Just because it is!
No, that’s not enough? I need to back that theory up? Uhh, all right then.
As a disclaimer I would like to say the following also applies to Belgium and Switzerland.
It’s not the country where the chocolate is made that makes it great but the quality of the ingredients.
Fantastic chocolate chefs also come from Japan or USA.
The historical background for Chocolate
Although discovered by Christopher Columbus, it was Cortez who introduced Cacao to the court of Spain in 1528.
From there, it made its way to the French court – officially at Louis XIII’s wedding in 1615. So for over 400 years cacao has been used and recipes written to enhance it.
The year 1770 sees the creation of the title of “Chocolatier du Roy” for the preparation of the wedding of Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI. In 1848 the first chocolate factory “Chocolat Poulain” opened followed in 1870 by the first chocolate plant, the effect was reducing production costs and therefore chocolate became available to all regardless of social class.
An history of pairing flavours follows. In Holland, Van Houten focused on powdered cacao and chocolate beverage, in Switzerland Lindt, Tobler and Kohler on milk chocolates and hazelnuts flavours and in UK, Cadbury went for chocolate bars and cookies (biscuits) while many French artisans focused onto finding the key ingredients to match the flavour and strength of cacao.
Probably based on our experience and imperious need to pair wine with food, pairing chocolate with other flavours to enhance the experience seemed like a natural step, after all the first chocolate presented to the wedding of the Louis XIII was a chocolate with piment d’espelette (frangant but not hot red peppers) and the paring still exists 400 years later.
A selection of quality ingredients and an army of artisans
Chocolate speaks to everyone and it usually is a childhood dream of many of the artisans that I know to introduce everyone to new and wonderful experiences.
So, many of our artisans, some of them MOFs (that is Best Craftsman of France a very hard lifetime title to earn), will search for high quality cocoa to begin, often dropping the worn out by centuries of exploitation fields of Africa to new shores such as South America or South East Asia.
In France we use to call them Chocolatier-Confisier and in some other countries the term chocolat bonbon is still linked to flavoured chocolates.
Three distinctive categories
Ganache, cacao with cream chocolate with a flavouring through juices (orange, lemon, raspberries…) infusions (teas, coffees, vanilla…), plants/herbs (mint, cardamone, curry…) basically no hard “bits” of outside ingredients.
Praliné, hazelnuts based ganache with all sorts and shapes of nuts and almonds
The others, an outside ingredient covered or mixed with the chocolate (brandy cherry, orange peels, fruits…)
To discover wonderful chocolate flavours joins us on Montmartre tours or our tour of Le Marais