Le Salon Du Chocolat

Le Salon Du Chocolat

A Chocolate Trade Show - has anybody ever heard of a better concept? The Paris one takes place every year in late October, when the weather gets a little chilly and Christmas is getting near and people need to warm their hearts and stock up on chocolate goodness. Passionate as we are about our chocolate, Marie-Laure and I just had to attend, and we decided to go to the late opening on Friday.

The show is held at the Carrousel du Louvre, a vast shopping and convention center built under the Louvre. It is set up in five very large rooms, and was pretty packed when we got there, but as the evening wore on (we stayed there from 7 to 10 pm!) it got better. Next year we’ll have to remember to get there a little later to avoid the crowd.

Most of the space is devoted to the stands of various chocolatiers who sell their products. There is also a display of dresses and shoes made of chocolate (models were walking around wearing the dresses – they did not look very comfortable to be frank), an exhibition about the history of chocolate, a chocolate and dessert bookstore (ahem – I already own half the books they sold), a collection of antique chocolatières (a chocolatière is like a teapot, but for hot chocolate), as well as a job center were candidates and employers could meet (let me tell you, if you are a trained pâtissier, there’s plenty of work out there for you!).

We really had a grand time, walking around and sampling goodies to our heart’s content : teeny bites of chocolate and pralines, chocolate-dipped fruit skewers, a yummy drink made with hot chocolate and Cointreau (an orange liqueur), truffles, chocolate meringue, chocolate brioche, chocolate gâteau basque

Worth noting were : a Japanese chocolate maker, who unfortunately did not offer samples, but sold the most intricately decorated pralines ever ; David Van Laer (chef at the excellent – and beautifully named – restaurant Le Maxence) who sold his terrine de lapin au chocolat (chocolate rabbit terrine) and chocolate foie gras ; the IESA, an arts education institute, who advertised their chocolate tasting courses (I may look into that) ; and a stand which sold chocolate beer.

And of course, we had to buy stuff! Here’s my loot : velvety Belgian truffles (pictured above) in different flavors (plain, coffee, walnut, speculoos [those succulent Belgian cinnamon cookies], the intriguing “oil” and praliné), a bar of the very dark (78%) Fortissima chocolate by Jean-Paul Hévin, a box of six canelés – plain and chocolate – by Baillardran (based in Bordeaux, they make the best), an assortment of ten types of chocolate from around the world (Chuao, Indonesia, Sao Tome, Trinidad, Venezuela, Java, Ghana, Madagascar, Colombia and Equador), beautifully packaged in colorful paper, and a bar of Sao Tome “Brut” (crude) chocolate, a chocolate that’s crushed for only one hour (instead of the ordinary 72), so that a lot of cocoa bean fragments still remain. Marie-Laure bought some of the same things, as well as a slice of chocolate pain d’épice (honey spice cake) and a jar of confit d’oignon au chocolat (chocolate onion jam) to serve with game and terrines (the same stand also sold an interesting chocolate fig jam).

Now, if only we could do this every Friday night…

[More information can be found on Chocoland's website.]

  • http://www.murrayhill5.net/blog/inmykitchenblog/ Deb

    Sounds like the perfect Friday night to me! I wonder though, how did those women wear the chocolate dresses and shoes and the chocolate did not melt? I can’t figure it out. Wonderful writing Clo- I felt like I was with you!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Deb – But models do not sweat, remember? :) The dresses are actually plastic underneath the chocolate! And the shoes were only on display, the models were not wearing them…

  • CN

    Where do you buy the feuille guitare plastic sheeting? What is it commonly called when purchasing candy making supplies or chef supplies? I would like to use the appropriate sheeting when making my chocolate baskets or pouring chocolate for decorations.
    Thanks

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    CN – You don’t mention which country you live in : in France it is commonly called feuille guitare, but I am not sure about other countries. I am sure the cooking supplies store attendant will know what you mean if you explain though. Do report back if you find out!

  • Debby

    We’ll be in Paris this year at the time of the show. Is it open to the public? Cost? Sounds wonderful, but even more fattening than the rest of Paris (is that possible?)

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Debby – Yes, it is a public event, and it must cost around 7 euros or so to get in…

  • http://catsudon.org calypso

    my kind of trade show!!!

  • alan

    Clotilde – I read your post for the Florentins and saw that you had used a “feuille guitare” for setting the chocolate. When I went in search of where to buy this “feuille guitare”, I stumbled upon this post and CN’s comment resounds with my question.

    Is the French feuille guitare the same thing as acetate sheets?

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Alan – These sheets look like they’re the same as mine. Happy chocolate making!

  • alan

    Clotilde – Thanks for your help, I just have a couple more questions.. Is it necessary (or just better) to have tissue paper between each of the feuille guitare sheets? And will I be able to reuse the sheets or do they tend to be one-time use only?

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Alan – If those sheets are the same as mine, tissue paper is unnecessary. Personally, I just bought one sheet, which I’ve used three times so far, cleaning it like I clean my silicon baking mat. It doesn’t come out as new, but it’s good enough for a non-professional use. I will probably use the same one maybe five or six times before I’ll want to get a fresh one. Hope that helps! What is it you’d like to make?

  • alan

    Clotilde – It has been a while since I started searching for these plastic sheets that I’d forgotten what I initially wanted to use them for. I think I just wanted to experiment with them… since your writing and pictures really piqued my interest, I had wanted to try out the mendiants and florentins. Would this be good for making chocolate-dipped biscotti as well? And I think eventually, I’d like to be able to use chocolate for decorations, like chocolate cigarettes or chocolate curls.

    Also, is this what is used to make a very smooth band of icing around a cake? I see this in the bakery and have been curious how it’s done.

  • Rae

    I’m intrigued by the chocolate onion and the chocolate fig jams…do you remember the name of the company that made them so I can try to find & order some?

  • Julie Ann

    I am looking for copper canele molds and a great recipe for making caneles. Also, is it necessary to use copper, and is it necessary to coat the molds with beeswax?

  • http://www.schiavon.co.uk Paolo

    If you need molds I have 50 for sale
    They are the real copper ones. I bought them online from France
    They cost 7 Euro each here

    http://www.cuisine-french.com/cgi/mdc/l/en/boutique/produits/mfr-cannele_cuivre_35.html

    I’m selling mines for 5 Euro each
    Shipping or Pickup from London
    paolo@schiavon.co.uk
    Thanks

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