At the historic quarter of Bastille in a cobbled courtyard, is the wonderful chocolate factory founded by Alain Ducasse and Nicolas Berger the chocolate maker. Set in a former garage, the place is refurbished into a lovely chocolate shop featuring an original decor with brick wall and glass windows allowing visitors to glimpse into the factory complete with its vintage machines. If the chocolates are deliciously made from organic and natural ingredients, the shop itself is a joy to visit, an art work on its own decorated with most of the furniture discovered in antique shops and flea markets – like the steel gates with its brass handles once embellished the former Bank of France, or the shelves along the walls and the heavy central table that was once also used to place gold bars – an authentic decor finds its new home in a contemporary renovated space. From cocoa beans to chocolate bars, all is made in this wonderful factory using restored vintage machines. Entering the factory the aromatic nutty chocolate fragrance is already tantalizing my senses. In one corner where the carefully selected cocoa beans are placed in large jute bags is where the fascinating journey begins. Nicolas was showing how he makes his delightful chocolates by first selecting the cocoa beans to be roasted. This time he chooses cocoa beans from the Indonesian island of Java.
It took nearly three years for Nicolas to look for these machines. “sometimes these old machines were left to decay in some forgotten places or sometimes were used for other purposes” says Nicolas. Such as the cocoa bean roaster ‘Virey Garnier” which was once used for coffee beans and the sorter was used for Jordan Almonds and the mill was used as mustard seed grinder. The winnower or cocoa crusher, is the oldest machine in the factory and comes from Carle Montanari, retrieved from an old confectionery in Italy. The cocoa crusher was brought back to Paris, reassembled and carefully restored by an artisan blacksmith. From cocoa beans to chocolate bars, and to sum up this mouth watering venture – the beans are carefully roasted, crushed, milled until it liquifies, mixed with cocoa butter and other base ingredients, grinding to obtain a certain aromatic fineness, conched to give the chocolate its fluidity while eliminating the acidity and bitterness – a process that can last up to 48 hours or longer. Tempering is the next stage before it can be poured into blocks, bars or transformed into ganache or used in coating bonbons.
I love chocolates in all its splendour, but I have never had anything so tastefully refined as those made at this factory – deliciously creamy and it just melts in your mouth … Anyone visiting Paris should definitely come visit this wonderful chocolate factory. Packed in a specially designed greaseproof airtight bag to preserve the aroma, each chocolate bars are labelled according to countries of origin, from the smoky taste of the Indonesian Javanese cocoa beans to delicate Trinidad, the tartness of Madagascar or the intense strong flavour of the Venezuelan Chuao and Peruvian Porcelana blanca – the choice is plentiful !
Very small amount of sugar or 100% sugar free and cocoa butter are used, a particularity to Alain Ducasse chocolates rendering each taste unique to its origin. You can get a taste of these unique chocolate bars at 75% or 65% and for the milky choco bars they come in several intensities at 55%, 45 % or 35 %. For traditional un-conched bars, comes the unique Espellette pepper or the yummy nougatine fleur de sel. From pure chocolate ganaches, creamy truffles and delectable pralines to the irresistible “Mendiant” bars with caramelized almonds and hazelnut.
The aesthetic design of Alain Ducasse chocolate factory showcases authentic vintage decoration in the historic Bastille quarter is a must visit for chocolate and Paris lovers …
Alain Ducasse chocolate factory
40 rue de la Roquette
Open Monday to Saturday 10.30 am – 7 pm
Telephone 01 48 05 82 86
And should you be at the Rive Gauche take a peek at the recently opened Alain Ducasse chocolate shop
Alain Ducasse chocolate shop
26 rue Saint-Benoît
Telephone 01 45 48 87 89
Categories: Alain Ducasse Chocolate