A Sweet Moment in Paris: La Chocolaterie

April 9, 2009

The sweetest secret in Paris recently came to end with the opening of La Chocolaterie, a striking new boutique in the trendy northern Marais. Before the only way to sample the deliciously confidential wares of chocolatier and patissier Jacques Genin was at Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon, Pierre Gagnaire, Yves Camdeborde’s Le Comptoir du Relais or one of the other select restaurants and hotels in Paris that carry his handmade chocolates and pastries or by prizing the his address out of someone and knocking on the door of his tiny atelier deep in the 15th arrondissement and asking if he’d sell you some directly (a nice guy, he usually did).

  Now, as word spreads about Genin creations, among them his caramel éclair, cassis (black currant) and mimosa pate de fruits and Szechuan pepper ganache, an ever growing throng of intensely curious chocolate and pastry-loving Parisians are flocking to Genin’s bright, airy 200 square meter boutique in a 17th building at 133 rue de Turenne. What they all want to know is who is Jacques Genin, and how did he manage to stay under the radar of the French capital’s thousands of avid chocolate lovers for so long.

   Designed by architect Guillaume Leclercq, who previously did several Louis Vuitton boutiques, La Chocolaterie is an elegant airy space where the precious and perishable sweets (Genin’s chocolates have a ten-day life expectancy) are kept in glass cases on top of ivory colored counters and there’s a warm, inviting salon with exposed stone walls, oak parquet floors, low lighting, and mocha and chocolate leather chairs by French designer Christian Liagre. A dramatic raw steel circular stair case leads upstairs to the immaculate 200 square meter atelier where Genin works with a team of eight.

  From the Vosges region of eastern France, the genial Genin, 50, found his métier after a variety of odd jobs (maitre d’hotel, self-taught chef) that culimated with the improbable good luck of becoming chef patissier at Paris’s famous Maison du Chocolat (he’d never baked so much as a single éclair, but learned fast). After four years of acclaim, he chucked it all again, and set up shop as a chocolatier in a 23 meter atelier.

   Using the best available fruit, herbs, spices, nuts, dairy produce and Valrhona chocolate, Genin taught himself the art of chocolate-making and started making the killer good   bons-bons that left the greatest chefs of France speechless.

   “I already have the tastes in my mouth when I start to invent a new recipe,” Genin tells me over tea from Paris’s exclusive Maison des Trois Thes. “Here, try this,” he says, placing a pate de fruit on a saucer. If I can identity the banana, I don’t immediately find the other flavor of this playful but potent treat. “It’s geranium. French cemeteries are filled with geraniums, so they’re the smell of old age. Children love bananas. The idea is a little edible sketch of life,” Genin explains. 

  I ask the ever-animated Genin why be became a chocolatier. “I love giving people pleasure,” he says. “I also like the way the danger of my work—creating caramel by subjecting sugar to carbon and oxygen, for example, yields a sensual product. To give someone a small intense moment of pleasure in life, that’s a lot.”

 La Chocolaterie, 133 rue de Turenne, Tel. 33-1-45-77-29-01

  

  

  • my one-stop next time i visit paris! I love french chocolate and the atmosphere of their restaurants

  • I wish to eat this food.

  • I extremely wish to visit the paris.

  • Paris is most beautiful city in the world.

  • I always like the sweet dishes. These are my favorite. I am feeling happy to eat hhe sweet dishes.