Favourite chocolate, and sweet confectionary shops in Paris

First Bac Sucré Event on Paris Pastry Street

For sweet fans who love to awake the taste-buds and discover memorable unique pleasures in pastry, confiserie and chocolate, rue du Bac is your address in Paris this week. Running until Sunday 21 June 2015, the Bac Sucré is the first ever annual event organised to celebrate the transformation of sugar by the famous artisans that have made this Paris pastry street become so special on the Rive Gauche.

Just before the official opening yesterday evening by the Mayor of the 7th Arrondissement, Rachida Dati, I made my way starting from the Rue du Bac metro, popping in to the first chocolate shops.

Rue du Bac Paris

First stop, Pierre Marcolini. This Belgian chocolate maker is one of the few chocolatiers in Paris who makes chocolate from bean to bar. Normally I love popping in to the shop in Rue de Seine on my St Germain chocolate walks but for this occasion, the welcome for Bac Sucré was with Monsieur Marcolini’s unique and healthy “Cocoa Infusion”, which has taken three years to master.

It was served refreshingly cold for the summer, inviting a new angle on cocoa drinks. Although labelled as “plain” (the other version is subtly perfumed with rose), this naturally delicate but stimulating infusion is a rich source of polyphenols and antioxidants that play a role in combating cell ageing (I’ll drink to that!). The addition of citrus slices and vanilla is a lovely touch yet in the background is still the hint of cocoa. The infusions can be taken warm in winter or in summer, infused in hot water and left to chill.

Pierre Marcolini Chocolate Paris

Don’t forget to taste Pierre Marcolini’s macarons, too; for the record, he also won the world pastry championships in Lyon in 1995.

Next visit, Chapon across the road at number 69. Patrice Chapon is another rare chocolate maker in Paris who takes the art of chocolate further by perfecting his chocolates directly from the source of the cacao bean.

Chapon chocolate maker Paris

I took notice of Patrice Chapon’s name ever since my first Paris Salon du Chocolat. Every October during the Salon, there’s always a queue in front of his famous Chocolate Mousse Bar. For amateurs of dark chocolate, how can you turn up a tasting of a spectacular 100% pure cacao Venezuela chocolate mousse? Or a Madagascar light and fruity mousse with a slight menthol taste; a Cuba mousse with a slightly smoky, underwood taste (hm – could I have that with a peaty Whisky, please?) or why not a rounder taste in the mouth of the light notes of apricot, dried fruits and caramel with the Perou?

Next time I pop in, I should pick one from the bar to take a mousse cone to go.  Or it could be this deliciously gooey chocolate cake? It’s called VSD: Vendredi Samedi Dimanche – with a name like that you know it’s going to be special. It was another real treat to have Patrice Chapon there himself to take us through the tastings for the event with his lovely team.

Chapon chocolate mousse

Tastings from the chocolate mousse bar or a gooey bite of VSD: Vendredi Samedi Dimanche cake

Patrice Chapon explained his method of selecting the beans from across the world; from the Ivory Coast, to Ghana, to Venezuela, to Peru, to Madagascar (there are many more) – to roasting until he’s left with the cocoa nibs (or grué – very edible at this point, even if bitter, ideal for savoury cooking, in my opinion) then the next stage is spent grinding it down in his conching machine.  This machine below is just a small version he uses on a daily basis but normally it’s on a bigger scale in Chelles, 20 km north-east of Paris – something I look forward to posting for you later.

Chapon Paris chocolate-making from bean to bar

Then there are the pralines, with the Agates popular with customers.  His latest are on the same lines but are Smileys, with a crunchy, powerful praline of almonds and hazelnuts enrobed in white chocolate.

Chocolate pralines at Chapon Paris

As a previous marketer, I appreciate packaging to show off and preserve the contents for high-end goods.  Patrice Chapon has something to smile about since not only are each of his chocolate bars given a pretty nostalgic theme, but the wrapper is re-sealable in able to preserve the chocolate as long as possible for dark chocolate-nibbling squirrels like myself.

