chocolats apéritifs au fromage (chocolate-cheese aperitifs)

I know I’ve prattled on endlessly about Pierre Hermé and he will forever remain my favorite simply because he allowed me to walk through his doors and experience the wonder of his chocolate factory, sans wonka-vator, first hand. But I would be remiss if I didn’t give fair share to some of the others, and there are many, outstanding chocolatiers in Paris.

Jean-Paul Hévin is one of them and actually the first ‘haute couture’ chocolate I savored here six years ago. His store rue Saint-Honoré was the most breath-taking I’d ever seen and Pierre Hermé no doubt took note of it when he designed his signature store on rue Bonaparte. There was certainly nothing like this in San Francisco when I was growing up, much less sleepy little Menlo Park, so I was in awe, a veritable ‘kid in a candy store’. He now has 4 stores in Paris and 4 stores in Japan so if you are heading west, or east for that matter, check them out!

Since Jean-Paul Hévin’s first award in 1979 (a gold medal at the Concours International Gastronomique–International Culinary Competition–in Arpajon, France), he has won every competition offered, hitting his crescendo in 1986 when he was awarded the highest honor possible, the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman in France) award in the pastry-confectionery division.

A friend I cooked with last year at the Cannes Film Festival was in France for the vendage (grape picking) in Burgundy and swung up to Paris for a few days. She thoughtfully handed me a beautiful little box and my eyes lit up as I’d know that box anywhere. Same as if you handed me a little blue box with a white ribbon. It could have a rock in it but if it’s in that little blue box… anyways, my little brown box thankfully did not have a rock but a sampling of Jean-Paul Hévin’s chocolate-covered cheese collection!

I know, I’m a little slow on the draw as these came out as part of his millennium collection but better late…as they say. I’d never tasted such delights and was so excited to savor new combinations of flavors and textures, in this case chocolate and cheese and some herbs or nuts. His chocolats apéritifs au fromage (chocolate-cheese aperitifs) include, from the top clockwise:

Pont l’Evêque parsemée de thym ~ Pont l’Evêque (cow’s milk cheese from Normandy) sprinkled (literally: strewn) with thyme

Chèvre parsemée de noisette ~ Goat’s milk cheese sprinkled with hazelnuts

Roquefort parsemée de noix ~ Blue Cheese sprinkled with walnuts

Epoisse parsemée de cumin ~ Epoisse (cow’s milk cheese from Burgundy) sprinkled with cumin.

In the interest of full disclosure and fair journalism, I judiciously sampled all of them and it’s a toss up between the Roquefort and the Epoisse. My favorite cheese is Epoisse but it’s hard to beat the tangy, luscious Roquefort. You’ll have to order some and decide for yourself!

Now if a few morsels by mail simply won’t suffice, and I can’t imagine how it could, you can always fly here and completely immerse yourself in this unctuous Parisian world via 2 Bay Area chocolate afficianados!

Author David Lebovitz, former pastry chef at Chez Panisse and a fellow Bay Area expat in Paris, offers his take on the best chocolatier in Paris as well as some other notables. When he’s not writing books or exploring hidden corners of Paris, David gives amazing chocolate tours and is a guest pastry chef at On Rue Tatin.

Berkeley’s own Leonard Pitt, founder of the aptly named Berkeley Chocolate Club, has written a book on the history of Paris, Promenades dans le Paris Disparu. When he is on this side of the pond, he gives chocolate tours (as well as historical tours) in Paris. I’m taking his chocolate tour tomorrow. I’ll report back…as soon as I recover from my sugar coma.


Jean-Paul Hévin

231, rue Saint-Honoré
75001 Paris
Tel : +33 (0)1 55 35 35 96
Fax : +33 (0)1 55 35 35 97

23 bis, avenue de la Motte-Picquet
75007 Paris
Tel : +33 (0)1 45 51 77 48
Fax : +33 (0)1 45 55 87 33

16, avenue de la Motte-Picquet
75007 Paris
Tel : +33 (0)1 45 51 99 49
Fax : +33 (0)1 45 51 28 19

3, rue Vavin
75006 Paris
Tel : +33 (0)1 43 54 09 85
Fax : +33 (0)1 40 46 97 51

Chocolats Apéritifs au Fromage 7 October,2005Cucina Testa Rossa

  • cedichou

    it’s turning into a tradition, but here I go anyway: it should be “chocolats apéritifs au fromage” without the e.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, give the gal a break! Typing in French, and on a French keyboard, ain’t easy. Let’s just appreciate her sharing her life in France…blemishes and all. Even many of the French can’t spell words in their own language.

  • cedichou

    Typing French on a French keyboard is actually easy. They are made for each other.

    Anonymous: feel free to disrespect the French language, and stay ignorant of the correct spelling.

    I believe part of the excellent job Cucina does (and the reason why I read her) is to share her life, but also to educate us about France and Paris. Thus the importance of the proper French spelling.

  • cucina testa rossa

    bonjour! thank you both for your very kind comments! they are very appreciated! as promised, here are some pics from my chocolate tour with leonard pitt.

  • Olivia

    So sad to discover that JPH will no longer ship to the US. I will have to find someone to smuggle me back some cheese chocolates! Lovely post – thanks so much for sharing!

  • cucina testa rossa

    thanks olivia! i’m heading back in december so am happy to bring back a box of two. anything to help franco-american relations…..


Cucina Testa Rossa

After a decade in Silicon Valley, Laura traded her keyboard for a cutting board and moved to New York City to immerse herself in food and wine studies and restaurant operations. She graduated from the French Culinary Institute where she studied under Master Chefs Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, and Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. While in New York, Laura cooked with some of the world’s most highly acclaimed chefs including Mario Lohninger (Danube), Morimoto, Mark Franz & Emily Luchetti (Farallon), Michael Romano (Union Square Café), Mario Batali, Marcella Hazan, Jonathan Cartwright (White Barn Inn), Martin Heierling (Bellagio), Dave Pasternack (Esca), Richard Reddington (Redd, Auberge du Soleil), and the legendary Alice Waters (Chez Panisse).

After working as the Back Kitchen Chef of Jacques Pépin’s PBS cooking show, “Fast Food, My Way”, Laura moved to France to cook her way around the country. She cooked at the Cannes Film Festival, then to the northwest corner of France, to Britanny, to cook on a lobster boat, then east to Paris to the world famous Pierre Hermé Patisserie where she made thousands of his macarons every day! Laura cooked for the fabulous Olivia de Havilland and interned at 3 Michelin Star Le Cinq under Chef Philippe Legendre and Pastry Chef Fabrice Lecleir. Laura was the executive chef and cooking instructor at the DaVinci Code chateau outside of Paris where she was on set during the filming of the movie.

In Fall 2007, Laura worked on Jacques Pepin’s most recent PBS television series as prop and food stylist. “More Fast Food, My Way” should air in the Spring of 2008. “My Keyboard for a Cutting Board ~ Adventures in a French kitchen v1.0”, Laura’s first book highlights her first three months cooking in France, was published in Summer 2006. Convivialité is her second book and will hopefully be published in the fall.

Laura now splits her time between Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area doing private chefing, teaching cooking classes and leading market tours when in Paris. Bon Appetit!

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