Thursday, September 21, 2006

Chocolat et Thé

Tea I was walking along rue de Rennes, looking for a hairdresser, when par hasard/by chance I found instead tiny Duo Trio, 88, rue de Rennes 75006. The ultimate chocolat et thé shop...

Tea Their l'ardoise/blackboard sitting out in the street stopped me in my tracks. I love to check out the écriture française. This one was titled Mariage Frères? Ah, they are allowed to carry Mariage Frères thés.

TeaIn the vitrine/window - Mariage Fréres tablettes de chocolat. Who knew they made chocolate? And so chic in their black wrappers. And what a beautiful red Tetsubin. I saw Japanese iron teapots all over Paris in May.

TeaAnother petite magasin filled with treasures. On your left sit tall red tea tins in a beautiful comptoir de magasin /display case. I asked the vendeuse/saleswoman how long they'd been there, thinking it was years and years. Just 1 year she told me!

Tea In the case are what I call the "sniffing jars". Do tell if you know the correct name. You help yourself and open as many as you want, till you find your dream tea. Just don't mix up those lids.

The vendeuse will weigh out your choice into a small tin or packet. TeaSo how come it's perfectly normal in France to take thé with your chocolats? Milk + cookies and apple pie + vanilla ice cream are a given combo in the US. But drinking tea with chocolates? Never heard of it. 
Chocolate connoisseur,Chloe Doutre-Roussel filled me in. Thé is a gourmet's drink in Europe and has been for 5-10 years now. More and more gourmets are choosing tea over coffee. We're talking really good teas, not flavored teas.

The tea connoisseur will seek out the subtilities of the greens, the oolongs, the oxydated (fermented) teas. French chocolatiers secretly agree coffee kills chocolate as does alcohol. Even though they may display alcohol-filled chocolates, well they sell easily.

But coffee bean aromas are too strong for chocolate. No way will you find coffee beans in a chocolate shop. The delicate aromas of tea do not interfere with chocolate. Et voilà. Americans are just getting into fine dark single origin chocolate bars and fine teas are becoming more prevalent, so perhaps it's just a matter of time.

TeaThé et chocolat is waiting for you in Paris. I hope we won't have to wait too long till we can find this wonderful combination stateside. Meantime I'd like to be one of these théieres/teapots sitting in a chocolate shop gazing out at rue de Rennes.


  1. Not sure I can bear this. I wanna go to Paris NOW!

    Thank you for the lovely report. :-)

  2. Anonymous10:05 AM

    You are NOT a little teapot short and stout! And btw, it's fun to see that my farflung buddies have discovered your blog (like Bela up there.)
    I'm very late to (and a little reluctant about) the tea craze but I'm hurtling headlong into the chocolate one. All of this connoisseurship is taxing, PB. How do you DO it??

  3. Your paintings are wonderful, the photos are simply yummy. What a talent. Thank you for sharing them.

  4. OH MY GOSH!!! AWESOME! I am so eager to have some tea and good chocolate --- What beautiful photos and work!!!!! INSPIRATIONAL!

  5. Anonymous12:29 PM

    what a wonderful store! i hope your nose doesn't get too over-worked from so much sniffing

  6. Anonymous12:43 PM

    That's interesting about tea versus coffee. Have I told you about the tea shop near us in SF.
    And their fabulous tea tastings. But no chocolate tastings as of yet :( That would be terrific

  7. Did you also see the tea thermosii? The French have the best paraphenelia.

    They are mostly white and red with Japanese designs on the front. But I saw a beautiful Celadon colored thermos with cherry blossoms on it. Unfortunately, the store closed for August vacance before I could get in and buy it... Must hint during holiday season.

    My two fav colors together are quinacridone red and a watery celadon. Makes me all tingly.

  8. Anonymous3:40 PM

    I've always loved thé and chocolate. You have tempted me to make myself a mug now, watching a series on tv, and I think I can find a piece of chocolate somewhere...

  9. Found your blog via Stephane Erler's (Tea Masters). What an expressive and creative blog you maintain! Glad to have found it! I am a tea and German Riesling lover, too (read your wine tasting 101 blog). Are you an NYC native living in Paris or just travelling?

  10. Thé et chocolate! :) delicious! but coffe and chocolate are my favorites...I used to have a thesis: between chocolate or strawberries ice cream (it has to be ice cream)People who would choose a chocolate ice cream will prefer coffe than tea and people who will chose the strawberries ice cream will be "tea people"

    Try it. It works in general........oh! yes! I am then "coffe people"

    LOve the paintings! I guess Paris is inspiring you a lot!

    oh! My favorite at Marriages Frèeres is "Blue Himalaya"

  11. what is your secret for wet on wet painting again? arrgghh.

  12. I'm sure you must have been to the Mariage Freres shop in Paris. A feast for the eyes and nose. I love your paintings!

  13. hi carol, heartbreakingly gorgeous! particularly so because i have a bit of a m.f. teaware fetish...sigh...

  14. Anonymous7:34 AM

    I am heading to paris in a week or so, so I should keep this address in mind. Lovely painting Carol. I really like it!

  15. Anonymous9:49 AM

    hoho je reconnais la boutique qui vend du thé mariage fréres en face de cette super boulangerie rue de rennes qui vend des cakes à tomber par terre;-)j'ai fait moi aussi mon stock de thé chez mariages fréres mais ce fut au Printemps entre deux courses, un essai: 1854 (gingembre) et un de mes classiques : french breakfast (vanillé) parfait pour le tea time.

  16. Anonymous12:09 PM

    Ah! I've reached the first post I've furled from your blog. It is still my favorite watercolor/modèle combo.


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