Michel Chaudun, and my favorite autograph
As I am signing ARCS for THE CHOCOLATE THIEF and sending them out, I keep thinking about one of the men who helped me learn enough to write these books, and also gave me one of my favorite autographs ever.
Michel Chaudun, considered by quite a few to be one of the best chocolatiers in the world, not only let me invade his workshop, or laboratoire as most Parisian chocolatiers prefer to call it, but after endless patience with me and my questions, gave me the best present possible: a box of his indescribably delicious pavés, pure melt-in-your-mouth chocolate ganache, lightly dusted with cocoa.
He was the very first chocolatier to open the door of his laboratoire to me–I don’t really believe in starting at the bottom!–and the first to overwhelm me with the exceptional generosity of some of these great French chocolatiers-pâtissiers.
He also provided me with my research moment most frequently quoted in interviews, when I got to see his assistant Sébastien (not to be confused with my own Sébastien) melt enrobing chocolate off a grill with a hair dryer and filter it through a pair of pantyhouse!
Here you can catch a glimpse of Michel Chaudun’s enrobing machine, which dates from the 50s. Newer machines? Forget about it! “They just don’t make them like that anymore. I had to look all over for this one.”
And here is one of my favorite photos, myself starstruck with the chocolatier himself, getting a chance to stir a great cauldron of chocolate melting over a bain-marie.
Alas, Michel Chaudun’s chocolate cannot be ordered online, but when in Paris, he’s not too far from the Eiffel Tower. (Or as I would say, the Eiffel Tower is not too far from him, so you can always take in a monument or two while enjoying your chocolate.)
149, rue de l’Université
01 47 53 74 40