The Chocolate Life

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Founded in 1800, Debauve & Gallais is the oldest chocolatier in Paris.

Sulpice Debauve, a pharmacist by training, opened the boutique after the Revolution and gradually built a reputation across the continent for exquisite chocolates. By 1818, he was appointed King Louis XVIII’s chocolate supplier, and then Charles X’s and then Louis Philippe’s. And now me.

It’s a beautiful old shop, which had me worried that the chocolates, too, were going to taste outdated. Silly girl.

The half moon counter is a genius way of displaying all the bonbons, bouchées and tablettes—you’re practically surrounded by chocolate, and it’s just a matter of closing your eyes, pointing your finger and discovering which rich treat you’re going home with.

I kept my eyes open, indecisively (as always) going back and forth, back and forth. I couldn’t decide if I wanted milk or dark chocolate, something filled with Cointreau or Calvados, covered in nuts or dusted with cocoa… Sensing my panic, the patient dame behind the counter steered me towards the almond praliné, for which I’ll forever be grateful.

This praliné heart is one of the best sweets I’ve had in a long time. Creamy, nutty and rich, not to mention generously proportioned, it gave me 1, 2, 3, 4…. I dragged it out to 12 bites of blissful pleasure. It was the kind of treat that made me really savor each mouthful—something I couldn’t imagine King Louis doing after all his years of exile.

30 rue des Saints-Perès

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Tags: &, Debauve, Gallais, Paris, Praliné


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Comment by Sweet Freak on September 2, 2009 at 10:10am
You're so welcome, Soft centered. If you're looking for any other lovely chocolatiers, let me know!
Comment by Soft centred on September 2, 2009 at 7:39am
Thank you Sweet Freak for reminding us of the beauty of this temple to Theobroma. I'll be in Paris next week and will definitely be making a pilgrimage to this lovely place.
Soft centred
Comment by Clay Gordon on August 26, 2009 at 1:10pm
I have been told that the younger generation of the Cluizel family is not happy with at least the D&G relationship so it will be interesting to see what happens as a result of any change in management at Cluizel.
Comment by Sweet Freak on August 26, 2009 at 12:20pm
Ah, good catch and confirmation, Ivica & Clay! I will have to take a closer look at both Cluizel and D&G... or maybe I just want an excuse for more indulgences...

I also just noticed Cluizel products at Neuhaus.
Comment by Clay Gordon on August 26, 2009 at 11:42am

Sharp eyes. Virtually all (if not actually all) of the chocolates D&G sells are (and have been since at least 1998 when I visited the D&G shop in Paris and made the exact same connection) made by Michel Cluizel. Many of them come straight from the Cluizel catalg without even bothering to change the names or decorations. Some are customized versions (e.g., custom transfers) of stock Cluizel products.

:: Clay
Comment by Ivica on August 25, 2009 at 4:54pm
Thanks for the lovely photos!
The almond praline looks exactly like Michel Cluizel! Was it?
Cheers, ivica

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