Chapon chocolate bars

Roll on Saturday, when I’m bringing along Lucie to take part in one of his demonstrations during the day at the workshop behind the shop. (Call 01 42 22 95 98 to sign up for either 15h, 15h30, 16h, 16h30 or email).

Next is Dalloyau, just around the corner on 63 rue de Grenelle. For the event, the institution’s emblem reminds us that they’ve been around since 1682, as it’s firmly nestled into the religieuse heads of these pastries.  Don’t be fooled by their appearance.  These two are savoury! Not sure of the salmon being so yellow, but hey, I haven’t tasted it yet – for the next visit or tell me what it’s like if you get there first!

Dalloyau Paris Savoury Religieuse

Continuing on rue du Bac, just on the next corner to rue de Varenne, is the new boutique of Jacques Genin. Known for his signature caramels, chocolate and exquisite pastries at the Tea Salon in Rue de Turenne, Monsieur Genin was presenting his latest daring taste sensations to add to his fruit jelly range: he’s invented vegetable jellies!

Admittedly, I’d already tried them last week with my friend, Francis. Curious to taste, we tried cucumber, pepper, beetroot and turnip. The cucumber is wonderfully fresh for the summer and fun on the palate. The pepper and beetroots’ sweetness were unearthed too but somehow the originality of the turnip just didn’t do it for me.  As a Scot, I’m perhaps too stuck in my ways enjoying the humble turnip with my haggis and mash. For the rest of the tasting, you can possibly see that the green rhubarb jellies were suspiciously low on stock with me being around the stand…

Jacques Genin chocolate and pastry, Rue de Varenne Paris

Now, Monsieur Genin was definitely demonstrating how cheeky he can become when chocolate is concerned. No wonder he was posing like this for the camera when you taste his latest number!  Ladies and Gentlemen, meet his chocolate bars with capers. I love the size of the bars rather than small chocolates, as the saltiness of the capers don’t come through straight away.  There’s a crunchiness in the chocolate that makes it quite a sensation. I’m looking forward to posting more about Jacques Genin soon from his laboratory in the Marais.

Jacques-Genin chocolate caramel capers rue de Varenne Paris

After that wonderful capering around, on to more classic pastries at 108 rue du Bac.  Angelina have created a raspberry twist to their signature Mont Blanc dessert especially for the Bac Sucré event. Normally crème de marrons (chestnut vanilla cream) is rather sweet but that’s what makes these pastry houses so special: they are not too sweet at all with just the right balance. Yes, that’s something to smile about!

Angelina rue du bac Paris

The Godfather of the Bac Sucré event is Philippe Conticini, known for making the patisseries of dreams from La Pâtisserie des Rêves. This was his very first store at 93 rue du Bac. Now he continues to make clients dream of their sweetest childhood memories through his creations via his characteristic glass-belled boutiques around the world.

Patisserie des Reves, rue du Bac Paris

For the event, even the taste of his sweeties tasting of sweeties (bonbons tasting of bonbons) were childhood-provoking. A real privilege to meet chef Conticini himself, he was most sincere how he explained how the critic scene in the Disney film, Ratatouille, was a turning point for him and how meeting a group of Japanese tasting something so French and completely different to what they’d tasted before could evoke such déjà vu memories of something they’d thought they’d eaten before.  “It wasn’t possible!”, he confided.  That was the revelation: to realise he could aim to create that intrinsic pleasure of evoking delicious childhood. Sweet dreams, indeed.

Patisserie des Reves, Philippe Conticini Paris

I encourage you to head over to rue du Bac for the Bac Sucré event until Father’s Day afternoon on Sunday 21st in Paris.  There are so many other boutiques to visit yet – I’m aiming for Hugo & Victor, Foucher, La Grande Epicerie and Des Gâteaux et du Pain (Claire Damon is the genius behind the patisserie, seen below) and Eric Kayser over the weekend.

