Le Foodist Paris Cooking Class

All Sweets and All Bakeries Are Not Equal: Find the Best Chocolates to Buy in Paris Here

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Paris, a place that displays the elegant beauty of open expression throughout its culture of fine cuisine. Known for its highly sophisticated level of complexity in the preparation process. Some delicacies take a few hours and some a couple weeks, but one thing is for sure, no one does chocolate quite like the French do in Paris.

Whether you are looking for rich, creamy, and exquisite or drizzled, dipped, and chunked, if you are talking chocolate, then it is hard to bring up without mentioning Paris. From accenting sweet pastries to being the main ingredient of numerous dessert dishes often highlighted on menus. No matter how you love to consume it, we are here to provide you with some of the best places to get chocolate in Paris. First, let’s look at what makes good chocolate—good.

where to buy the best chocolate in Paris

Are You Eating Quality Chocolate? Here’s How to Tell.

If you are wandering the streets of Paris in search of premium quality chocolate, then there are a few things to consider when quality comes to mind. Let’s be clear, that in more cases than not, your budget and personal taste preference will make a big difference when choosing quality sweets. It’s certainly not unheard of to pay upwards of $20+ per pound of quality grade edible cocoa, but that doesn’t mean you cannot find an equally good tasting one for much less. The percent of cocoa is something to take note in as too much creates a somewhat bitter taste.

I know that this was not a definite answer, and honestly what is great to another may not be favored by others similar to selecting a favorite wine. A friend may prefer a Riesling, while you enjoy a nice bold red. The tiring part is constantly having people look at me weird when they hear my response to, “What is the best chocolate I can buy?” There are brands that sit at the top of the chain and are considered of the highest quality. Obviously, their price tags will accommodate their boasted reputation. So is there a way to tell if your chocolate is high quality?

What makes chocolate good?

While your personal tastes may play a part in whether or not you like something, there are other methods to testing the quality of chocolates, for instance; the texture should be very smooth with an extremely glossy finish. Treats that have started to develop white patches for instance when poorly preserved milk chocolate starts to go bad. The lack of fine ingredients with a smooth finish will cause the chocolates to appear splotchy. Here are some key bullet points to hit on when making your selection:

  • Texture: it should have a smooth consistency all the way through. Grainy chocolate is often made using sub-par ingredients.
  • Sound: premium chocolate makes a crisp snapping sound when broken. The edges are sharp and clean. Low-quality chocolate often has a very weak and soft break and crumbles or bends during breaking.
  • Appearance: there will be a clean, glossy surface free of scratches and other blemishes. Cloudy or discoloring can mean that it is either old or has been exposed to extreme temperatures.
  • Aroma: the good stuff smells well—good. Lightly rub a section to warm the area and then give a sniff. If it smells like anything other than chocolate, then there is not enough cocoa present, and more than likely the bars contains a lot of filler.
  • Taste: it’s going to be pretty hard to tell if it is good unless you give a nibble. The flavor will tell you a lot. Does it immediately start to melt into a creamy, velvety mouthful of sensational greatness? Is it smooth or does it have a gritty or sandy feel? Overall it’s your taste buds that will be the deciding factor.
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Supermarkets v.s. Paris Chocolatiers

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Right off the bat, there is really no comparison. Hands down, the “stuff” bought in regular stores will have no chance of coming close to the quality of what you find in a shop crafted by real artisans. Authentic confectioners that believe in the ethical practices of nonlabor intensive (child/slave) sources of pure, raw cocoa. You can save lots of money by purchasing store-bought sweet treats, but when it comes to quality, nothing—absolutely nothing compares to the masterful flavors of handcrafted artisanal sweets.

When you travel to the grocery store, the teller will not be able to tell you anything about a magnitude of the products carried. However, when you visit a specialty store in the city, everything from the source it was procured from to the levels used in each variety, and the flavor profile each provenance supplied blend provides. Cocoa has a range of complexities and knowing the region and provenance details help make decisions on purchasing your favorites tastes. These are great French food souvenirs from Paris from shops to bring home from travel to share with family and friends.

