Club des croqueurs top 10 chocolatiers

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Olivier Bajard - Perpignan and Collioure

The Midi Libre have published the Club des croqueurs top 10 chocolatiers in the region.  Gearing up to the end of year celebrations, one of the undisputed stars of the dining table is chocolate!  The Midi Libre have designed their own regional selection to spotlight 10 stars.

Formerly a monopoly of the Swiss and Belgians, it has since acquired real letters of nobility in France. “We have seen the emergence of craftspeople and enthusiasts who make French chocolate,” explained Jacques Pessis, president of the Club des croqueurs de chocolat, who publish a guide every year.

Coup de coeur at Narbonne

Narbonne chocolatier Jerome Bories, has a shop Le Temps du Chocolat. Since the 1980s, he has made it a passion. “A chocolatier can not talk to you about chocolate if he has not been to plantations all over the world and touched pods,” he said. He favours noble origins,, like Sao Tome, for which he admits a “coup de coeur”.  He sells around 30 different chocolates, but he put forward two “exceptional” chocolates: the Chuao, from Venezuela, and the Fortunato, from Peru.

Passion in Montpellier

Another passionate chocolatier in the region is Thierry Papereux, who has been in Montpellier for thirteen years at the foot of the Saint-Roch church and, since July, in the halls at Lez.  He works with many origins, mainly the South American “grand crus”, for “the finesse of cocoa with small productions”. The artisan chocolatier works a lot with fresh herbs in infusion. “I’m surprised because people are wanting chocolate praline more and more ,” he said.  Chocolates in tablets are also very popular, and he offers a choice of 30.

Le club des croqueurs

North of Montpellier, in Jacou, we have Patrice Gonzalez. He works “respecting the French traditions with cocoa beans of the ‘grand crus’ of Madagascar, Venezuela, Ecuador”.

Not far from Montpellier, in Saint-Jean-de-Védas, Maureen Colombier is at the head of the Vedas Chocolaterie. The icing on the cake? The real hot chocolate.

Clermont-l’Hérault – tradition and innovation

A little further west, in Clermont-l’Hérault, the Chocolaterie du Blason is directed by Bernard Manguin.  This is classified by the club des croqueurs as among the 100 best chocolatiers in France.  A chocolate maker who “mixes tradition and innovation” in his creations. “I created my own chocolate, 80% Mexican and 20% Venezuelan, with a cocoa content of 71.8%,” he said proudly. He offers no less than 35 different kinds of chocolates, and each year he launches four new novelties.

Through the seasons

Another chocolatier of the region was elected among the top 100 of the club des croqueurs, it is the Chocolaterie Agnès et Pierre, in Rodez. A passionate couple, “always looking for flavours, raw materials, creations”. “Our specialty is candies, whose flavours ekoke the seasons and travel,” explained Pierre.

In Uzès, in the Gard, another passionate chocolatier is Philippe Deschamps, who has been working for thirty years.  This season he is mostly working with dark chocolate. “Particular ganaches, very strong tastes, especially from South America,” he said from his shop “entirely dedicated to chocolate”.

Another Gard chocolatier: la maison Courtin, in Sommières is noted, where you can find “100% pure cocoa”.

The “bean-to-bar, a philosophy”

In the PO, at Perpignan and Collioure, we have Olivier Bajard, world famous chocolatier and pastry and dessert chef.

In this same department, in Prades, Frédéric Torres has been a recognised artisan since 2002.  From the bean to the tablet, he roasts, grinds and kneads on site.  As he says, “the bean-to-bar is my working philosophy.”

To quote Jacques Pessis, “chocolate is a real moment of happiness”.

Instead of buying mass produced chocolate this year, why not treat yourselves or your friends to chocolates from one of Occitanie’s master chocolatiers.

Source: Midi Libre