No matter what your religious beliefs or disbeliefs may be, I think the best time of year to visit Paris chocolate shops is around Easter.
Both Patrick Roger and Jean-Charles Rochoux are selling actual eggshells that have been hollowed out and filled, first with a coating of chocolate, and then praline. If you are not impressed by this then there is something wrong with you.
Rochoux has gone rococo as ever, with a jungle themed display in the window (complete with noises coming from a small CD player precariously perched under the awning) with chocolate elephants, chocolate frogs, and chocolate crocodiles, echoing the croc-skin motif on his packaging. (Unfortunately the afternoon sun made it impossible to take a picture that did not include a reflection of the less interesting scene on rue d’Assas.)
Inside were baskets of different sized and colored eggs, decorated with fluffy feathers.
Yellow chicks sat inside candy eggs, kept company by ladybugs.
If Rochoux is the Uffizi, then Roger is MOMA, although I think Venus would look lovely floating on this shell:
The marine theme continues with a few poissons d’Avril on the shelves (including a chocolate tin of chocolate sardines, lid curled, made of chocolate), but birds abound. The centerpiece on display in all of his shops right now is some version of this tiny-headed hen.
But there are others:
All of this is edible, of course, which only adds to the mystique of what these guys do. There is no question that they are among the most skilled chocolate craftsmen in Paris. But this isn’t just craft. It’s art. Delicious, delicious art.
Jean Charles Rochoux 16 rue d’Assas 75006 Paris +33 (0)1 42 84 29 45
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