Pairing Your Chocolate Treats

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Similar to cheese, these brown bars actually pair very nicely with vineyard-friendly beverages. Wines and chocolate are like peas in pods. They just go together. Which is why you can find some very good pairings at local tastings. When looking at where to buy wine in Paris, they often have great selections that fit different budgets.

Now that you have the basics, let’s check out some favorites:

  • Salon du Chocolat

This dessert-bearing venue is a world-class event that takes place a few times a year at different locations. If you are looking to indulge cravings with top-notch, premium treats, then the Salon du Chocolat is the place. Starting the last weekend in October of 2018 and lasting five days. Master chefs, pastry experts, and culinary masters from around the globe attend to show off their skills and exceptional quality at the Paris, Porte de Versailles.

When it comes to all things cocoa inspired, this event features over 500 participants, nearly 200 of those being chefs and pastry experts, spanning from over 60 different countries. No other events on the planet compared to the prestigious intensity placed on the smooth and creamy unique sweets from this event. Only the best of the best pastries and sweets will be found here.

  • Michel Chaudun

We can talk about chocolate and even cakes and cookies like macaroons, but when it comes to people who make sweet treats sing in Paris; without a doubt, Michel Chaudun comes to mind. A true architectural chocolatiering maestro and mastermind behind La Maison du Chocolat. Michel holds the unique ability to sculpt sweets into lifelike objects and pretty much anything else him or anyone else can imagine. His dessert molding artistry knows no bounds. You can enjoy some of his incredible sculptures at 149 Rue de l'Université. There you can see a chocolate version of the Eiffel tower, miniature cars, buildings, and so many other delectable goodies. 

  • Jean Paul Hévin

If you are in Paris and on the hunt for some sweet pastries with a bit of class, dash of love, and sprinkle of high quality confection, then you are looking to head to the Rue St Honoré fashion district, where you will find renowned chocolatier & artisan, Jean Paul Hévin boutique, fully equipped with an upstairs tearoom. Hévin is mainly known for his interesting use of Asian-inspired ingredients to create unmatched flavor profiles. His macaroons will send you over the edge. They are to die for, not to mention his hot cocoa that will literally make you never want to leave Paris.

  • Cocoa Iconoclast by Patrick Roger

When it comes to chocolatiers in Paris, this guy is famous for his delectable confectioneries of goodness, and you can find his main store in the heart of the St. Germain neighborhood. His notations come in with his delicious rochers made with praline filling and hazelnut flakes. His interesting mixture of using dark chocolate complemented by flavors like lime or spicy pepper play ode to his whimsical and playful nature. He also has had success with edible sculpting. Stop by and see some of his amazingly tasty pieces of edible food art.

  • Chapon

We travel to the chic streets of St. Germain & Rue du Bac in Paris, to one of many well-known sweet treat maestros Patrice Chapon's shop, where the business really goes down. There are so many types of flavors that you'll want to come back and try your hand at different tones of the bittersweet treat. If you stop by Chapon, you can not go without sampling all the bars!

  • Pierre Hermé

It is true; no one does not like Pierre Hermé. From soft, delicate pastries to fluffy cakes to macaroons, are crafted by this chocolatier. With the use of pralines, balsamic vinegar, and ganaches with orange, Pierre has been able to produce some of the most interesting flavor profiles around the world. There are a couple of locations in Paris. You can find this shop at the center of St. Germain des Pres district nestled near the shops on Rue Bonaparte. Stop in and sample elegance.

The Best French Chocolates

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Whether you are planning your road and traveling to the city, you'll want to know what type of business you are looking for. When you only want the best chocolate food and desserts, you travel to the shops of Paris.

For more information, please refer to the following pages:

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More About Our Baguettes Classes

Getting a bit technical during our Baguette Class in Paris

The French baguette, actually probably better known as the Parisian baguette has beome a true symbol of French popular gastronomy. A true icon of French life even - look around and you will see the Parisians strolling back home with their baguettes under their arm. But if you are French why would you learn how to do this? You can buy a baguette at any corner of Paris for about one Euro a piece.  But in our Baguette Class in Paris  you will learn how do this from scratch. It is somewhat technical, but also full of tips and tricks. But when you leave, it will have not secret left for you. From the original mix to the famous "scarification" through adding water to your oven through baking, you will see and do it all.

