Behind the Scenes Research

So what goes into the Chocolate books? Many, many hours of excruciating research and the graciousness, generosity, and patience of some of the top chocolatiers and chef pâtissiers in Paris. Check out some images from behind the scenes. It’s torture, people, I’m telling you, to have to do this kind of research. But I do it for you!

Michel Chaudun kindly allows me to stir the ganache just a little!

MICHEL CHAUDUN

My very first research–with Michel Chaudun, a top chocolatier in Paris, 149 rue Université, 7th arrondissement. A tiny shop and a tiny laboratoire serve up the most amazing chocolates and chocolate sculptures, all done the old-fashioned way. Check out some of the images I collected while getting in his and his assistant’s way on this Pinterest board. I also did a blog post some time back about the visit here.

Jacques Genin chocolates. The beautiful ending to exquisite research. You can see why I like this photo.

JACQUES GENIN

Named by many the best chocolatier in Paris (a status, of course, hotly debated by the other top chocolatiers in Paris and their passionate followers), Jacques Genin’s beautiful laboratoire is set above his stunning salon near République. While I was officially researching The Chocolate Thief while there, the setting so marked me that it eventually pushed me to write The Chocolate Touch, because I could not stop seeing Dominique Richard and Jaime Corey in that setting. Check out some of the inspiration on this Pinterest board.

Laurent Jeannin with some of his pastry team at Le Bristol–and me!

LAURENT JEANNIN

Head chef pâtissier at L’Épicure, the Michelin 3-star restaurant at the 5-star palace hotel, Le Bristol, in Paris, and Pastry Chef of the Year 2011, Laurent Jeannin welcomed me with incredible enthusiasm and patience. That research eventually grew into not one book as intended but three (The Chocolate Rose, The Chocolate Heart, and The Chocolate Temptation).  Check out some glimpses of his work and his kitchens on this Pinterest board.

Escazu Melangeur, from Spain, early twentieth-century. Where the roasted beans are ground into chocolate, that will then be tempered.

ESCAZU

Raleigh-based Escazu is one of the oldest microbatch bean-to-bar chocolate producers in the US (which doesn’t make it very old, 2008-2009 for full-scale bean-to-bar production). Hallot Parson kindly allowed me behind-the-scenes and patiently explained the workings in detail. And chocolatier Danielle Centeno shared some of her beautiful molded chocolates with me. For a glimpse, check out this Pinterest board.

Enjoy your explorations!