"The Chocolate Connoisseur" and "gâté comme des filles" chocolates


After attending the "Chocolate and Tea Event" at Shakespeare & Company yesterday evening, I dropped a bombshell on Stéphane that shook the very foundation of our marriage. For more than twenty years, our relationship has been built on the belief that he comes from a small European country renowned for its delectable truffles and pralines, while I come from a large country ruled by Mars Bars and Snickers. Needless to say, when Chloe Doutre-Roussel, the author of The Chocolate Connoisseur, declared that the "bean to bar" movement in the United States is producing some of the best chocolate that she has ever tasted, I couldn't wait to rush home and share this earth shattering news with Stéphane. The world as we knew it had ceased to exist!

Bursting through the front door of our apartment, I breathlessly declared, "The chocolate expert said that one of the main reasons that Swiss chocolate is still considered so important doesn't necessarily have to do with taste. It has to do with history! It's because the Swiss industrialized the production of chocolate with the invention of conching." Stéphane, who's understandably proud of his country's mik chocolate heritage, narrowed his eyes while carefully considering the French author's words. It's alright, I assured him. Chloe also said that the Belgians don't make the best chocolate either.

As Stéphane attempted to digest all of this revolutionary information, I added that most of the French chocolatiers are men, who make masculine chocolate, which probably explains why I don't particularly like Patrick Roger's creations. Raving about the smoothness of the gâté comme des filles ("spoiled like girls") ganache that we sampled, I opened a bright pink box filled with sparkly treasures. With his eye firmly fixed on the praline decorated with a walnut, he asked if he could try one of these more feminine chocolates created by Alexandra, the American founder who trained at Corden Bleu in Paris and worked as a pastry cook at Chez Panisse in San Francisco. After popping it in his mouth, the last thing that I heard about chocolate were his sighs of satisfaction.

With the Salon du Chocolat fast approaching at the end of the month, I plan to study The Chocolate Connoisseur  in order to be more fully prepared for the world's largest event dedicated to chocolate. After all, it appears that many Americans are on the cutting edge of this irresistible delicacy and I don't want to be left behind! Chloe Doutre-Roussel also offers chocolate classes and tours in Paris. Please visit her website for additional information.

If you live in the USA, here are some of the American chocolates recommended by Chloe: Rogue Chocolatier in Massachusetts, Ritual Chocolate in Colorado, Dandelion Chocolate in San Francisco, Patric Chocolates in Missouri and Fresco Chocolate in Washington.

The Salon du Chocolat is from October 31 to November 4, 2012.

Alexandra, the founder of gâté comme des filles, and author Chloe Doutre-Roussel at Shakespeare and Company.

Comments

  1. okay, you have to explain what "masculine chocolate" is, as I have no idea how to interpret this. Is this Doutre-Roussel's concept? I would like to know more. And I think I have to check out her book.

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    1. No, masculine chocolate isn't Doutre-Roussel's concept. Alexandra's the one who actually said it in reference to Patrick Roger but as soon as she said it I completely understood what she meant. Cailler chocolates in Switzerland sells two different boxes of bonbons and pralines - one named "Femina" that's geared towards women and one named "Ambassador" that appeal to men. The difference is in the texture. Ambassador chocolate, which I actually prefer, has more nuts, coffee, etc., while Femina is sweeter and more creamy. I just saw last week that Cadbury is launching a new chocolate bar for women. So, it's not a new concept.

      Here's from the Femina website: “I brought you bonbons, since flowers perish too fast…”. The Fémina pralines have been enjoyed by women for a long time thanks to their tender and mouth-watering set of chocolates decorated with a white and blue pattern. As in the song, they were called bonbons when they were launched in 1904. And unlike flowers, the original Fémina Bonbon recipes have survived since then.

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  2. Thoroughly jealous! I've got to say though, Swiss and Belgian chocolate taste pretty good to me...

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    1. Bless you, Gwan! You've made Stephane a happy man again! Unfortunately, even though I arrived at Shakespeare and Company before the start of the tasting, all of the seats were already taken. As a result, I had to listen to the talk via the sound system and only got to sample the chocolates that were left over. Still, they were good enough to make me want to buy a box to take home. We finished them off tonight!

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  3. Guess where I'll be heading when in I'm in SF next month? Yum...

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    1. I look forward to reading a full investigative report on your blog!

