There is only so many plastic Effiel Towers one person can have in their life. Which means on my recent trip to Paris to see my lovely friend I by-passed the tacky souvenirs and went for much more fun and memorable treats to bring home from my trip. I picked up a bar of chocolate for each day I was away and at various points in our exploring. Which I think you would agree is a much more fun way to remember your trip than flashing plastic.
On my first day, we explored Marché des Enfants Rouges area, which is foodies paradise (including a stop for Popelini!). Nestled just around the corner is Matthieu Bijou,the former head pastry chef at Taillevent and the Maison du Danemark, Matthieu Bijou recently opened his first chocolate store, stocking a beautiful range of ganache chocolates, and single origin tablet bars and even the odd chocolate cactus or two. I picked up a Peru Single Origin for my collection. An unchallenging bar to taste, being soft on the palate and rolling around the tongue. Hints of coffee and caramelised milk a really crowd pleaser of a bar.
My second bar was picked up from one of the many, many gastronomic delis in Paris. I had eyed up the next bar before my visit on Instagram and taken by the brilliantly designed packaging by Parisian artists. Les Chocolat des Français, have a great selection of different cocoa solid percentage and inclusions all wrapped in their fantastic packaging. I went for a 70% cocoa solids with caramelised hazelnuts and of course the wrapper that had a nod to the city I was visiting. A lighter mouthfeel than the Matthieu Bijou bar but allows the caramelised hazelnuts to burst forward on the palate. A slight cinnamon warming note and earthy flavour that makes this a rather moreish bar and a new piece of artwork for your home.
Finally, a heavyweight champion of the sweet world. I was disappointed I hadn’t picked up a bar from a department store of the next producer but so pleased I held off as we stumbled on the chocolate factory on my last day so I could get a bar from the very source. Alain Ducasse, with a range of 24 different single origin bars, flavoured ganaches and when we visited a glorious range geometric Easter Eggs. I could have bought the whole shop. A temple to the beauty of chocolate. However, due to rubbish baggage allowance, I treated myself to a bar of the Vietnam Trinitario 75% after much deliberation. This bar shows no mercy, a complex punchy flavour that reveals and develops on the palate. Definitely, a bar to be savoured like a fine wine rather than guzzled down. Earthy and slightly smokey, an adult flavour bar and a pure delight to sample.
Doesn’t those bars just make you want to jump on a plane so you can sample the delights of Paris and bring back such treats and edible survivors to share with friends over stories of your trip? Move over novelty fridge magnets, you’ve got serious competition in these bars.
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