Friday, March 07, 2008

Chocolate Friday at Denise Acabo

French chocolate bars It's that time again - CHOCOLATE FRIDAY!
I think it's time Paris gave up the Eiffel Tower as it's iconic symbol and gave the French chocolate bar (or tablette) it's due.

French chocolate barsPlus France is famous for it's "naked" bars of quality like these by Gerard Mulot.

French chocolate bars The plethora of choices in any candy shop is jaw-dropping, like here at Denise Acabo's on rue Fountain.

This wall of beautiful bars is in Galerie Lafayette Gourmet and it IS an art gallery of different brands and flavors and grades of cocoa.

What you do not expect, is to see the same wall of chocolate bars.

French chocolate bars At your local supermarche!?

French chocolate bars Endless choices..endless flavors...fruity to spicy...endless percentages...endless origins...bla bla bla

French chocolate bars The French have as vast a varieties of chocolate bars.

French chocolate barsAs we have row upon row of breakfast cereals.

Maybe this IS breakfast for the French?
It is medicinal isn't it? Like a daily vitamin? Sounds good to me 

French chocolate barsBut however do you make a choice? It must be a lifelong commitment of trial & error and tasting. And then finally finding the bar you can commit to for the rest of your days.
Choosing a mate has to be easier than finding your chocolate bar of choice in France. I'd rather choose a chocolate bar thank you very much.
If you have any personal favorites 
French chocolate barsNow let's choose a French chocolate ice cream we can stick with.


  1. Anonymous7:40 AM

    When it comes to chocolate, nothing is quite as seductive as walking out of the train station in Brussels and smelling the Cote d'Or chocolate being made just a stone's throw away. Now, it has been years since I experienced that smell and taste and I'm not even sure they are still there! (Anyone know?) But the memory of going into the Cote d'Or store and buying up as many small bars as I could stick into my back pack, all while being intoxicated by this amazing, warm chocolate smell--(imagine the most intense, deep, chocolate, brownies baking and you can get an idea of the glorious smell that wafted through the Brussels streets)--still reigns as one of my favorite memories.
    -Karen @

  2. -KAREN - YOu make me want to take a day trip to Brussels! I'm definitely overdue too for a choco tour there...

  3. Anonymous9:03 AM

    Any bar that says VALRHONA on it has my name on it.
    Yes please :)

  4. Anonymous12:25 PM

    Oh, of all the things I love most about Paris, Denise Acabo (and her shop) is in the top ten. Probably the top five.
    Four, even.

    I have still got one last square of the very last chocolate bar from
    the last trip. I also have two of her bergamot lozenges. Have you
    ever tried her chocolate shell covered "cherries" (they are not
    really cherries, but she didn't know the English equivalent of the fruit).

    (snif, sniff, waaaaaa)

    If you ever get over to the 17th, get to the almondinere on Rue de
    Jonquiere (directions: from Avenue de Clichy, turn north on Rue
    Emile Level. Emile Level deadends on Rue de Jonquiere and take a
    left so you are heading northwest. There is a tiny Almondienere
    there . If you get to a main thorough fare, you went too far. Turn
    around and look again.

    I'm sure I'm not spelling the name of the confection correctly. It has the very best almond based confections on this earth. This is
    the outlet for a shop which seems to be family owned, and it
    apparently mostly sells to hotels. I have seen marzipan there with
    the blush painted on each grape! Peaches blush as do apples. Their
    flavorings are very subtle but there is none of that rather floury
    taste you get from American marzipan. The non-marzipan almond
    confections are exhuberant!

    For a nice lunch, head back on Jonquiere. About a block past Emile
    Level is a good place for lunch pastry--sandwiches and tartes--fine
    leek quiche. The little park back on Emile Level is open to the public

  5. You are the DEVIL!!!! :) My god how would one choose from all of these? And look at the packaging! I agree, it takes a lifetime commitment to explore..sign me up...Valhrona...kind of sounds like Valhalla...Cluizel origins..Ghiradelli, Scharffen Berger, ...I wonder are there any chocolates out there called Bob. That would be a Portland thing maybe. You naughty I have to go out and snoop for les tablettes nues and go to Brussels...note to self...follow nose off train...Salads, now treats. Yummy PB
    All best, Jan

  6. now that is my kind of Friday!

  7. I was trying to post a link but I can't I have got a little surprise for you here:

    Nestle 1848 Pralinoise is my favorite :)

  8. Oh man... You are killing me with all these chocolates... Making me miss home so much. Magnum ice cream is definitely my favorite, the ice cream bars in a stick... hmmm... love those!!! And the Gerard Mullot... yum!

  9. Anonymous2:59 PM

    Oh, man, Carol, even your followers are making me drool now. I am reading their posts and looking at your photos and I'm getting a really strong urge for le chocolat! You're such a bad influence. I might have to make a chocolate run here...
    have a great weekend!

  10. My goodness that's a choc fest if ever i saw one!

  11. Anonymous4:48 PM

    Dark chocolate with Orange with a snifter of Grand Marnier and a really good espresso gets my vote every time!
    Wonderful photos!

  12. Anonymous7:13 PM

    Which is your FAVORITE?

