A l’Etoile d’Or & Bernachon chocolate

Having read raving reviews from my favorite Paris blogger David Lebovitz on A l’Etoile d’Or (blog post #1, #2), I knew I had to visit this shop when I visited Paris in 2011.  Owner Denise Acabo (can’t miss her pony tail!) has been selling sweets at this store for 38 years, and shows no sign of slowing down.  She is absolutely passionate and knowledgeable about each artisan confection and chocolate she sells…particularly Bernachon chocolate:

The main reason to visit A l’Etoile d’Or is simply because it’s the only place outside of the original shop in Lyon that sells Bernachon chocolate. If you’ve never had anything from Bernachon, close your laptop and get on the next flight to Lyon. Bernachon is one of the handful of chocolate shops in the entire world that makes the chocolate they use from scratch. That’s right, folks. They buy sacks of cacao beans, then roast and grind them into pure, dark bittersweet chocolate. [via]

Denise’s personal recommendation: the 62 % cocoa chocolates (higher cocoa % = more bitter).  I would agree they are quite good!  Here’s Denise teaching me about her chocolates:

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