Bordeaux may be known as the Cité du Vin, but no visit to Bordeaux is complete without tasting some Bordeaux chocolate. You’ll experience some of the best chocolate shops in the Nouvelle Aquitaine.
Although it’s actually Bayonne to the south of Bordeaux which is the chocolate capital of France, Bordeaux certainly gives it a run for its money.
And never one to say no to chocolate, it wasn’t a hardship to do some research on Bordeaux chocolate and the best shops to visit.
A Quick History of Bordeaux Chocolate
Chocolate first made its way to France when Anne of Austria came to marry Louis XIII in 1615. The couple married in Bordeaux and Anne brought the chocolate with her as part of her wedding dowry.
Chocolate wasn’t readily available during this period and was considered to be very valuable. And Bordeaux at this time, was an important port where goods, such as New World spices and other exotic produce like cocoa, were received.
And so the French love affair with chocolate began. But it wasn’t till 1776 that the first chocolate factory opened in Bayonne, a couple of hours south of Bordeaux.
Not far away in Biarritz, The Planète Musée du Chocolate showcases France’s history of chocolate.
The Oldest Chocolate Factory in Bordeaux
In 1825, Paul Louit opened the first small chocolate factory in Bordeaux. When he died in 1836, his wife took over the running of the factory and traded it as Veuve Louit et Fils. But it wasn’t until her eldest and youngest sons joined forces and founded Louit Frères et Compagnie that things really took off.
They diversified into other products, such as mustard and grew throughout France. By the 19th century, the company was producing 2,000 tonnes of chocolate.
Unfortunately, during the Second World War, when cocoa beans were hard to come by, things took a downturn. The company was eventually dissolved in 1957 with only the mustard remaining, produced by an Italian company in Genoa.
Bordeaux Chocolate and Wine
Believe it or not, wine when paired with chocolate is a match made in heaven. I know because I’ve tried it, and it’s an explosion of combined flavours.
A few things to bear in mind when pairing wine with chocolate:
- If you’re tasting a darker wine, then pair it with a darker chocolate
- A chocolate bar that has salt will make the wine seem sweeter
- A fruity wine will bring out the fruitiness of the chocolate
- Keep the big wines for the more dense chocolate
- If your chocolate is sweeter than your wine it will make the wine taste more bitter
If you’re looking to take a wine tour whilst you’re in Bordeaux, The Best Bordeaux Wine Tours has everything you need to decide where you want to go.
THE BEST WINE & CHOCOLATE TASTING IN BORDEAUX
To really sample the best pairing of wine and chocolate then you’ll love the two-hour tasting with the team at CUV.
They’ve partnered with renowned chocolatier Saunion where you’ll enjoy 4 different wines paired with the perfect chocolate.
The Famous Bordeaux Chocolate Shops
If you’re doing a DIY tour of the chocolate shops in Bordeaux, then definitely add these four chocolate houses to your list.
Cadiot-Badie was founded in 1826 by Jean-Emile Vène and his brother. It was in their workshop that the cocoa beans were ground using a steam engine to give them their flavour.
In 1903 Antoinette Badie took over the Allées de Tourny store and was then succeeded by Lucienne Cadiot in 1939, who created the Cadiot-Badie brand as we know it today.
It’s their craftsmanship of chocolate developed over the years that has made them famous.
If you love cherries and rum, then make sure you try their Guinettes Bordelaises, sour cherries covered in chocolate and kirsch.
They have three shops, the main store in Bordeaux next to Opera, as well as one in Pessac and Gradignan.
Address: 26, Allées de Tourny, 33000 Bordeaux
La Maison Darricau
Contrary to popular belief the store was not opened in 1915 but in 1904 by a pastry chef of the Imperial Court of Russia and the King of Spain, Landais Joseph Darricau.
It was originally a pastry-ice cream shop, and it wasn’t until thirty years later that Rodolphe Garrigue, great grandfather to one the current owners Clément, that chocolate was offered.
In 1994 Michel Darricau and his wife took over and started focusing purely on chocolate, with their son Clément joining them in 2015.
It’s truly a family business handed down from generation to generation and is now a father-and-son business.
