The Chocolate Life

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Review: Chocolate tour of Paris with David Lebovitz

Review: Chocolate tour of Paris with David Lebovitz

(note that he is not currently giving private tours but he is doing a week-long, small group "Paris Chocolate Adventure")

In 2003 my wife and I made our own chocolate wedding cake from a recipe from David's book "Room for Dessert." In 2005 I had an exhibition in Paris and in our research on where to go we came across his tour so we decided to splurge.

We opted for a half day tour and my mom joined us. I had been in the catacombs literally all night long so I was less than fully lucid but I managed to power through with the help of some theobromine. My wife was actually 2 weeks pregnant at the time so she was also not feeling 100%. We could have been grumpy and tired but instead it was a real highlight of our trip.

Overall we loved it. David is very knowledgeable. The tour basically leads from store to store where most of out purchases were for later. As is common in Paris there are few free samples and the focus was not on leading us through tastings themselves. Perhaps he could do that too if asked - he was very flexible and modified the tour as we went along and he learned our experience and preferences. We saw more than we expected in terms of the number of sites we were able to visit. David was very considerate and well organised. A couple times he took us on buses (safer and cleaner than the subway) which allowed him to discuss points of interest on the streets along the way. He often peppered the history and cultural information about chocolate with fun gossip about the politics behind some of the personalities involved - especially with the smaller stores. David is not shy about sharing insider industry news and he had stories about many cookbooks or chefs we chatted about.

I can't remember all the places we visited but here's a few highlights.

We started at Ladurée and learned a bit about its long history. Then we visited Debauve & Gallais - the oldest chocolate store in paris (since 1800) where we bought a few dark bars that became our favorite. By favorite I mean all-time-five-star-I'd-even-pay-ten-bucks-for-this favorite.

Jean-Charles Rochoux is a friend of his so we got some samples out of his store.

Sadaharu Aoki - added based on our conversation - great matcha chocolate.

We stopped at a kitchen supply store with chocolate preparation equipment.

We omitted a couple key tour places we had been before such as Jean-Paul Hevin and Pierre Herme.

We had some important discussions about chocolate croissants and David pointed us to a few to try. Ladurée's featured hazelnut and became our favorite. Fachoun was great too.

I was also interested in cheese so we ended our tour at Le Bon Marche. I embarrassed him by asking him to get cheese samples which is not often done in Paris. But he came through for me. He left us there with a pointer to the chocolate tarts upstairs in their cafe. Over tarts and tea I pleasantly fell into an exhausted, overcaffinated and sleep-deprived happy stupor.

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Comment by Chocoflyer on April 4, 2008 at 6:36pm
Im so envious- would give my vital organs to go on this tour. Maybe some day....when the recession ends....ok Im not holding my breath, just enjoying these reviews!

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