One of the many things I love about Paris is the fact that you can find traces of the old world in modern times. To this very day, the Île-de Paris maintains cultural integrity by offering clients an extensive selection of singularly-themed specialty food shops. Whatever your guilty pleasure – cheese, chocolate, bread, pastry, pâté or wine – brace yourself when entering stores that purely dedicate their products and services to artisan standard merchandise. Truly a gourmand’s paradise!
A chocolate connoisseur, of sorts – knowledgeable in tasting – this indulgence never disappoints. As such, the sight of any premise devoting every square inch to display high-grade cocoa-inspired handmade creations is thrilling. Suffice it to say, I knew I was in for a treat upon sighting the term ‘chocolat’ – translation not required. Scene it: bins of chocolate, ranging in shape, textures and ingredients, ribbons and fancy packaging – ‘ooh, la, la,’ is right– I couldn’t wait! Having watched Juliette Binoche in Chocolat, of course, I understood perfectly the purpose of incorporating a line of stringed dehydrated capsicums in a chocolate boutique. In the presence of red hot chili peppers – ‘pas’ the band – good chocolatiers know how to spice things up, by delivering variety. Anything but an odd pairing, sweet heat is bound to tantalize anyone’s taste buds.
Leaving “trick or treating” days behind, I have, too, left any desire for candy bars. Complex flavour compounds cited in dark chocolate – where cocoa surpasses sugar – is much preferred, and where better to expect refined chocolate in all its splendour than at ‘l’Atelier du Chocolat.’ Why come here, for chocolate? In French, ‘atelier’ signifies a workshop where designer quality products are made by field experts. Being witness to shelves of cocoa products, superior in quality and unique in flavour combinations, it was only a matter of time before receiving my own pièce de résistance – a pistachio encrusted chocolate cluster.
“Pourquoi pas,” I’d say, when it comes to sampling masterly produced chocolate. After all, high-end ‘chocolat’ is bon appétit-pleasing! Parisian ateliers abound, there’s more to discover. Catering to various palettes, I spotted workshops dedicating time, precision and skill in generating all kinds of edible goods. Among the terrine shops, most-loved boulangeries (bread stores), and farmer’s fresh cheese vendors, I had to convenient a ‘pâtisserie’ (pastry shop).
Handcrafted and soft on the eyes, the glistening sheen on the sighted luxurious cakelettes and tarts was enough to lure me in one particular bakery. I can only imagine the arduous process involved in the manufacturing and assembly of these pastries. If anything, the overall detail evident in the final presentation is revealing of the level of talent, and attention put forth in making these desserts. To me, food succeeds when it’s a complete package; it looks attractive, smells appealing, and tastes just as enticing. Always exceeding expectations, ‘ateliers’ are leading artisan shops that consistently exhibit the finest chef d’oeuvres – food art!
Copyright © DISHFUL, 2013.