Friday, October 04, 2013

Musee Gourmand du Chocolat

You don't have to be painting French chocolates to pay a visit to the musee Gourmand du Chocolat (Choc-Story) in Paris.
28, bd Bonne Novelle 75010 Metro:Bonne Nouvelle
Open every day 10 - 6
If you're a chocolate nut you really should know a bit more than which is your favorite ganache or Parisian chocolatier.
Lots of people may be clueless when they see a colorful cocoa pod/cabosse like this ahem.
Same with the pod's interior, but in France you'll find chocolate pods hither and thither. Some are solid chocolate. Others open up and are full of your usual squares of lush ganache.
I certainly didn't know till I visited the museum that monkeys were key imagery related to chocolates. They conveniently opened the pods, ate the surrounding material and spit out the cocoa seeds onto the ground, thus saving the farmer a lot of trouble by 'planting' the seeds and increasing their growth. Who knew?!
Astex codex include the cocoa bean and it's various and sundry processes.
Beautiful moulinet for grinding roasted beans. La Maison du Chocolat uses one as a symbol for their brand. I wish Hershey would do likewise...hmmm
Videos of South American chocolate making.
You can even buy a nice authentic la chocolatière in the museum's shop.
As well as chips of chocolate from just about everywhere in the world at different percentages and at a good price.
As part of my research in painting chocolate I felt the need to visit a few shops along with the museum. Dimanche A Paris smells wonderfully chocolaty. The aromas hit you on entry.
Naturally since it's Fall, the French champignon turns up in chocolate form
Over and over.
Or simply as window décor at Frederic Cassel Fontainebleau
I have yet to try one of these chocolate chataignes/chestnuts but my 12-year old watercolor student let out a big MIAM when she saw this picture. Her taste buds are way more sophisticated than mine it seems.
Back to painting chocolates.
I was lucky to find this cocoa bean/cabosse at the musee du chocolat - the perfect container for my still life. By the way if you are familiar with cocoa beans do give a shout out and I'll stop the hectoring I promise.
I was trying to remember the color combinations to make chocolate browns. I called Ali in NYC in desperation. She reminded me teacher David Dewey had us all get this terrific little watercolor mixing guide - THE WATERCOLOR PAINTER'S POCKET PALETTE.
I suggest you get it in English. The French versions is a tad beyond me. What was I thinking?!


  1. Carolyn2:16 AM

    I don't believe you:) I think you can mix chocolate-y browns with your eyes closed!!!! n'est ce pas???!! Carolyn

  2. R U kidding? Very difficult..they can look dense and too dark...

  3. Oh, thank you - I shall add that guide to my christmas list. I'm trying to work more in watercolour.
    Did you have a good try at testing the chocolate too?...all in the name of work of course! I've never understood how American's can call what Hershey's produce 'chocolate' - to me it has such a bizarre taste. But then I suppose it has to do with what you grow up with - plenty of people don't think 'Cadbury's' is proper chocolate, because of the milk content - but it's something of a British institution.
    I'll definitely add the museum to my list of places to visit next time we visit Paris, thank you.

    1. I HAVE to eat chocolate to paint it of course...
      Too true about the famous American brand though i don't like to think how many Hershey bar with almonds i've eaten way in the past...
      The museum gives you samples of different % ships plus white chocolate before you enter. And there are tasting demos inside so you get plenty of chocolate coming and going ;))


    It's so vivid and vibrant when you are tasting and painting and going in search of chocolate!
    This is such a fun post...and very informative and inspiring.
    Bravo to you...much fun.

  5. It would not be possible not to eat chocolate while painting it, that would be my excuse. Thanks for the advice on the 'painters Palette pocket book' on my Christmas pressy list.

    1. Can't think why I left the Mixing guide back in NY?
      As soon as the English version arrives this Frenchy one goes to my 12-yr old student..

  6. Your little vessel is arorable.and many uses:)
    I will look into that mixing my DD book I have been waiting for for 4 months..?I received an email from Amaon aplogizing..they thought they could get it but cannot..
    When I visit the US ..I'll be on the lookout..
    Not sure it will help me..I get lost w/ books.. I am going to send you a link of something taht might be interesting..for painting..a home made thing..I Pinned it.

    Love seeing your samples of colors..and I still say that 12 yr old is so darn lucky:)

  7. PS I saw a watch that's a camera..Secret Agent PB:)
    You know..for the trickier places to shoot.

  8. Great post - a must see place.

  9. Wonderful post. I have studied chocolate for years. Ghiradelli in SF put me on the trail, but loved Barton's coffee "beans". Mocha anything for that matter. Knew about the monkeys, too, and still wanted to consume my ration.
    Definitely time to graduate from marshmallow bears. Oh, I guess I have...been having a rocher noir instead of morning coffee.

  10. Anonymous10:58 AM

    I had a wonderful visit to Musee Gourmand du Chocolat too!
    Chef Ann

  11. Merci beaucoup for the link to the watercolor mixing grabbed my eye in the very first photo and I raced through the rest of the post so I could ask you what it is (I thought it might be your personal mixing guide!) but I was rewarded at the bottom and have ordered my very own copy!
    LOVE the thought of letting the monkeys do the de-seeding work!!! Wonder if they consider us humans nuts for picking up their "garbage"....

  12. Anonymous2:49 PM

    ASTEX, no AZTEC(s), yes

    BTW, and true: the Aztecs cooked the "meat" of human sacrifices in chocolate sauce (mole sauce), and then ate it, as well as feeding it to the gods. (Notably male genitals.) Yum :-)

  13. I love your watercolors, Carol.
    The chocolate mushrooms look fabulous! I'd love to have a few of those right now :)

  14. Bonjour,

    Un très joli billet qui me donne l'eau à la bouche...
    Lorsque je commence à grignoter du chocolat je fonds !... Une belle source de magnésium à déguster sans complexe.

    Ce musée est extraordinaire... La petite femme que je suis en train de peindre en ce moment à la peau couleur chocolat...

    Gros bisous

    Ps : je m'en vais à la cueillette des champignons. je ne pense pas que ceux-ci seront en chocolat !

    1. I would LOVE to go mushroom picking (cueillette) or picking anything for that matter like radishes...
      Sooo lucky Martine!

  15. Oooh. This museum was on my list for places to go last trip. Sadly we didn't make it. So I really enjoyed this fascinating glimpse Carol. Love the champignons too. I love that cocoa bean you got too- it's fabulous.

  16. Thanks for the tip on the watercolor reference book. That does look like a good one.

    I've got to say, your quest for the perfect subjects take you to some remarkable places! Sound like a perfect field trip!

    1. It makes it oh so much more fun than just doing a Google search
      An immediate lift to the spirit

    2. Plus there is no chocolate museum in NYC.
      Another good reason to live here.

  17. Courage jusqu'à Vendredi ;-)
    Suis dans les bonnes résolutions, les envies de cuisine de Zen... bref, ta recette me tente bcp et me parle bien !
    Dis, c'est quoi le Garam massala
    Des bises !
    restaurant vannes

  18. This looks fab!
    I went to the chocolate museum in Cologne, Germany but am sure this one would have far better quality chocolates.

  19. JeanneR10:45 AM

    Beautiful pictures! it's so interesting watching how you get your inspiration. There's something about watercolor that I am always drawn to over any other medium. One day I'll take a class.. Do you ever use watercolor pencils?

  20. I have them...for years.
    Can't seem to get myself to use them for some unknown reason...


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