Friday, October 25, 2013

Caramels at Le Bonbon au Palais

On Wednesday I needed a pick me up.

Is there a better place than Le Bonbon au Palais when your spirits need raising? 19, rue Monge 75005
Plus it turns out Le Bonbon is a one-stop-shop for a vast variety of caramels. How did I miss this? Go spoil yourself.

I caught owner Georges Marques in the midst of giving a lecon on caramel lollipops. I did not know that the very best sucettes/lollies, Les Niniches come from the Quiberon in Brittany. How did I miss this?
Georges is a big fan of Les Caramels d'Isigny.
"Normandy has the best butter you know", he told me.
Then of course there are the caramels from Brittany where the fabulous sel de Guerande is harvested. Georges reminded me that Henri Le Roux invented this heavenly sauce, caramel au beurre sale, in 1977. Did you know that 'soft' caramels are the hot trend these days? I suppose it is nice to keep all your teeth in your mouth. How thoughtful of the confiseries. Georges prefers the traditional harder/dur caramels but offers both in his shop.
The newest kid on the block at Le Bonbon au Palais - caramel au beurre salé guimauves/marshmallows. Woo woo
I'm a fan of these because you can buy just one and get 4 bites out of it. They're an 1 1/2" square but they do not come from Caramel land in the North West (Brittany or Normandy) sadly.
I was eager to try out this creme de Caramel a la Fleur de sel from Breizh /Brittany (a hotbed of crepes and caramel). I must go there soon!
Back in the reseach lab this tasty sauce passed the 'Standing Spoon' test with flying colors. Not a good thing it turns out. I prefer my sauce liquidy like Le Roux' (sans Almonds) or Frederic Cassel's.
Here's something I haven't seen before - nougat CBS!?
La piece de resistance in Georges eyes is this well kept secret caramel of Nevers, Le Negus.
Surprisingly, it's a hard candy. But let it rest in your mouth. Once the outer shell dissolves, inside awaits a chunk of very soft out-of-this-world caramel. TDF (to die for).
The tin is traditional old French candy style and worth hanging on to (designed in 1904). You'll only find this candy at 2-3 places in Paris by the way. I dated a guy from Nevers for 2 1/2 years in NYC and he never once mentioned this candy from his home town. I'm making up for lost time hanging out at Le Bonbon surely...
Do visit French candy websites online. Every single one of them has a 'historie' tab giving you loads of fun info on how they started, where and when like Maison Armorine.
Les Caramels d'Isigny has this fab map of all the caramels and flavors in France. An essential reference for caramel lovers don't you think? They say Arabs invented caramel in the year 1000. Who knew?
If caramels are not your thing I'm sure Georges will find something else for you to taste like these dents de l'ours/ or bears teeth - pistachio and melon marzipan with a chocolate almond on top.

Next week the Salon du Chocolat opens on Wednesday at Porte de Versailles. Georges is head of the new Forum de la Confiserie at the show - a separate floor on the rez-de chausée. Please stop by and say Bonjour if you go (stand E1).
I shall be coloring my hair caramel au beurre sale especially for the show. Why not? If you can't make it to the Salon please stop by Le Bonbon. Say you're from PB and you'll get extra tastes I bet ;))

27 comments:

  1. Thanks for the history lesson on caramels, much more interesting than my history lessons at school, Soft or fudgy type caramels come very close to my all time fav. yes chocolate :)

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    1. I heard of an art teacher who gave bonbons to good students...what a good idea!

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  2. Merci beaucoup for the background history of caramel bonbons, childhood delight, so many fond memories!
    I remember, as a little girl, finding a much prized caramel bonbon, unwrapped, between the sofa cushions. I put it in a glass of water, to get rid of all the fuzzy fibers sticking to it. Clever me, I don't have to tell you how this cleaning operation ended, do I? ;-)

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    1. You do!
      I dont think i would have bothered to wash it off frankly...

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  3. What a magnificent selection of caramels. I would love to try them all!

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  4. What a nice face that man has:-)
    Love your painting..
    Bon weekend..

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  5. Oh I remember you talking about this place - I have to go there. Then again scared it will turn into a new obsession ;-) Looks fabulous.

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    1. You don't live close enough for it to become an obsession, Just GO

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    2. I did! Literally stumbled into the place since had a meeting around the corner and had no idea! What an amazing place, Carol. And I got 2 lollies for being your friend, lol. I didn't get the caramels but tons of other delicacies that are still waiting for me in that goody bag. What a paradise.

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  6. Breizh is all of Brittany, from the Breton language. I know because I have one of those place ovals for my car that says "Breizh." All of the caramels look delicious---are you really coloring your hair? What a great idea! You must post a photo!

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    1. Ooops
      You are so right. bretagne confuses me like crazy

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  7. Love the Standing Spoon test.
    I really LOVE caramel, especially salted caramel anything (or with sesame seeds)!

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  8. Lynne1:57 PM

    I would be in heaven..and on such a sugar high it would take a week to come down..
    Lynne

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  9. God, Carol, you're killing me. I can't eat those anymore so eat lots for me--I am a huge caramel lover: soft or hard is fine with me. Sounds fun--I never knew about the Arabs or Brittany either. Always learn something new at PB.

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  10. They all sound delicious but I would especially love to try that hard candy caramel because it would last longer in my mouth.

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  11. This may be a travesty, but I can take or leave the chocolate -- give me caramel every single day! I just adore it!

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  12. Do you ever do walking tours of Paris? We are bringing our 14-year-old granddaughter there next summer - if her Mom and Dad approve! If not tours, we would love to buy you a cup of coffee and a treat at a place of your choosing. We have been to Paris often and our daughter lives in La Rochelle, but I know our granddaughter would be so happy to meet someone as in love with Paris as you. Your page has been a source of delight to me. Direct contact: leejay.kline2@gmail.com

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  13. love all you paint all look beautiful and love Paris ever and ever:)

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  14. I don't know how you keep finding all these cool places. I don't know how you have time to find all these cool places..you must be going constantly... oh what a job but someone has to do it..right? :)

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  15. I may love caramel more than lemon. Love your watercolor. Oh, and would love to see your hair the color of caramel. You are so cute.

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  16. So many sweets. I think I'm having a sugar rush just from reading this:-)

    "I shall be coloring my hair caramel au beurre sale especially for the show. Why not?" Ha! Why not indeed... enjoy..

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  17. I love the opening watercolor.
    Interesting info on caramel - everything you need to know.....:)

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  18. I knew there was a reason half of my DNA (which is French) LOVES caramels!
    I also absolutely love reading about the tastes and sites of France through your talented paintbrushes! What a fun and completely original way to love life!
    Suzanne@Le Farm

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  19. Alexa2:07 PM

    You are Living and Tasting ze Life !!!
    Love to you, Alexa

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  20. I have a mouth full of exquisitely expensive American teeth....and adore caramels....
    oh no!
    what to do?

    we miss you in NY but love Paris vicariously through you.

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  21. I surrender! Carmels are my downfall! Especially au beurre sale!!!

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