Bac Sucre event Paris June 2015

For the full programme, follow the link below. And if you can’t get there, that’s my job to transport you there via le blog. Thank you to the organisers of Le Bac Sucré and to the wonderful chefs for making this new event happen and for sharing their savoir-faire with us. Thank you, Carol of ParisBreakfasts for spotting this last week!  Loved making new friends too: Virginie, Charlène, Solli – see you soon!

Bac Sucre Event June 2015 rue du Bac Paris

Bac Sucré® Event
Rue du Bac
7th Arrondissement Paris

Tuesday 16- Sunday 21 June 2015
For the full programme, go to BacSucre.com 

—>Next Edition 2016: 15-19 June! 

 

Le Bac Sucré – 16-21 June, Rue du Bac Paris

For the very first time, Paris’s most famous gourmet street is holding a festival this week, entitled Le Bac Sucré. From Tuesday 16 to Sunday 21 June, the Rue du Bac will be demonstrating its glorious deliciousness to the public.

Situated on the left bank (Rive Gauche) south of the River Seine, the Rue du Bac is one of the sweetest streets of Paris, with an astonishing high concentration of high-end pâtisseries and chocolate boutiques. So it’s not surprising that it’s featured prominently in Teatime in Paris!

Rue du Bac Teatime in Paris

Naturally, the Mayor of the 7th arrondissement is proud to show off its area and share the savoir-faire of its talented bakers, pastry chefs, and chocolate makers.

Led by Philippe Conticini of the Pâtisserie des Rêves, six days will be centred around tastings, workshops and demonstrations open to the public, including animations for children.

Rue du Bac Paris Patisseries

Other stars of pastry and chocolate will be there, and I’m sincerely hoping to also get a glimpse of  Pierre Marcolini and Jacques Genin.

Participating artists include the famous houses of La Pâtisserie des Rêves, Angelina, Hugo & Victor, Des Gateaux et du Pain (Claire Damon), Eric Kayser, La Grande Epicerie de Paris, plus the historical house of Dalloyeau.

Download Le Bac Sucré programme here (in French).

For more information, visit www.bacsucre.com

I hope to see you there! Don’t forget to take along Dad next Sunday 21st June, for a tasty Father’s Day, or Fête des Peres!

Pascal Caffet in Paris

Don’t be fooled by McDonalds on the corner of Place de Passy in Paris’s 16th arrondissement. It perhaps marks the start of Rue Duban, where the Marché de Passy indoor market adds to the hustle and bustle with delivery vans and florists, but this street has more to it than at first glance.

Last month, as an occasional pilgrimage to stock up on some M&S British goodies for Antoine and the girls, I was  immediately drawn across the road by a most impressive Chocolatier and Pâtissier.

Rue Duban Paris 16

It was the signature of Pascal Caffet en plus that lured me right in. The name rang a curious bell. Nearly 12 years ago, Lucie’s christening cake was personally delivered to Paris by Antoine’s uncle, Tonton Claude, who lives near Troyes. I remember how proud he was, showing off his local pâtisserie’s talents by one of France’s most prized pastry chefs, Pascal Caffet, who now has 3 boutiques in Troyes alone.  Since then he has opened yet another 2 boutiques in the Champagne region, two in Burgundy, plus in Italy and Japan. Thankfully for us there are now two in Paris.

Pascal Caffet Patisserie Paris

Entering the boutique, it was everything I love in a top pâtisserie and chocolate shop: not just the products and knowledge about them, but also the warm welcome. The owner, Charles Benchetrit, couldn’t be a more friendly and passionate ambassador of Pascal Caffet’s creations.

Last week, returning to buy more, I was in for a huge surprise.  Smartly casual wearing a cheeky smile, Pascal was there himself – totally modest for such a prizewinner, most notably for being the youngest ever Meilleur Ouvrier de France (aka MOF, the highly coveted Olympian of French craftsmen in France) in pâtisserie at age 27 in 1989, and in 1995 as world champion of pastry-chocolate-ice cream in Milan.