All their chocolates are handmade daily, and one of their specialities is le grain de sable (grain of salt). They are praline with Italian hazelnut sprinkled in salt – divine.
Address: 7 bis rue de la Vieille Tour, 33000 AND 1 rue de Fleurus 33000, Bordeaux
Chocolaterie Saunion is the oldest chocolate shop in Bordeaux and has a fun and fascinating history. The story starts in 1893 when philanthropist, Monsieur Saunion, purchased Confiserie Bordelaise for one of his nieces and renamed it Chocolaterie Saunion.
He was a savvy businessman having made his fortune trading cod liver oil in the USA. In order to make a name for the chocolate shop, he had the name of the business printed on the chocolate wrappers, something that hadn’t been done before.
It worked, and the chocolate shop soon established itself as the place to go for chocolate. I love how innovative this was for that period of time – the start of marketing as we know it today.
He later sold the shop to the great-great aunt of the current owner’s mum, but the name stayed the same. Now there is nobody in the business by the name of Saunion, but the chocolate-making tradition continues nonetheless.
In 1934, the workshop and store moved permanently to 56, Cours Georges-Clémenceau, where they are now.
And in 2008, the chocolate house was elected by the Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat as one of the 12 best chocolate makers in France.
Having one the prestigious Gold Table Award from Club des Croqueurs de Chocolat four times, it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing.
Their speciality is the Guinettes Bordelaises, cherries soaked in kirsch and covered in chocolate.
Address: 56, cours Georges Clemenceau, 33000 Bordeaux
Hasnaâ Chocolats Grands Crus
Although lacking the history of the other shops the story is still a good one. It was during a stint on France’s version of the TV programme Masterchef, which Hasnaâ entered after a bet with her husband, that the dream of being a chocolatier began.
After the show, she completed her CAP chocolatier-confiseur but was unable to find anyone to hire her. Not to be beaten she decided to open her own shop in Bordeaux with a second store joining it in Arachon.
But it’s her partnership with the Chateaux of Bordeaux that fascinates me. The combination of wine and chocolate is irresistible.
One of these collaborations is with Château Léoville-Poyferré. Together they’ve created a gift box that includes two Chocolat Lachua 72% bean-to-bar chocolate bars with a bottle of Château Léoville-Poyferré 2015. You can also do a wine and chocolate tasting tour at the chateau which pairs Hasnaâ’s with the perfect wines.
Her truffles, filled with a Léoville-Poyferré chocolate ganache, are a chocolate lover’s dream.
Address: 4 rue de la Vieille Tour, 33000 Bordeaux AND 8 place Lucien de Gracia 33120, Arachon
The Best Bordeaux Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate came into its own during the reign of Louis XV who had his very own recipe. But it wasn’t just the ingredients that made his hot chocolate famous, it was the whole ritual behind it.
From the way it was made to how it was served everything was done to his precise instructions.
For me, the best place to sample hot chocolate is Miremont Bordeaux, at 5 Rue Buffon.
The Best Bordeaux Chocolate Tours
If you’re short on time and want to make the most of Bordeaux, so you don’t miss out on anything, then a guided tour is the way to go.
In Bordeaux, there are quite a few tours you can do, and although not solely dedicated to chocolate, these foodie tours are absolutely worth it.
Bordeaux Private Bakery Food Tour
This walking tour is an exclusive and private boulangeries and pâtisseries experience lasting up to 3 hours. You’ll sample eclairs, pain au chocolat, macarons, and so much more. But the best bit, as part of the tour, you’ll enjoy a tasting at Hasnaâ Chocolats Grands Crus.
Bordeaux: Food Tour in the Historic District
This is your chance to combine history with food in this three-hour tour that includes chocolate, wine, pastries, cheese and more. Starting in the Église Saint-Pierre, you’ll visit the covered market in Bordeaux and discover the history of the food you’re about to sample.
Conclusion: Why visiting the Bordeaux Chocolate Shops is a Must
With so much history in chocolate making, passed down through the generations, don’t miss out on the delights of chocolate in Bordeaux.
And if you’re stuck for other things to do whilst you’re in town, why not try one of Bordeaux’s top ten museums?