Joel Durand Chocolate Perfume maker Provence

Discovering the Chocolate Alphabet in St Rémy-de-Provence (Part 2)

Continuing our morning walk, you can really feel Vincent Van Gogh’s presence in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. Reminders of his paintings appear when you’re least expecting it.

Van Gogh portrait St Remy de Provence

Vincent was fascinated by the enormous plane trees; they’re dotted all around town, providing welcome shade here at the Mairie or town hall.

Town hall of St Remy de Provence

I love getting lost in the back-streets, especially when they’re as old as this – do you?

Old streets of St Remy de Provence

Always look up at the buildings.  I could have missed this Hospital established in 1646.  Look at the scallop shell (Saint Jacques) above the doorway. Although no hanging around – I could have missed our friends who were pressing on with a delicious destination in mind.

Hospital St Jacques in St Remy de Provence

We were heading to the most exquisite chocolate shop in boulevard Victor-Hugo.  I’d heard of Joël Durand as a chocolatier (seen in La Grande Epicerie in Paris), so when I saw this sign at the entrance of his boutique, I was confused.  Parfumeur?

Joel Durand Provence Perfume and chocolate maker

Joël Durand not only makes his signature Chocolate Alphabet (l’Alphabet des Saveurs), in which each letter represents the most delicious concoction of dark or milk chocolate perfumed with spices, provençal herbs, flowers or fruit to name a few, but he also creates a chocolate Eau de Toilette and scented chocolate candles.

Joel Durand chocolate shop St Remy de Provence

His ice creams are also welcome during these soaring summer temperatures. The day’s specials were chocolate with violet, white chocolate with mint, chocolate with a liquorice stick.

Provence cigale or cicada in chocolate

Joël Durand also honours the local cigales in the form of milk chocolate lavender or dark chocolate with rosemary. I’m also looking forward to tasting his Coriscan cédrat marmalade, salted caramel, plus some vanilla coated almonds on return from our travels but right there on the spot, Valérie and Hervé insisted we try out a selection of Joël Durand’s alphabet chocolates.

Plane trees in Provence

Just next door was the perfect solution to have a chocolate tasting: a wine bar (21 Chai d’Oeuvre) with tables in the shade of more plane trees and leafy vines, as we realised the chocolates would melt in a matter of minutes in temperatures approaching 100°F/ 38°C!

ham and cheese platter in Provence

A platter of charcuterie and cheeses just hit the spot with some chilled local Equinox rosé wine before tasting a selection of Joël Durand’s chocolates from the alphabet.  As Valérie enjoyed V for Violet, we watched our Ps and Qs: P for Provence (almond pralines with black olives from the Baux valley) and Q for Châtaigne (milk chocolate with chestnut liqueur from the Ardèche – or should that be the Q-Ardèche?). My favourites were G and L: G for Guyane with 41% milk chocolate, crunchy nutmeg and cinnamon with a slight hint of lemon zest; and L for Lavender and 41% milk chocolate.

Y, O, Y didn’t I get all the way to Z? I’ll try out the rest on my next trip to La Grande Epicerie in Paris.

Joel Durand Chocolate Perfume maker Provence

Who could resist the wine bar’s humour presented at the bottom of the blackboard?

Le Calin de Titi … offert (the hug from Titi is free)
La Rire de Bruno …. offert (Bruno’s laugh is also on the house)
L’addition du Frank … PAS offert (the bill from Frank is NOT free)

Provence town of St Remy

That was our lunchtime apéritif.  Original with the chocolate but hey, when in Provence during a heatwave, we need a plan B (incidentally, B is for Badiane: dark chocolate with flower of star anise).

Empty carousel in Provence

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence was closing up for siesta time.  It was time for the kids’ naps.

St Remy de Provence

And ours after lunch, dreaming up what Valérie would cook for another Provençal dinner!  Now that’s another delicious story.

Joël Durand, Chocolatier

3 boulevard Victor-Hugo
13210 Saint Rémy de Provence

Tel: 04 90 92 38 25
Open seven days a week!


 

As I’ll be going on holiday this week, posting and responding to your welcome comments will be rather erratic (depends if I can get to a computer!), so please don’t forget to subscribe to posts (see right bar) so that you don’t miss them.  It’s also easy to follow me on my travels on instragram.

 

12 replies
  1. June S
    June S says:

    Yes, always look up at the buildings and see more is my philosophy too. Can’t help being jealous of the platter of charcuterie and cheeses followed by the wonderful chocolate treats. Love the photos too Jill. I must go there soon.

    Reply
    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      Although in Paris if you look up too much, you don’t get to watch your feet on doggies’ walks 😉 But it’s not as bad as it used to be, thankfully! Hope you do go there soon – it’s fabulous!

      Reply
  2. Ann
    Ann says:

    I’m so sad I didn’t know about Joël Durand during my visit to St-Rémy-de-Provence… but I think this means I need to plan another trip, right? As a lover of French language and food, the idea of the perfumed alphabet chocolates tickles me pink.

    Reply
    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      Well you’d certainly be tickled pink with them, Ann. A must-stop there and great excuse to return 😉

      Reply
  3. Liz
    Liz says:

    Despite the heat, I would have loved to join you for lunch! Boy the meats and cheeses look enticing—and I’m certain those chocolates were spectacular!

    Reply
  4. Lady Angel
    Lady Angel says:

    This is becoming a habit now. I serve myself a glass of wine and read your blog as my little treat 🙂 Thanks Jill and cheers!

    Reply
    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      As long as it’s not at breakfast time, this is great 😀 Funnily enough, I’m about to have a glass now that I’ve just prepared another blog post for you! Cheers x

      Reply
  5. Cupcake Crusher
    Cupcake Crusher says:

    Your blogs are so dreamy! Saint Rémi-de-Provence looks so peaceful and beautiful, I feel as though I’m walking right next to you Jill (wish I was)!

    Reply
  6. David
    David says:

    Joël Durand is one of the best reasons to visit St. Rémy, right? I had no idea he was a parfumeur… but I love his chocolates, and still have some of his praline paste in my fridge. A special treat!

    Reply
    • Jill Colonna
      Jill Colonna says:

      I would say so, David. Real treat indeed. Praline paste? Yum. I can’t wait to get stuck in to the salted butter chocolate caramel pot back from holidays …

      Reply

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