Pascal Caffet, Meilleur Ouvrier de France Pâtisserie Paris

What better excuse is that for us customers to taste? Previously I’d particularly loved the Paris-Troyes (top left), based on the classic praline-filled round choux, the Paris-Brest. This is his take on it using an almond praline cream, a light Madagascan vanilla cream and dribbled with a 66% dark chocolate. The ultimate pastry to try is his Las Vegas (bottom left), which earned him the title of MOF with chocolate biscuit, dark chocolate mousse (Venezuela 70%), Madagascan vanilla crème diplomate, crispy almond and raspberries. You can see why.

Las Vegas and Paris Troyes pastries

This time I was treated to a small tasting in the shop with the Exotique (above), with a soft exotic fruit mousse, wild strawberries and sponge. My favourite part was the crunch of the pineapple in syrup at the end…

Pascal Caffet, winning pastry chef and chocolate maker in Paris and Troyes

Did I mention that Pascal is also extremely down to earth and fun, too? I want to frame this shot of him sneaking in at the last second. For all his prestigious line-up of awards, it hasn’t gone to his head!

Macarons in pastry shop window in Paris

He’s also mad about macarons: with 20 different flavours to choose from, they’re all made with the most delicate chocolate ganaches, making them how we love them: ever-so-slightly meringue crispy on the outside and beautifully soft in the inside. Charles let me taste Chocolat passion, Vanille framboise, caramel à la fleur de sel. What is it with salted caramel?  I have to say this one was my personal favourite.

Macaron tasting Paris

Chocolates are another passion: this pure origine Brésil was striking for a 100% cacao ganache in that it wasn’t bitter, just a pure chocolate sensation with a long aftertaste. Oh, and it’s made with Criollo, one of the rare cacao varieties which makes up only about 5% of global production, so it’s the Grand Cru Classé of chocolate. If you love pralines, this is the place to come!

Pascal Caffet chocolate Paris

At first I thought these round nutty chocolate disks were mendiants. They are instead given the tongue-in-cheek name, Croqs’Télé, as they’re perfect for munching in front of the TV (ahem – we don’t munch in front of the telly, do we?).  Filled with praline, they’re topped with caramelised almonds and hazelnuts from Piemonte.

Mendiants, or the praline version by MOF Pascal Caffet

These raspberry caramels hit the spot and would do for Lucie, too, as she has a brace: they’re deliciously clever non-stick caramels on the teeth. Dare I say, she would also appreciate the pots of salted caramel and recognise the huge difference between Nutella and his range of artisanal chocolate-hazelnut spreads (pâte à tartiner) or Chocopraliné, as he calls it.

French caramels

The family have done his éclairs proud.  After tasting so many of them, you could say we’re experts of les éclairs au Caffet! Intense coffee, passion fruit, pistachio, Paris-Brest, hazelnut praline, Chocotartiné®, acidic lemon and salted caramel.  Not bad, eh? Oh, and the Fraise Gourmande is missing since we tasted it in the shop. Gourmande and strawberry it certainly was.

French eclairs

I wonder if we get a tasting medal?  Well, no – we still have many more treats to try out – but in true French style, avec modération… I thoroughly recommend you help me out and taste them for yourself.

Pascal Caffet and Charles at the Paris patisserie in rue Duban

Pascal and Charles – you rock! Thanks for coming to Paris.

Pascal Caffet
13 rue Duban75016 Paris

Tel: 01 – 45 20 08 04
Metro: La Muette


 

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was not asked to write anything about the store and all comments are entirely my own.

