The Love Story of the French and the Chocolate
If you thought France was all about cheese and wine and strange types of meat... You have been mistaken! Why? Aga Marchewka explains!
So here you are… If you have thought (so wrongly as I did) that France is all about cheese & wine, and maybe all those strange type of meat like horse, frogs’ legs & snails and huge lambs ‘leg just to mention really a few of their preferences, you have been a bit mistaken (as was I)…But why?
Well, France has also, not a little, but a pretty big 'Chocolate Obsession', which reaches it peaks around the Easter season…I will call it not only obsession, but also a huge appreciation and huge amour for the chocolate taste, shape and smell! I hadn't realised this until Easter, when I tried a chocolate hen with its eggs - they were decision, and I am lucky enough for having some more chocolate eggs and rabbit shaped chocolate left. Plus, I've access to the best worldwide chocolatiers here in France.
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So what does chocolate mean for the French?
Apparently, it is Paris that holds the title of the Capital of Chocolate! There are more than 300 chocolate shops in the Paris phone directory than in any other city in the world.
The best and most famous French 'designer' artisan-chocolatiers in France are Jean-Paul Hévin, Christian Constant and Pierre Marcolini, and the chains such as l’Atelier du Chocolat, Léonidas, and Jeff de Bruges. They have different origins, mainly Belgium, but they are so popular here and adapted to the French taste, which can be particular! On top of the international brands, there are many smaller independent chocolatiers and specific for the region or town brands like my favourite Voisin in Lyon!
The French did go further with the chocolate, they invented the art of making chocolate. The traditional French dark chocolate is unique because of the fact that it is the least sweetened chocolate in the world. It has also a typical cocoa content ranging from 62% to 86%, or more! It is also known that the French use less butter, cream and sugar in their chocolates so here comes the good news for those on diet - French chocolate is less fattening. Additionally, high-quality dark chocolate (with more than 70% cocoa content) protects the cardiovascular system, lowers bad cholesterol and aids digestion, to name but a few of its benefits. So feel free to enjoy the French chocolate as much as you wish... There are many benefits...
The origins of chocolate here in France dates back to 1615, when France’s King Louis XIII married Anne of Austria, daughter of the Spanish king. She was the one who brought hot chocolate to the French court. So it’s now almost 400 years when chocolate is in France. And there are many famous chocolate specialists here in France. My favourites include Leonidas, La Maison du Chocolat, Jeff de Burges and Marcolini Voisin to name a few!
I could write about the French Love for Chocolate forever, because there is really so much to include, but let me summarize what kind of relationship French people have with Chocolate in just few a main points!
Firstly, French people will usually start a day with the croissants or pain au chocolate indeed!
Sweet breakfasts are popular and main ones here in France. I haven’t seen any French eating scrambled eggs and sausages for breakfast as yet. And the access to all those yummy pastries is too easy and it is tempting you each morning indeed. They sell them in any shop, bakery, at the corner, in the metro, in the vending machine…I can confirm they taste different to the ones other countries. So if you are abroad and if they tell you those are French croissants and pain au chocolates they're probably lieing to you.
And how did the French got their golden brown, and with a delicious buttery-tasting croissants? Well, they were actually invented in the 17th-Century in Vienna, Austria. And it was Queen Marie-Antoinett, originally from Vienna, who introduced the Austrian pastry to the French Court during the 18th Century. It was a huge success. The original recipe, using bread dough, changed over the years. It was Parisian bakers in the 20th Century who created the current type of croissant. So thank you very much Queen Marie-Antoinette.
And if you are now tempted to have one or two and you are not in France how about trying out yor own! And finally about pain au chocolate - chocolatine a viennoiserie sweet roll consisting of acuboid-shaped piece of yeast-leavened laminated dough, similar in texture to a puff pastry, with some pieces of dark chocolate in the centre. So the same idea as croissants but different shape and chocolate inside! It is also a common breakfast choice for many French.
Secondly, French people do LOVE Nutella.
So you get breakfasts toasts with nutella, cookies with nutella, cakes with nutella and obviously crepes with nutella. You can make them and buy them on the go. They are being sold outdoors and easy accessible for you anytime you feel like something sweet! I love the idea when you walk through the Vieux Lyon for example and you get ca ouple of nice guys making and selling them for you.
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Thirdly, French chocolate desserts...
As you can imagine they love not that much baking but more eating all those amazingly looking cakes, desserts, assorted desserts available in shops and pâtisseries. My favourite one is the Joecteur here in Lyon. Visit if you have a chance as this is an amazing Lyonnais experience indeed. The most famous French chocolate desserts are chocolate mousses, crepes with chocolate, eclairs,and chocolate tarts , and we cannot forget about macarons which come in a chocolate flavour also.
Lastly...the French Easter….
As at Christmas time, chocolate is an essential component as you get those boxes of chocolates called papilles and assorted chocolates pralines, as the shops are filled with chocolate and it's up to you to make the difficult choice…
Celebrating Easter in France is exceptional as it comes to chocolate eating! For this festive time, many pâtisseries-chocolateries are performing the real art creating chocolate edible pieces in different shapes with the traditional ones: Easter bunnies, Easter Bells, Easter Hens and little Easter Fish called “Fritures de Pâques’ (those are small fish-shaped chocolates).
So you can see the French and Chocolate is a love story, a tasty one which I am supporting! And you should as well, so remember when being in France, don’t miss out on tasting something French with chocolate.. There's so much choice and it's everywhere! You can find chocolate in the local chocolatiers, in the hypermarchés, in the crepes but also in the baguettes… Strange isn’t it but so tasteful. Bon appetite!
My name is Aga and I am addicted to shopping! So I have become ShopaholicFromHome who loves to shop from home. But this is not all. I have thousands of ideas per minute, per hour, per day…recently I have moved to Lyon in France
! That’s why my main goal now is to explore France
, experience French way of living, learn the language and eat a lot of cheese, baguettes, some snails and French frogs, drink wine and wear berets (apparently so French) but also I would love to introduce a bit of Polish culture and mentality into French lives.
If you have any questions, comments, do not hesitate to contact me. I would love to hear from you! Visit my blog
for more information and check out on what I have been up to on my J'adore Lyon by Shopaholicfromhome FB Page!