  13. Oh, I don't think of chocolate when I think Paris. I think Brussels because we lived there. Cote d'Or is my favorite. Fortunately, specialty grocery stores here stock it. Every year at Christmas, I make truffles using a French recipe and Cote d'Or chocolate. Nothing on earth compares.

    I'll have to go back and do a Paris chocolate tour for comparison.

    What food do I think of when I think Paris....crepes, of course. Great breads, naturally. But, roast chicken and potatoes...because I'd buy them from la boucherie down the street from the apartment we rented.

    Fabulous post. Thanks for the memories!

  14. Anonymous9:04 PM

    Chocolate for breakfast? Absolutely! How do you think I got to be the Starbuck's customer of the week? it was by hard work and discipline, having a healthy breakfast every day of hot skim milk (calcium), coffee (flavanoids) and chocolate(polyphenols)! That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
    They really DO have a lot to choose from: all the bars seem to be displayed vertically (not horizontally like we do it) all the better to fit more in.
    One of my best chocolate experiences was a chocolate/hazelnut bar from Germany (German friend brought them back). NOT hazelnuts in pieces, but ground or creamed right into the chocolate. The name escapes me, but I do remember the purple wrapper, and, though I have seen that brand in specialty stores, never the particular flavor I love.

  15. I am amazed at how much different chocolates they do have there. I too like the bars displayed vertically. You get to enjoy the packaging better that way. At first I thought the top ones were cans. Love the Eiffel tower on the top middle bar. :)

  16. Anonymous11:11 PM

    Hmmm...interesting analogy or metaphor should I say.
    Certainly dating various chocolate bars sounds like more fun than most guys!
    And once the honeymoon is over, you move on to another and no alimoney or college fees to worry about.
    But where to begin?

  17. Anonymous11:18 PM

    It is interesting how in such a short time, the French have out run the Belgian chocolate makers and beat them to the finish line. I would surmise that there are less big global French brands like Cote D'or and many more small passionate chocolate makers who are happy to search for a level of perfection that outpaces much Belgian chocolate.
    There seems to be more sugar in Belgian brands and less chocolate too....

  18. Anonymous1:48 AM

    Chocolate Friday??? Then everyday is Friday at my house. I'm a milk chocolate gal, though. Does that still count???
    Your photos are gorgeous and your art....almost as sinful as this post!!

  19. I don't think I can tell you what I think is the best chocolate! It's too embarrassing! I have literally never seen so much chocolate in one place in my life!

  20. -HEY Donna Do not be afraid!
    Do not be afraid to say you love milk chocolate! The NYTimes did a great article on milk chocolate recently and it's complexities. My neighbor downstairs finally admitted he and his wife really love milk chocolate after I had been supplying them with bags and bags of French dark!
    Go figure.
    Every one has a secret! :)

    -THANK YOU MANGGY for stopping by!
    You are one amazing pastry chef and cook and and and! I am trying close my mouth. I'm aghast at your accomplishments.
    BRAVO !

    -Jeanette I will find out the name of that German chocolate bar! I just have to email an old friend in Oxford, UK. He used to let me have ONE square every night after dinner when we were next door neighbors..I'm sure it was the same one.

    PS J - great insight about all the bars being VERTICAL! Something I never noticed
    YOU open my eyes!
    BIG MERCI :)

  21. Anonymous9:40 AM

    hi carol;

    two favorite chocolate bars: ivoria's caramel and lindt's irish whisky.

    both devine and both in any local episserie, at least here down by the pyrenees where we live.

  22. Anonymous4:00 AM

    I did my supermarche chocolate testing years ago and came up with my favorite: Cote d'Or Noir Noix de Pecan. I pick it up at my local Franprix on every grocery run, and I have a piece (or 2 if I'm having a bad day) with my tea in the afternoon.

    Karen in Paris

  23. Anonymous10:06 AM

    Carol, oh this is too tempting. I vote for Chocolate Everyday, not just Fridays.....

  24. Anonymous10:19 AM

    Lindt 80% cacao Noir and Lindt Noir with citron vert, Cote d'or lait with salted peanuts or Noir with pralines. There's so many choices here, it's hard to pick favorites. I've worked my way through plenty a grocery store chocolate bar aisle! Bises, Ms. Glaze

  25. I have so much trouble choosing chocolate in France or Italy....I end up buying lots of different bars to try. I love dark chocolate though...why does the chocolate shelf just look so much more attractive than here in the UK???

    Yummy Yummy Yummy !!!!

  26. It wasn't Milka Chocolate from Germany by any chance...

  27. I was thinking that that wall looked like the chocolate display at Monoprix. Just one more thing that we haven't caught on to her in America! My trip to the chocolate wall at Monoprix was seriously one of the highlights of my trip to Paris!

  28. Anonymous3:14 AM

    Yes we've got our own favourites here ... and, being favourites, they've all gone !
    Shall take pictures after shopping later today...


  29. The hazelnut chocolate that jeanette mistress of longears remembers is the "Milka" brand, famous for making chocolate with milk from purple cows. ;-)
    I don't know if it is an urban legend or true, but it seems that many German children believe there really are Purple Cows grazing daintily in the Bavarian Alps. :-)


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