Bonbons! The Best French Sweet Shop in Paris

I literally stumbled into this sweet shop the other day in the 5th Arrondissement.  It was raining cats and dogs and, instead of taking the metro back to Châtelet, drifted with the howling wind as it directed me downhill like some kind of sweet calling. The sudden sight of glistening jars filled with chocolates and bright pastel confections halted my track and lured me indoors. I stepped back in time like a curious, mesmerised child into this haven in Paris. It’s le Bonbon au Palais.

Table of French regional confectionary at Le Bonbon au Palais, The best sweet shop in Paris

I remembered Carol Gillot of ParisBreakfasts talk about this sweet shop and its owner, ‘Professor’ Georges. Well, here he was in person, proudly presenting his range of the best regional and artisanal sweet delicacies from around France all under one roof. As he says on the giant blackboard, life is much more beautiful with sweets or candies. His shop resembles a classroom from yesterday, with Nicolas and Pimpranelle looking on (yet another story: Antoine and I dressed up in PJs as the children’s TV characters at a fancy dress party, only to discover that everyone else was in elaborate Carnaval of Venice costumes.)

Georges at Le Bonbon au Palais, specialist of French regional sweet candies in Paris

With Brassens (another Georges) singing and strumming his guitar on the vintage radio, Georges opened several giant apothecary lids as he explained some  delicacies while I tasted and relished in the jolly Georges ambience.

Pierrot Gourmand sucette artisanal lollies the oldest lollipops in France

The Pierrot Gourmand symbols of the Comedia dell’Arte displayed France’s oldest lollipop, or sucette.

Georges Evrard created the Pierrot Gourmand company in 1892 and invented the first lollipop in 1924.  It was also one of the first companies to envelope lollipops in printed paper. The milk caramel was the original flavour, nicknamed ‘Pégé’ for P.G.  Pierrot Gourmand now sells around 140 million lollipops each year.

Lyon sweet candy speciality les coussins de Lyon

I’d already fallen in love with le Coussin de Lyon (chocolate ganache perfumed with curaçao) during my gastronomic weekend in Lyon. Here, Georges also had framboise (raspberry) and myrtille (blueberry) versions plus the Coussin’s sweeter cousin in bright yellow (top right), Le Cocon de Lyon. The cocon resembles the silk worm’s cocoon, paying homage to the silk-weavers of Lyon.

apothecary jars of traditional sweets from all around France at the Bonbon au Palais

Barley sugars, jellies and fast emptying jars of salted caramels from Normandy and Brittany line the pristine, glossy white shelves.

almond marzipan calisson speciality French sweets from Provence

How many times have I visited family in Provence but I never knew about the Calisson de St. Rémy?  It’s not quite as sweet as it’s popular and brighter yellow oval Calisson cousin since it’s made with different almonds.

spicy sweet piments of Vaucluse, candy speciality in Provence

Mother-in-Law in the Vaucluse has certainly never introduced me to these spicy sweets, either. Instead she orders traditional candied fruits from Apt from the factory shop by the kilo.  I’ve still got two kilos of candied ginger and orange peel left to add to desserts and macarons.

french candy sticks and love heart lollipops at the best sweet shop in Paris

I’ll have to return with my girls and our pocket money. There’s so much more to learn about French candies. Meanwhile, I’m hiding my Bonbon au Palais bag under my desk like a naughty squirrel. Georges said these delicacies can keep for up to 6 months so all the more reason for me to keep them aside and savour them on the palate (notice the play of French words with palet/palate and palais/palace).

the best regional French sweet confiseries

These Tas de Sel from the Loire (literally translated as salt stacks) and Tétons de la Reine Margot from Pau in the Pyrénées-Atlantique, (meaning Queen Margot’s nipples) are definitely for secret, special, oh-là-là moments.

Queen Margot's nipples tetons de la reine chocolates

Like this wonderful moment.  I’ll tell you why next time, but meanwhile we’re finally off on that summer holiday we cancelled last year.  I just need to taste another téton de la Reine Margot, just to ensure my chocolate palate gets the taste of orange and the Cognac.

A bientôt!

