I won a chocolate lottery with DeBauve & Gallais last month! Many people dream of winning the lottery, but money is not the only prize when it comes to the pleasures of life. The most valuable gifts are those given with ribbons instead of strings, and I have been the lucky recipient of many generous gifts, from cameras, cookware, Kindles, and tablets (merci @John8600), to books from authors (merci @LauraFlorand & @Anne_Frasier), and delightful DVDs and CDs. It is the thoughtfulness that I appreciate the most and that is worth more than anything that is given.
The fun of winning chocolate made by one of my favorite chocolatiers was surpassed by how I received my prize. Monsieur Poussin, who is one of the direct descendants of the chocolatiers and the President/CEO, presented my prize to me personally in their corporate office, which is next door to their store on Rue St. Pères in the 6th arrondissement.
Since spring has arrived and Easter is approaching, the storefront is filled with colorful heralds of the season.
A closer look shows the details on all the hand painted chocolates.
You can also buy hand painted eggs inside the store filled with praline for your Easter egg hunt (I would advise making a map to be sure you find all the ones you've hidden).
They are of course known for their chocolates, since they made them for royalty. Since chocolate was taken as medicine, it was prescribed and originally they were pharmacists who mixed in ingredients to fortify the health of the royals. M. Poussin explained that some ingredients in the original confections are still under the domain of pharmacists so when they became chocolatiers, their recipes had to be changed.They sell tea as a natural complement to chocolate since both are considered health fortifiers and the flavors of certain teas with certain chocolates enhance the enjoyment of both, much as wine and food pairings do the same.
The displays are as varied as they are tempting and you can literally spend all day tasting every flavor they make with both your eyes and your palate.
My favorite is the "Palet Argent"a ganache covered with 85% dark chocolate, and M. Poussin kindly offered me a piece in addition to my prize box.
If you can't decide, you can always buy a preselected assortment in any size you wish.
After inhaling all the heady aromas of the shop, I went upstairs to chat with M. Poussin in the corporate office. This is a French chocolate company, so the office is nothing like anything you would find in the U.S., it felt more like a refined residence with treasured pieces from all over the world, and his office looked out over a small courtyard. There was a magnificent teapot from China on the table, and the shelf behind him holds ceramics which were used to serve chocolate when it was served with water, not milk as a beverage.
Several boxes from their other locations worldwide adorned the other shelves, from red for the Asian stores, to ones with large gold logos for their Dubai store. Their chocolate making is done in Provence, so I didn't get to live out a Willy Wonka fantasy, but that's probably good :) In M. Poussin's private office, he had scales which were used to measure out the ingredients, a series of books which described the places to see, eat, and visit in Paris from centuries past
and an original chocolate box which used gold leaf and glass on top of drawings.
Today's presentations are just as lavish, with a gauze bag and gold foil ribbon encircling the box.
Beautiful printing on the box
and delightfully wrapped chocolates. Les Incroyables, or "The Incredibles" are Nougatine pearls of roasted Spanish almond grains that are caramelized, then filled and coated with a delicately bittersweet chocolate. They are said to have been Van Gogh's favorites and I can see why. They ship worldwide, so you can get your own by ordering here.
Merci DeBauve & Gallais et M. Poussin!