A lot has happened in the last three weeks. After traveling to Rome, Naples, and Paris with the primary goal of eating everything in sight, you could say that I have a lot to write about. So much, in fact, that it’s rather overwhelming. So in order to simplify my life, instead of delving into an analysis of multi-cultural food movements, I’m just going to write about my favorite chocolates in the whole wide world, found at le chocolatier Jean Charles Rochoux.
If you ever get the chance to visit Paris, this small, elegant chocolatier, situated just off of la Rue de Seine in the 6eme is a must-try. And while there are a lot of “musts” in Paris, I take this one very seriously – if I find out that you have traveled to Paris without stopping by for this man’s delectable chocolates, I will hunt you down, and there will be consequences. Now then, with that aside…
As soon as you walk in the door, you know you’re inside a world class chocolate shop: every pane of glass is pristine, almost every wall is covered by displays of opulent chocolate statues and figurines, created by the use of either a hand-crafted mold or by Monsieur Rochoux’s secret technique, and a sophisticated chocolate brown design scheme mirrors the sophistication of the chocolates themselves. The silver-tinged, faux-snakeskin packaging is not only unique, it’s also incredibly fashionable – possibly the best example of chic packaging that Paris could offer. It’s so fashionable in fact, that my mom turned one of their chocolate boxes into a stylish purse that I wear while fine-dining.
While the look and feel adds a certain authority to what you’re purchasing, it’s clearly the chocolates are at the heart of this petite shoppe. Behind the panes of glass perfectly straight lines of humbly decorated, lusciously rich chocolates stand guard. Although this may be the classic image of every Parisian chocolatier, at Jean Charles Rochoux the selections aren’t solely classic – they’re also seasonal.
I had never heard of a chocolate shop stocking half of its shelves with seasonal selections, and honestly wasn’t completely aware of it even after a few minutes of browsing. Luckily, Mr. Rochoux himself, the warm, inviting man you’ll often see behind the counter, explained that a large portion of his inventory changes along with the season. As such, I was lucky to get a taste of one of the finest chocolates I’ve ever put in my mouth: dark chocolate with basil. Decadently rich, as smooth as silk, with a certain meltability only found at the most elite chocolatiers, but at the same time refreshing and bright. A total surprise to the mouth!
The specialty of the house is also the smallest item on the shelves: the fresh cream, dark bittersweet chocolate truffles. The slight bitterness offsets the luxurious nature of the freshly made truffle, and while a single truffle may only be a centimeter cubed, you won’t need much to know the taste of decadence.
Frankly, I can’t really explain what makes these particular chocolates so wonderful, so I asked Monsieur Rochoux if there was a secret behind their creation. With a huge smile, he simply replied, “C’est l’amour.” This man knew from five years old that he would grow up to work with chocolate, and now with 20 years of experience under his belt, eight running his own shop, it’s the love and care he puts into every single square that’s the secret behind these world-class chocolates.
Jean Charles Rochoux
16 Rue d’Assas, 75006 Paris, France
+33 1 42 84 29 45