About 12 years ago I bought the Dutch translation of Chantal Coady’s book “The Chocolate Companion”. One of the chocolatiers that got very high rates was Paul de Bondt. I had never heard of him but I became very curious after reading her review. Although he is Dutch his shop is not in The Netherlands but in Pisa, Italy. But I knew then: one day I will visit Pisa!
A few years later I discovered a few of his bars at Le Salon du Chocolat in Paris. They were excellent!
In September 2008 I met Paul and his wife Cecilia at a food festival in Rotterdam. I admired his products and I learned a lot during his chocolate tasting.
One year later, when I was already ambassador for Original Beans, I asked him if he would like to do a workshop for us. He did! A day I will never forget! The most amazing recipe he created with our Piura Porcelana chocolate was a tapenade, of course based on olives, capers and anchovies. Everybody loved it!
And last week I finally visited Pisa! Yes! I had a great time! Paul and Cecilia’s shop is located along the river Arno. Bars with dried fruit, nuts and spices. Chocolates/bonbons (the coffee ganache is the best I have ever tasted) and…almost three weeks after Eastern there were still some eggs! Lucky me because they are delicious! I don’t know which one I like most…gianduia, rocher, cremino…all made of the finest hazelnuts (Gentile). Paul only uses the best ingredients and as local as possible. He also showed me his “laboratorio”, very well equiped. One last dessert before I had to leave Pisa: a chocolate semifreddo with passion fruit. Yummy!
Thank you for the wonderful time Paul and Cecilia!