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  4. Would it be doable & enjoyable for a non speaking French person to go this? I arrive in Paris Nov 3rd & would love to go Nov 4th. I love chocolate & this sounds amazing. I loved you pics from last year. I want to see the Fashion show! Any hints if I go to this? P.S. I love chocolate!!!

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    1. It would definitely be doable and enjoyable. My only concern would be going on Sunday afternoon because I think that it will be REALLY crowded...but I may be wrong. That weekend (Nov 1-4) is a long weekend in France because of All Saints Day. Lots of people, like me, will leave Paris for the weekend but I imagine that other people will come to Paris. So, I really don't know. One thing that I noticed last year is that the vendors were much more generous giving out samples on the first day, when they thrust them at me, than they were towards the end. Having said all of that, it is a great event for chocolate lovers. The Fashion Show is at 5:00 pm daily. The dresses are also on display prior to the show. The World Chefs Days are on Sat and Sunday. That's when famous chocolatiers will be giving demonstrations. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Otherwise, the website for the Salon du Chocolat has lots of good info in English. If I see any info about how to get free tickets, I'll post it on Out and About's facebook page.

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    2. Thanks! I don't have a choice of when I can go. I arrive in Paris on the 3rd. So Sunday, the 4th is my only option. Can you explain All Saints Day? How will that affect a "tourist" like me in Paris? Funny, how in the U.S, the last day of a "trade show" is when they give out most of their wares, to get rid of them, so they don't have to haul them back home. I've been on the website, which is helpful. I just wanted to get someone's opinion, who has been there, before I buy a ticket. The crowds are the only thing that I was worried about, on a Sunday.

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    3. All Saints Day is on Thursday so it shouldn't have an impact on you. For people working in France, it's a long weekend. It's also a school vacation. We had a hard time finding accommodation in Bordeaux/Dordogne because a lot of people are traveling during those four days. That's why I'm not sure what the crowds will be like at the Salon du Chocolat on Sunday. You don't have to buy a ticket in advance. You can also buy one at the door, although there might be a line to purchase it. I'll be sure to post additional information about the Salon as it becomes available.

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  5. Looks absolutely delicious! Would love to try some one day.

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    1. The chocolates were decadently delicious. I regret having finished the box last night!

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  6. We had some out of town visitors last weekend and I took them to Teuschers on Newbury Street. Always brings back fond memories of the outstanding chocolate shops in Switzerland, each time I visit.

    I'll check out Rogue Chocolatier in Massachusetts, but the Teuschers chocolates, flown in daily from Switzerland, are going to be hard to beat!

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    1. I haven't been to Teuschers yet although their Swiss flag catches my attention whenever I walk down Newbury. Next time I'll have to try some of their chocolate.

      After you check out Rogue Chocolatier, please let me know what you think! I hope to visit them during one of my next trips to Boston.

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  7. Does anyone make a high quality gender non-specific chocolate any more?

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    1. Good question. I don't know if I'm correct but I would think that most chocolate isn't gender specific. In any case, I haven't noticed that many chocolatiers that promote their chocolate as being for women or men.

      It definitely something that I'll ask when I'm at the Salon du Chocolat at the end of October.

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  8. Hi Mary Kay, I've been reading your blog for a while and especially enjoy it when you write about chocolate! My husband and I and our 4 year old son just moved to Paris. Your blog has been a good guide! I'm really looking forward to the Salon du Chocolat, your pics from last year were great. I was wondering if one should get tickets early for it? Do they run out? I checked online and they're selling them right now. How does it usually work?
    Deana

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    1. Deana,

      The tickets don't run out so there isn't any need to buy them in advance (unless you go on the weekend). I can't remember exactly but I think that there may even be some free or reduced rate passes in the weekly Paris Scope right before the Salon starts. I'll keep an eye out for more info and post it on "Out and About's" facebook page. If you plan to go with your son, I would highly recommend going during the week but not on the weekend. I think that it will be really crowded. Also, be sure to check the schedule beforehand because they have some interesting demonstrations and shows. In addition to the fashion show at 5:00 pm, they have cultural shows with music and dancing, etc that might be fun for your son.

      Thanks for commenting and welcome to Paris! If you're not already familiar with it, you may want to check out HJUnderway, a blog written by an American woman who recently moved to Paris with her husband and young son.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions. I know how hard it can be to move to a new city!

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