Le Bonbon au Palais
19, rue Monge
75005 Paris

Metro: Cardinal Lemoine

 

A Chocolate Easter Walk in Paris

Come and join me on a brisk Easter chocolate walk in Paris’ Easter Playground! I say brisk, as it’s still remarkably chilly for this time of year but let’s be optimistic: it’s a great temperature for transporting Easter chocolates.

Swinging over to Fauchon at Place de la Madeleine, it’s showtime in the City of Lights. Their chocolate eggs look like they’re dancing the Cancan.

Their bird-patterned chocolate eggs are also decked out in chic, cheeky pink bows. Chick, chick.

Pierre Hermé has a more mini chocolate egg design for his Easter windows this year. But don’t be April fooled, his bigger oeufs are nesting inside.

While Patrick Roger‘s window creations are not quite so mini, except for the piles of bells and fritures, or small chocolate/praline fish and seafood. Why fish? The French celebrate April Fools’ Day as Poisson d’avril and somehow chocolate fish find their way into sachets. I love having an excuse to munch on these while patiently waiting for the Easter eggs.

How can you transport this gigantic sculpture from Roger’s Madeleine boutique? No wonder they didn’t transfer this egg to the sculpture gallery upstairs. It’s just about as big as the staircase!

Spot the odd one out? No chocolate in this window since we’re at Brentano’s American Bookstore at l’Opéra but they always have such a cute vitrine next to Hermé’s boutique.

There’s another odd photo here, too. I cheated, as this isn’t taken in Paris but from my ‘local’ chocolaterie in St Germain-en-Laye. Pascal le Gac makes the most exquisite chocolates and macarons.

Speaking of macarons, check out Gerard Mulot‘s take on a giant multi-coloured macaron Easter egg! Apologies for the shiny windows and a stationary fire truck interfering in this photo, but it’s better than seeing the pompiers and all the folk peering in, too.

Arnaud Larher‘s chocolate Angry Birds are causing a lèche-vitrine (window-licking) sensation in rue de Seine with disgruntled bird game lovers. Emile, the Gorilla looks rather friendly. Personally, I prefer his Springtime macaron towers with Easter Bunny chocolate lollies.

It’s time for the bell at playground time at Pierre Marcolini’s boutique in Rue de Seine, Paris. His limited edition chocolate bell is designed to celebrate the 850th anniversary of Notre Dame Cathedral. My lucky children not only  had the Easter Bunny deliver their chocolate eggs, but also the French chocolate bells, signifying the bells ringing from the Vatican. Somehow, I just couldn’t explain to them how the bells managed to leave the chocolate for them. Bad Bunny-mummy person.

Meanwhile, the chocolate an pastry walk continues with Context Travel. Next time you’re in Paris, come and join in the fun. For Easter, enjoy these chocolate bonus recipes below:

Chocolate Layer Cake

Chocolate Cream Desserts

Chocolate Bacon Macarons

Chocolate Mendiant Easter Bonnets for Chocolate Macarons

Chocolate & Beetroot Fondants

Chocolate Pots de Crème (guest from That Skinny Chick Can Bake – appropriate, no?)

Passion Fruit and Milk Chocolate Crème Brûlée

Chocolate Crunchy Trifle (Katerina, guest from Diethood)

Chocolate Chip, Banana & Almond Cakes

Don’t be caught out on 1st April: Poisson d’avril!

Just one question: when do you have your Easter hunt? If it’s on Monday 1st April, be warned. The Easter Bunny may play a few tricks…

Happy Easter weekend!

Update: Come over to French Village Diaries, where I’m being interviewed by Jacqueline with some fun questions for her France et Moi series.

Patrick Roger’s Chocolate Cake for Easter

Keeping the kids amused during the French school holidays is always fun. Art museums in Paris? What about checking out sculptures … made entirely out of chocolate?

