In a few decades, particularly with the advent of famous Chocolate Fair (Salon du Chocolat), celebrating its 22th edition this year, chocolate has become a must- French value. As a gluttony emblem, refinement or luxury, chocolate took its marks, and its freedoms. There are more and more chocolate makers that diversity and quality continue to impress us. In France, chocolate bars and morsels are the most dynamic categories in Europe thanks to the great creativity of the chocolate makers and gourmet consumers.
The Chocolate Way in France
The chocolate historical regions in France are in the south, as chocolate came in France through the Spanish border: Languedoc-Roussillon hosts the great chocolate and bakery school Olivier Bajard, Midi-Pyrénées with the very famous Yves Thuriès, Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur (PACA) and Aquitaine (which is not yet included in the Chocolate Way). The region around Paris counts a lot of famous chocolate makers too. We can also name the region Rhône Alpes (and its famous Valrhona factory), and of course the Alsace which has already the Chocolate and Sweetnesses Road from Alsace.
France counts many own chocolate specialties such as: mendiant, kougelhopf from Alsace, Truffe from Chambéry, Orangettes, Marc de Gewurz Truffes, Palet Or. France is recognized for it’s excellent chocolate produced by some of the best workers and traditional chocolate maker (Jean Paul Hévin, Cluizel, Patrick Roger).
There are a number of associations in France for chocolate makers and chocolate lovers : Académie française du Chocolat et de la Confiserie, Confédération des Chocolatiers Confiseurs de France, Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat.
France hosts several events and fairs about chocolate: small festival in a few regions but also fairs at the world’s scale (in Paris). Some medium itinerant fairs are also existing such as the Salon du Chocolat et des Gourmandises (sweetness) and Salon du Chocolat des Alpes (4 towns). The world Salon du Chocolat in Paris was the first in France and one of the first in the world. It inspired other countries and exported in the entire world. It’s now the largest chocolate fair in France and has been running for 20 years.
France counts also around 7/8 museums and permanent exhibitions about chocolate in the country. A project of information and documentation center is also currently creating in Alsace. The French chocolate craftsmen share their knowledge and know-how through workshops dedicated to learning of chocolate tradition and technics.