In case I wasn't high enough on chocolate and caramel from visiting l'Etoile D'Or, I got wind of a brand new chocolate & pastry shop/cafe in the Marais and had to visit the same day.
I walked to the northernmost tip of rue de Turenne to the last store on the street and came upon a gleaming white stucco building with a series of elaborate Christmas decorations festooned across the top and windows that had bold white block letters spelling out nougat, chocolat, caramel, and eclair. I already knew I was in trouble.
If there was ever an official Temple of chocolate and pastry, Jacques Genin would be it. It truly is one of the most beautiful, pristine spaces devoted to the art of chocolate and pastry I have ever been in, and believe me I've seen them all. Even before I tasted anything I was knocked out by the stunning interior of blond hardwood floors, handsome elephant gray leather armchairs, milk glass vases filled with impeccable orchid arrangements, a white stone archway dating back from the 9th century, rose stems embedded in the walls and most striking of all, the spectacular winding steel staircase.
Once I absorbed the gorgeous interior, I got down to the business of the chocolate and pastries. The first case had a stainless steel tray with flawless pastries including a pecan tart, Paris Brest with chocolate cream, and seven layer chocolate cake. Next up were the chocolates which were small squares prettily embossed with delicate patterns and colors of orange, mint green,mango, pink, and raspberry. The affable man behind the counter asked if I wanted to sample a chocolate and I emphatically said OUI! He described the exotic flavor combinations in detail which included Tiarei, a ganache with Tahitian vanilla, Tonka Teck, another ganache with tonka beans, Bergame, with bergamot, Passionement, with passion fruit, and Thé Toi, with Wu long tea. I chose the Hesperides, milk chocolate with grapefruit. It was light and refreshing but still solid chocolate. I bought yet another chocolate stocking stuffer for Vincent and purchased an assortment that came in a smart brushed steel square tin, which I knew he would love since he's a packaging nut.
At one point I was introduced to Jacques Genin, the chef and the architect Guilluame Leclerc and I congratulated them on their beautiful shop, wishing them much success.Guillame asked me if I wanted to see the kitchen upstairs.I learned Jacques was one of the best chocolatiers in Paris but never had a storefront before. I was thrilled beyond belief and we climbed the stairway to heaven to see where they made the glorious goodies. Just as we entered one room a man was stirring hazelnuts into a bowl of caramel and I then watched him pour the hot,molten liquid it into a tray to cool. I can't even describe the smell but let's say it was enough to make me almost faint. Another room which was temperature controlled was the ganache room. I think every house should now have one. I was offered a sample from every room we visited, never wanting this dream to end.
Seeming to have fulfilled a chocoholics dream day I went home with a big smile on my face and my sweet tooth never happier.
133 rue de Turenne, 3 arr.
Metro: Files Calvaire
Tel. 01 45 77 29 01
Open daily 11AM-7PM except Monday
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I am pleased as punch to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Tours, which are 3-hour walking tours I will personally be leading. The Eye Prefer Paris Tour includes many of the places I have written about such as small museums & galleries, restaurants, cafes & food markets, secret addresses, fashion & home boutiques, parks, and much more.
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