Legendary chef Alain Ducasse, known for his Michelin-starred restaurants, cooking schools and cookbooks, has embarked on another tasty adventure, this time with chocolate.
Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse, Paris’s newest chocolate shop, officially opened in February in the heart of the trendy Bastille neighbourhood.
Located at the back of a small courtyard at 40, rue de la Roquette, the workshop and boutique is a complete bean-to-bar operation, with all of the chocolate used for making the bonbons, bars and other goodies on display handcrafted from raw cocoa beans right on the premises.
“La Manufacture,” as Ducasse calls his artisanal chocolate factory, is a hub of activity: 340 square metres filled with the exotic aromas of chocolate in all its forms along with the continuous sounds of mixing, grinding and crushing.
The production is impressive: couverture chocolate, single-origin bars, mendiants, filled chocolates, including single-origin ganaches, flavoured ganaches and pralines. Even the marzipan and praliné mixtures are handmade on site.
Alain Ducasse’s love affair with chocolate goes back a long way. In the 1970s he studied the craft alongside Gaston Lenôtre, Michel Chaudun and Maurice Bernachon. He describes chocolate as “a terribly sensual and bewitching creation,” so much so, in fact, that he decided to turn his attention to cooking. And the rest is history.
But a passion for chocolate never dies. With this new chocolate venture, Ducasse is the artistic director. The chocolate workshop is run by Nicolas Berger, his longtime executive pastry chef.
Most of the furnishings and equipment in “La Manufacture” were rummaged in flea markets and antique shops. Indeed, Nicolas Berger travelled extensively to find and refurbish old-fashioned machines offering small-scale artisanal capacities.
The workshop, which began operations well before the public launch, supplies Alain Ducasse restaurants with chocolate bonbons and bars and the chocolate coatings used in chocolate pastries and desserts.
With this latest undertaking Alain Ducasse joins the ranks of a very small number of Paris chocolatiers who make their own chocolate from cocoa beans, among them Michel Cluizel, François Pralus and Chocolat Weiss.
Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse – Manufacture à Paris
40, rue de la Roquette, 75011 Paris
Tel. +33 (0)1 48 05 82 86
Hours: Mon. to Sat. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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Photos: Copyright © Pierre Monneta