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  • Writer's pictureTerri Tomoff

French Chocolates - Scrumptious!

Did you know French chocolates are super scrumptious? I almost didn't...


They say European chocolates are delicious. Some of the best chocolates are made in Switzerland, Belgium, and, of course, France. But there are also excellent chocolatiers in the United States! But it is in Paris, where instead of a McDonald’s or Starbucks on every corner of the main streets, there are small, beautifully displayed chocolatiers, and the smell of chocolate wafting out to the streets and into our nostrils for many to ponder, shall we go in the shop?


It's all in the cocoa beans...which give off a strong aroma.


What sets French chocolates apart from their worldwide competitors is that they contain more cocoa butter than American equivalents, use more cocoa solids, and generally have a higher cocoa content. This makes the chocolates more intense with every bite and morsel consumed.


Now a secret…I didn’t buy any at first. Shame on me. My travel companion, Linda, sure did. She bought chocolates for her son and husband but nothing for herself either. However, we bought one piece each while perusing all the beautiful lines of chocolates displayed in the small storefront we carefully selected and as the salesperson wrapped up her order. I thought that one piece was maybe enough?


After our week in Paris, Linda flew home. I still had almost two weeks in the South of France (one week at the writers’ retreat in St. Felix). While at the retreat, Linda messaged me asking if I could buy more chocolates since she realized she wanted some for herself. Hmm, I thought. I responded, “I’ll see what I can do.” There was no chocolatier in my immediate area and nothing I could walk to either. I needed a ride to a local-ish chocolatier but did not want to disturb our already packed schedule. I mentioned my predicament to one of the hostesses, Diane, and she quickly found a solution to my need for a chocolatier. Who needs one, really? Well, they wouldn't have them all over Paris and in the small hamlets and villages if folks did not need it, right?


I found out that there is karma in the South of France! There happened to be an open window of time from our retreat itinerary (less than one hour, to be exact), and Mark, a driver/helper with the retreat and world-famous photographer, also had a short window of time to take me and anyone else who needed French chocolates from Anduze, about 5 km away from the chateau, along with picking up his dry cleaning; hence the “ease” of the trip.


I was thankful that retreat-goer Janis Farmer decided to come with us to check out the goods. At our appointed time, and as soon as we got to the road for our pick-up, the skies opened up something fierce. We got pelted with rain for 30 seconds before we quickly jumped into Mark’s car, now soaked. Ugh!


To avoid missing anything, especially “guests” of his friend/our friend Diane and the Chateau, Mark drove us through a chunk of Cevennes National Park. Despite looking out our waterlogged car windows, we were mesmerized by the mountain beauty and outstanding landscapes now filled with rain clouds. I looked back at Janis, and she smiled back, and I could tell her, and I never minded one bit.


No rain storm or roads filled with water was going to stop the three of us from getting to the only chocolatier that was OPEN and ready for business in the small hamlet of Anduze. Mark parked across the street (there is very little parking in these small villages), and we ran like hell to the door.


Ahh, the cute little mecca of chocolate delighted the three of us beyond measure. The owner and chocolatier extraordinaire of Choco Bio — Chocolets Bean to Bar, Corinne Maeght, was delightful and delighted to help us select her best-selling products - all from responsible producers of cocoa beans across the globe. Her stuff is DELICIOUS!


We were all thrilled to visit her small shop and taste the various chocolates that we were contemplating buying. We all left happy with chocolates to consume soon! I also had a few chocolate bars for Linda - chocolate — the only good reason to leave the chateau on a super-soaker rainy day!


A HUGE shout of thanks to our driver, Mark, who saved the day (trip?) with a chocolate run for fun.


bSoleille!

Terri





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