Yesterday, Alain Ducasse made his foray into the chocolate market with the opening of Le Chocolat, a bean-to-bar chocolate boutique and factory. Yes, according to L'Express, the newly opened space sports both a boutique and a small chocolate factory and will be led by chocolatier Nicolas Berger. It's located in a fairly industrial type building near the Bastille that was once home to a garage, and the public can observe the chocolate-making through a glass partition from the shop area.
Paris-based writer and pastry chef David Lebovitz gets a look inside Le Chocolate and notes that "It's an enormous undertaking in a tight city with certain restrictions on space and usage, and the team needed to find a place big enough for all the heavy equipment, like roasters and winnowers (the machine that blows the papery skins off the roasted beans), as well as somewhere that had adequate ventilation for the roasters." For another look inside the factory, check out Le Point's five-minute video tour of the place with Ducasse and Berger (all in French, sorry).
Lebovitz also tastes samples of the chocolate made from beans sourced from Peru, Ecuador, Java and beyond. There's a coffee-flavored chocolate made with Ethiopian coffee, peanut pralines and baking chocolate sold by the kilo. And it doesn't stop there. Lebowitz writes, "They plan to produce a variety of chocolates and bonbons seasoned with spicy piment d'Espelette (Basque dried red pepper), pine nuts, prunes marinated in Armagnac, passion fruit-coconut, and lime."
· Alain Ducasse ouvre sa manufacture de chocolat à Paris le 20 février [L'Express]
· La Manufacture de chocolat Alain Ducasse [David Lebovitz]
· All Alain Ducasse Coverage on Eater [-E-]