The Paris Porte de Versailles chocolate show traditionally presents the know-how of chocolate artisans from around the world. This year, Japan leads the gondola, the chocolate sector presents new arguments more respectful of quality but also of the environment. Gourmet walks, from the bean to the tablet, in a scented jungle …
The chocolate fair in Paris, it’s about the same poster for several years, as if nothing could change the craze around cocoa. And still so many visitors and exhibitors for a show that is held Porte de Versailles for five days (from October 28 to November 1) to satiate mouths, gourmet. To believe that nothing evolves in this classic market, or very traditional? Not sure, we even discover that it has changed this market for “real” chocolate lovers and it shows on the stands, finally for who knows how to look. But what change are we talking about? It is actually about “cheats” chocolatiers. Cheats? A big word but which originated in a misunderstanding several years ago on the term chocolatier.
“Of the thousands of chocolatiers in France, only a dozen make their own chocolate from the bean”
It is Samuel Marouta co-creator the young brand Marou who explains it to us ( the full interview is here ): ” There is a term used in France which is a chocolatier. But of the thousands of chocolatiers who are settled in France, there may be only a dozen who make their own chocolate from the bean. The rest buy it from manufacturers and manufacture, not without talent sometimes, their creations from a chocolate that is not theirs. “We can not help thinking of the biggest French actor absent but necessarily present on many stands: Valrhona.
So to qualify this specificity which is a guarantee of quality and distinguish the chocolate maker who makes his own chocolate from the one who only works, there is today a term, bean to bar, a real mantra on many stands. Explanation by Marou again: ” The idea of the bean to bar is that one makes the chocolate of the bean up to the bar. This seems obvious … “but above all helps to avoid the misunderstanding aroused by the term chocolatier.
And misunderstandings remain in this sector that sometimes strives to extinguish fires regarding the quality of products used. On a popular stand of the show, we regularly hear chanting: ” there is no palm oil in our chocolate! Would there be others?
Bean to bar, a peculiarity, a guarantee of quality
But it is also a better managed and environmentally friendly agriculture that is gaining ground. Little thanks to the formula bean to bar. The living room is seen from this economic and dynamic angle definitely takes a new look. French brands such as Bonnat, Pralus or Chapon were, therefore, beans to the bar, so they made their chocolate, without even knowing this marketing argument. Their chocolate remains of excellence and they strive to communicate better and better on this particularity, pledge of quality. Because around them, marketing is raging, but we want to say in the right direction when it comes to highlighting a sector again respected. The Strasbourg brand Erithaj offers chocolate made from beans grown in Vietnam and processed in France. We even come to brands that promote the choice of a certain type of beans such as Wild Beniano, a variety that would be particularly pure, that the Danish Rasmus Bo Bojesen brand Oialla defends with the greatest palates as the restaurant plebiscite Noma.
Just next to the very chic and sharp Danish, the Gabonese Julie defends, a little alone, a nice brand and three shops in Libreville. The African presence on the show for a country that still accounts for two-thirds of the bean production is almost non-existent in the bar to be tasted … The passage from the bean to the tablet is still difficult on the continent? Does this economic attitude deserve to change? For Marou, it is used a Trinitario type of cocoa, “but it is sometimes complicated because it is rather roasting that makes the difference.”
The work of Japanese artisans is in the perfect mix
This is good, Toshi Yoroizuka’s booth (Japan is strongly represented this year) enjoys having different roasts of the same product: 10 min, 20 min or 40 min (which is most often the case for most chocolates) and it’s confusing. It must be emphasized that the work of Japanese craftsmen is in the perfect mix. Bean to bar necessarily and sublime, aesthetic and simple achievements with flavors like matcha green tea …
and the surprising yuzu transformed by the Japanese brand Vanilla beans which simply called its tablets: Tablet.
Or classics like strawberry and champagne.
Because chocolate and its treatment encourage artists of all kinds to play with total abstraction, traditional or artistic. This is where the salon can turn to disgust because it is difficult to support chocolate sculptures in the form of stiletto heels or another formula 1. What to say parades dresses or even lingerie in chocolate that leaves fundamentally indifferent … We’re getting closer to beans and artisan roasters, a moist atmosphere in the jungle, rather than kitsch dripping melted chocolate.