French Chocolate

The title of “Best in the World” is highly contested throughout the chocolate world. Does it belong to the Swiss, the Belgians, the Germans or the French? The only way to judge accurately is to indulge in some serious taste testing….all in the name of science, of course.

French Chocolate - The Best in the World?
French Chocolate - The Best in the World?

France is an excellent place to start your research. There are hundreds of chocolatiers scattered throughout the country, which means you can combine wine tours and other gastronomic delights along with your chocolate tasting. A gastronomic holiday in France can offer enough variety to make even the most knowledgeable foodie feel like they’ve found a little piece of heaven.

Godiva was, for a very long time, the undisputed queen of the French chocolate world. Lately however, tastes have changes and now chocolate handcrafted by Valrhona is generally acknowledged to be the finest.

The chocolate world is very much like the wine world in both the vocabulary used and the seriousness with which aficionados treat their subject. Valrhona has been accused of being an establishment where the quality of the chocolate is matched only by snootiness of its executives. The company is extremely particular about to whom it supplies its chocolate and will only hand over the goods to those it deems worthy. Up until recently, only French chefs made the grade. This attitude frustrates the world’s chocolate elite immensely, mostly because Valrhona can afford to be snobby as they like; their chocolate is without equal.

The École de Chocolat division of Valrhona is an institution dedicated to les hautes arts du chocolat. They offer one-week Maitre Chocolatier Tours that will enable you to master the art of advanced chocolate production. You will be able to work with professional equipment under the expert guidance of master chocolate chefs.

After completing the course you’ll get a snazzy certificate and some recipes you can impress your friends with when you return home. There are also courses in basic chocolate production available if you are still a novice.

If the Valrhona tour isn’t quite your speed, you can spend plenty of time investigating the smaller chocolatiers in Paris on your own. Chocolatiers are true pre-industrial craftsmen and take great pains to select only the best cocao beans. They are very carefully processed and then transformed into chocolate with exquisitely complex flavour and aromas.