Learning more during your Baguette class in Paris: Croque Monsieur Bread and Brioche

This class is like all our other baking or cooking classes: totally hands-on. So you get to practice from beginning to end - and to taste at the end. But not only will you learn how to make Baguette, but you will also learn to make two more types of bread: the French Croque Monsieur bread. The basis for the classic French bistrot appetizer. And in your Baguette class in Paris you will also learn how to make your own Brioche. Probably the most indulgent bread you will find in France - if not the lightest ...

And you might learn some history during your Baguette Class in Paris

While you will learn the techniques to create - and get to taste - three classic types of French breads, you will also learn some of the stories on the origin of the baguette. Just beware it is still being quite hotly debated. What is for sure though is that the Baguette is absolutely part of today Parisian's life. A classic you will be able to take back home with you.

More About Our Wine and Cheese Lunch in Paris

Cheese and Wine in Paris

The pleasures we can derive from French cuisine can seem endless.  However two of the best known and loved French gastronomic heroes are French cheese and wine. Whether we talk about a Brie which actually comes from very close to Paris, to a creamy Camembert from Normandy, or a Comté from the Alps, French cheese has a delight for all palates. And of course, French wines are even better known whether from Bordeaux great wines or Burgundy sophisticated whites – all of which enthral wine lovers.  Well, at our course on cheese and wine in Paris you will come to appreciate that although each is delicious on its own, properly matched cheese and wine together can make the experience of each even more enjoyable and an absolute delight.

How to pair French cheese and wine

Because not all pairings are actually what people expect, at Le Foodist we have decided to call these experiences 'Daring Pairings'. Maybe because we like to step out of the ordinary to challenge our taste buds, but really all we try to do is give you the perfect match fo cheese and wine in Paris.  So not only will you learn how to select the best wine to go with your cheese, but you will also learn what are the big cheese families in France – there are actually only five, and this is one of the keys to great pairing. In discovering all these pairings of cheese with wine you will be convinced that indeed two things together can be better than the sum of their parts.

It is important to have fun with pairing cheese and wine in Paris

Beyond the tastings though, we have found that the best way to help our clients remember and re-use their experience is to vary the way to approach both wine and cheese.  That is why during our courses on cheese and wine in Paris we share sensory games and many an anecdote to bring the produce to life in your mind as well as on your palate. Overall we will feature four excellent wines, one Champagne and demonstrate to you how best each combines with cheese, letting your taste guide you along with our teaching.

Understanding cheese and wine pairing while in Paris

While for many top Parisian wine stores and restaurant wine lists can be confusing and even intimidating, we believe that after our lunch learning how to pair cheese and wine in Paris, you will feel much more comfortable navigating all of those.  And we sincerely hope your knowledge will help you unlock a door to a whole new world of enjoyment of French wine and cheese pairing.  At every step of the way our sommelier will also share unique tips and tricks to understand wines better and how culture and wine are so related in France; hopefully enriching your own experience as well.

And they do not have to do with what you will find in those markets. They have to do with when you can go shopping there. Open Air markets are only open in the morning. Typically from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm. And they are not open every day. As a matter of fact for the vast majority they are open either open every other day (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday or Wednesday, Friday, Sunday), or sometimes only twice a week. 

This is the case of the Bastille Market (Metro Bastille and Metro Bréguet Sabin )which is open only on Thursday and Sunday morning. We like to send people there because it is a very big market with over one hundred vendors. And it has a nice stand of Crêperie in the middle. Here you get a video of a lady preparing a crêpe there; and you can get that crêpe for only 3 Euros!
There is only one Open Air market open every day of the week, it is called Marché Aligre (Metro Ledru Rollin or Metro Faidherbe Chaligny) which happens on the eponymous street. It is an interesting market because you find all kinds of quality in that market – the good, the bad and the ugly. There is also a nice covered market in the middle of it called Marché Beauveau – sometimes called Marché Beauveau Aligre. On the contrary, Covered Markets are open every day, and not just in the morning, but also in the late afternoon. Typically from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm.

