”)
Roger is the brightest new star on the Parisian scene since he opened his retail store near Odeon, on the left bank. His ganaches are flavored with lime, basil, jasmin, quince, Szechuan pepper corns as well as the more classic caramel mousse.
Patrick ROGER (website)
108, boulevard Saint Germain 75006
This young man spent 10 years with Michel Chaudun, one of the most discreet yet acclaimed chocolatiers in Paris. He opened his own shop a year ago in the heart of Saint Germain des Prés. He already has a number of addicted followers, to whom he sells bonbons and chocolate bars with homemade caramelized hazelnuts or almonds, roasted pistachios, candied ginger, rum-soaked raisins. His tablette aux épices blends ginger, clove, cinnamon