Jean-Paul Hevin: Chocolate Heaven

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Chocolate is serious business in France. In fact, the country’s prestigious Meilleurs Ouvriers de France competition, held every four years and honoring only the very best craftsmen in the nation, includes a specific category for chocolatiers. And Paris is arguably the hub of French chocolatiers—and sheer heaven for chocolate lovers. There are many boutiques run by world-class chocolatiers in the City of Light that should not be missed by sweets connoisseurs. And near the top of that list is the mini-chain of shops operated by MOF chocolatier Jean-Paul Hevin. Continue Reading →

UPDATE: A L’Etoile d’Or to Reopen Nov. 3!

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UPDATE: After a gas explosion destroyed her candy shop A l’Etoile d’Or in February 2014, it was reported that shop owner Denise Acabo had thrown in the towel and would not be reopening the boutique that drew visitors from around the world. But multiple reports out just today say that Acabo is stocking her shelves for a Nov. 3 reopening! This is a most welcome development for scores of candy fans throughout Paris–and indeed the entire world–who regularly visited Acabo’s renowned shop. If you’ve never been, definitely make a special trip to A l’Etoile d’Or at 30 Rue Fontaine in the 9th Arrondissement (Metro: Blanche/Pigalle). Continue Reading →

Who is Chocolatier Extraordinaire Josephine Vannier?

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Paris is heaven for chocolate lovers, and there are many boutiques run by world-class chocolatiers in the City of Light that should not be missed by sweets connoisseurs—Christian Constant, Michel Cluziel, Pierre Herme, Jean-Paul Hevin and Patrick Roger, to name just a few. But one of my favorites is a Marais shop that is a bit of an enigma—Josephine Vanier on the Rue du Pas de la Mule just steps from the elegant Place des Vosges. It’s not the delicious confections or the gorgeous edible sculptures that are puzzling; it’s exactly who is the never-seen namesake of this fantastic chocolaterie? Continue Reading →

A Visit to the Delightful Rue Montorgueil Market Street

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An extremely popular 2nd Arrondissement destination for both tourists and locals is the Rue Montorgueil market street, a five-block long lane between Rue Etienne Marcel and Rue Reaumur. Home to more than two dozen specialty food shops, cafes and bistros, including a patisserie founded nearly 280 years ago by the head pastry chef to king Louis XV, Rue Montorgueil is a real treat even if you’re just window shopping (called faire du leche-vitrines in French, which oddly translates to “window licking). Continue Reading →

A l’Etoile d’Or — The Best Candy Shop in Paris

L'Etoile d'Or

Paris is home to dozens and dozens of top-quality candy shops (boutiques de bonbons). But there is nothing in Paris—actually the entire world—like A l’Etoile d’Or (The Gold Star), a tiny shop in Paris’s Pigalle district that is jammed with the best artisan candies made in France.

The incomparable boutique is helmed by Denise Acabo, a vivacious woman forever dressed as a Parisian schoolgirl in necktie, plaid skirt and pig tails, who is widely considered one of the most knowledgeable candy sellers in Europe. Continue Reading →