Rue de la Roquette is a narrow, lively shopping street not far from Place de la Bastille in the 11th arrondissement. In addition to shops, bars and eateries, the street has many alleys with courtyards, where many small businesses are located.
Here, the famous chef Alain Ducasse has chosen a former Renault garage of about 320 m2 for his workshop ‘La Manufacture de Chocolat’. Together with pastry chef Nicolas Berger, Ducasse has tried to revitalize traditional work methods: making chocolate in a way that converges with the way of mass production.
Throughout Europe, they have gone looking for old machines, which they have overhauled. Cocoa plantations in countries like Venezuela, Trinidad, Madagascar, Indonesia and Peru have been visited to find beans of the highest quality. Every country, every region, but also every batch of beans has its own unique flavor after all.
Early 2013, the artisanal chocolate shop opens after years of preparation. At courtyard No 40, you can catch a glimpse of the craft process.
You see the sacks with cocoa beans shelved and how the beans are sorted for quality. You hear the sound of machines roasting beans, blowing away cocoa shells and filtering. The bins at the mill are also visible. The process of pressing, rolling and conching (rolling and kneading to make the chocolate softer and finer) takes place outside your field of vision. After this, the chocolate is poured into tablet molds or processed into things like bonbons and truffles.
Yes, you enter the world of pure chocolate at number 40.
The aroma of cocoa floats up in the store that is part of the workshop. Concrete floors, masonry walls, the use of steel and glass give the room a somewhat rough, sober and authentic look. Here, the true chocolate lover can really enjoy himself/herself. Naturally, Ducasse chocolate in basic, yet elegant carton packing is priced differently than e.g. bonbons or bars in the supermarket.