There’s been much hype around chocolatier Patrick Roger’s new boutique at La Madeleine so it was time to enjoy the Patrick Roger experience in Paris with his out-of-the-box chocolate sculptures under one roof. As the tourists poured in and we looked around for the rest of the sculptures, we discovered the upstairs gallery was closed to the public. What? You mean…? We …. can’t see any more today? Dark chocolate lumps formed in our throats.

Chocolatier Patrick Roger’s chocolate sculptures at La Madeleine, Paris

Tails between our legs, we headed down Rue Royale. There’s yet another Patrick Roger boutique around the corner but attention, it’s well hidden. If there are too many people in the boutique at Place de la Madeleine, don’t waste your time – whizz over to the other one at the end of Cité Berryer, Village Royal (off Rue Royale on the right), just 5 minutes’ walk away.

As if by chocolate magic, Patrick Roger appeared that evening on France’s popular TV show, Top Chef. He was hosting a Chocolate Cake Challenge. The competing professional chefs’ faces were a picture when they saw Patrick’s alluring cheeky face appear but displaying his grand ‘MOF’ uniform: Meilleur Ouvrier de France, 2000. As he demonstrated his recipe, it called our next holiday activity; Amateur but macaron-style!

Patrick Roger chocolate cake

THIS is when I can eat out of a bucket!

This was also a good excuse to use the most exquisite cooking chocolate from our local chocolate factory. As the Chocolaterie du Pecq only open their doors to the public in December, I’d gone bananas and stocked up with a whole cupboard of their products! The paradox? They supply their chocolate to Menard’s La Chocolatière in Tours, where Patrick Roger started out his career!

Patrick Roger Chocolate Cake

By Patrick Roger for Top Chef

Cake:
5 egg whites
210g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
100g flour, sifted
50g unsweetened cocoa powder
100g butter
80g hazelnuts, finely chopped

1. Using a mixer, whisk the egg whites, adding the caster sugar gradually until you have firm peaks. Add the egg yolk and continue to mix.

2. Fold in the flour with a large spatula and add the sifted cocoa powder. Gently melt the butter in a saucepan and mix into the batter with the hazelnuts.

3. Pour into a rectangular mould (I used a silicone rectangular cake mould) and bake 30 mins at 160°C. (I found with my oven that I needed to bake it for 40 minutes at this temperature).

4. When cool, cut the biscuit into 3 slices horizontally. (As you can see, I didn’t cut them as precisely as Patrick Roger did and regretted this afterwards!)

Patrick Roger chocolate cake

Syrup:
100g water
100g granulated sugar
100g rum
2  vanilla pods
the zest of an orange

5. In a saucepan, boil the above ingredients and scrape out the vanilla seeds from the pods.

6. Using a brush, cover each layer with syrup.

Patrick Roger chocolate cake

Chocolate fun for the school holidays

Ganache: (600g)
300g cream
40g honey
40g butter
300g dark chocolate (I used 64%)

7. Boil the cream with the honey, and pour onto the broken chocolate bits and whisk gently. Add the butter. Mix using a hand blender.

8. Cover the biscuit layers with the ganache, one on top of the other. Leave to rest for 30 mins then cover the cake with cocoa powder.

9. Using a stencil, dust with icing sugar to decorate.

Patrick Roger chocolate cake

Bear footprints? Well if you saw the weather in Paris last week, it snowed. Big time!

We were just left with un petit problème: we had too many chocolate macaron shells. A few of them managed to eat up the little extra ganache that was left but the rest have gone straight in to a pastry box in the freezer ‘bank’. That way the next chocolate dessert can be decorated with macarons with no effort at all!

Patrick Roger chocolate cake

Our family verdict? For chocolate dessert fans who don’t like their cake too sweet and appreciate the intense chocolate flavours coming through, this is for you. Merci beaucoup, Patrick Roger! NOW, can we get to see more sculptures?

Hey – was it you who walked on our chocolate cake? Patrick Roger’s Grizzly chocolate sculpture