We are blessed with two markets close to where Le Foodist is located, so we can walk to a market every morning – sometimes it is the Maubert market, and sometimes it is the Monge market. Both nice with their own specififies. Last but not least, none of these markets is open on Monday. Do not sign-up for a Market Tour on Monday, you might never see that money again …

Choosing Ingredients in Paris

While all markets are different, they also have some things in common. First they work on specific schedules as explained before. But also you will find always at a minimum the following vendors: a Maraîcher – this is the name we give to people selling fruits and vegetables, a butcher, a fishmonger, a cheesemonger and a baker. Normally you will find several of each, with different levels of quality, organic or non-organic, local or not local (but mostly not local unfortunately).
And we explain how to recognize each of those of course during our Market Visits and Cooking Classes in Paris. But choosing ingredients can be daunting at first, because of the variety that is on display. A typical fishmonger will carry 20 different types of fishes, and as many shrimp and shelf fish varieties. A good cheese monger will easily carry up to 100 different types of cheese and obviously you could get over 100 different cuts of meat at a butcher (from the type of meat to the cut itself). And a normal Maraicher will carry between 50 and 100 fruits and vegetables as well.
This is what makes these markets so exciting – the variety of products, the beauty of their display, and the exchange you can have with most of the vendors. We give you tips though on how to make sure that exchange with the vendors go well – a few magic words, and everything will be fine!

Cooking in Paris

Obviously going to markets is nice, but actually knowing that you are going to cook what you find there is even more exciting. It is not uncommon for Parisians to buy a little bit too much food because they get so excited at the idea of cooking it all! But as most of us have hardly any space where we live, that can limit the enthusiasm sometimes. Because of the lack of space, Cooking in Paris can be quite different from cooking in the rest of France. And there are also dishes that are typically associated with regions which the Parisian will not cook at home – but taste when they visit friends or families in the various regions of France. However our kitchen has plenty of space, so we can cook traditional French dishes without a problem – whether they come from Paris or any region. And the most important part for us is to ensure that we share techniques much more than just recipes. As a matter of fact, we love to share a bit of the science behind what we do so people can better remember the “what” by understanding the “why”.

Sharing Stories

In November 2010, some experts from the UN cultural organisation, decided tha France’s multi-course gastronomic meal, with its rites and its presentation, fulfilled the conditions for featuring on the “world intangible list” of the UNESCO.
In this list you can find all kinds of cultural practices, including Mexico Day of the Dead festival for example. Importantly this is not suggesting French cuisine is better than other cuisines (even though we the French tend to believe that …). It is only saying that the gastronomic meal and what it entails is a very vivid cultural practice which people in France partake into on a very regular basis. That is why the same experts indicated that the French gastronomic meal is a “social custom aimed at celebrating the most important moments in the lives of individuals and groups”. And in that social custom, there are many parts: the attention we pay to the way we choose ingredients, how we pair wine with food, how many dishes we will present to our guests, how we lay the table, etc… But one big part of the cultural practice is that commensality (the fact of sharing the food) is always accompanied by sharing stories about …. Well, you would have guessed it, Food of course!
To us it is THE perfect example of how Food and Culture come together – actually we decide to share food is a considered a cultural practice. I would argue that it is true of all countries, regions, etc… As the way we relate to Food is such a big part of anybody’s identity. But as a result and to make sure you have the most genuine experience of French culture, after the a coking class in Paris at Le Foodist, you will share a gastronomic meal at a common table with your Chef and fellow participants to the class.

French Wine and Food Pairing

As mentioned above, one of the big cultural practices in France is choosing how to pair Wine and Food in general and Wine and Cheese in particular. We actually have a class which focuses specifically on this. As it is so important though, we always make sure we share white and red wines during our meals, chosen to pair well in our opinion with the food we cook. And being at the table together is a good opportunity to discuss about wine as well, with concepts such as “terroir” (to simplify, terroir means “what you do depends on where you are”) which are essential to grasp the way the French think about Food.
And all this will always go with a cheering “Santé” – which quite simply means, to your good health!

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