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Life in Rural France

Living the French Dream….The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious

A French chocolate shop window with an old bicycle and cart outside

The Love Affair with French Chocolate | Why France loves chocolate

My love affair with French chocolate

Bonjour mes amis! Today, as it’s practically Easter, we’re going to dive into the delicious world of French chocolate.

The French are known for their love of food and wine, and chocolate is no exception. Whether it’s a rich hot chocolate on a cold winter day or a decadent chocolate tart for dessert, the French know how to indulge in the finer things in life.

So, if you’re a chocolate lover, then France is the place to be. 

From the famous chocolatiers of Paris to the chocolate festivals held throughout the country, there’s always something chocolate-related to discover. 

And if you’re looking for a fun and modern twist on French chocolate, try a Nutella crepe or a chocolate croissant – two delicious treats that combine the best of French cuisine and chocolate.

Where did French chocolate originate from?

A bowl of cocoa powder and squares of French choclate

France’s first taste of chocolate occurred in 1615 when a 14-year-old Anne of Austria gifted the delicacy to her fiancé, King Louis XIII. The chocolate was presented in a chest as a valuable treasure, which it absolutely was. 

Chocolate at that time wasn’t readily available and was considered to be very exotic. Only royalty and aristocrats of society could afford it.

There were no chocolate shops where you could buy some whenever you fancied a sweet treat in the way you can today.

They also didn’t eat it in the same as we do now.

Initially, the cocoa bean paste was consumed in liquid forms, like hot chocolate. French confectioners would blend it with water or milk and enhance the flavour with a variety of spices such as cloves, and vanilla. 

It was said to have a calming and soothing effect on those that drank it, not to mention it was considered to be an aphrodisiac.

The introduction of chocolate to the French Court

An old picture of the royal court enjoying French chocolate
(La tasse de chocolat (1768) by Jean-Baptiste Charpentier)

During the reign of Louis XIV, the Sun King, the popularity of chocolate drinks began to spread throughout Versailles

But it really came into its own at the French court with Louis XV who absolutely loved the drink. This was probably helped by the fact that Madame du Barry, one of his mistresses, considered it to be as good as taking a lover.

Louis XV would actually prepare the hot chocolate himself in the kitchen of his private apartment.

There was a whole ceremony around it from the way it was prepared to how it was served and then drunk.

Louis XV’s Hot Chocolate Recipe

Like many things from the Palace of Versailles, Louis XV’s hot chocolate recipe has been cherished, preserved and kept safe. 

Fancy recreating the royal hot chocolate for yourself, as it was written at the time in 1755 by the court chef Menon?

“Place an equal number of bars of chocolate and cups of water in a cafetiere and boil on a low heat for a short while; when you are ready to serve, add one egg yolk for four cups and stir over a low heat without allowing to boil. It is better if prepared a day in advance. Those who drink it every day should leave a small amount as flavouring for those who prepare it the next day. Instead of an egg yolk, one can add a beaten egg white after having removed the top layer of froth. Mix in a small amount of chocolate from the cafetiere then add to the cafetiere and finish as with the egg yolk.”

Louis XV Source: www.en.chateauversailles.fr

What was the role of the “chocolate maker to the queen?

When the young Marie Antoinette came to Versailles to marry Louis XV1 she had her own “Chocolate Maker to the Queen.” 

Rumour has it she drank as many as 10 cups of hot chocolate each day. Drinking it Viennese style, topped with cream, it would often be accompanied by a plate of macarons, one of her favourites.

Her chocolatier was responsible for creating new recipes that would hopefully delight her palate using flavours such as almond and orange blossom.

But it was Louis XVI’s pharmacist and physician, Sulpice Debauve, who was eventually appointed as the King’s official chocolatier. 

He created a recipe that blended medicine with chocolate to help Marie-Antoinette disguise the taste of the bitter medicine she took for her headaches. The small pastilles became so popular they were nicknamed “the Queen’s coins.” 

Debauve et Gallais remains one of the only independent royal chocolate makers still in existence.

Why do the French love chocolate so much?

A board filled with French chocolate croissants

The French obsession with chocolate has slowly developed over the years. Their love affair with chocolate is deeply ingrained in their culinary and cultural traditions.

Traditional French chocolate is dark and bitter. It’s the least sweetened chocolate in the world and the least fattening.

In fact, French chocolate is said to have between  62-80% cocoa content.

That doesn’t mean you can’t find praline, white and chocolate, because you can. But, it’s the dark bitter chocolate that you see most.

Chocolate appears everywhere even at breakfast. How many times have you seen a French person enjoying a Pain au Chocolat?

I mean, we all know the French tradition of visiting a boulangerie for their daily bread and pastries.

Then of course there’s Nutella. The French go nuts over it. You’ll find it in cakes, on  toast, inside crepes or even on a spoon straight out of the jar.

And I haven’t even mentioned desserts. Every time I go to the patisserie counter those chocolate tarts are calling me, loudly. 

From chocolate mousses, eclairs and tarts there are almost too many chocolate desserts to choose from. You’ll find some great recipes here >>>

Why is French chocolate so expensive?

A blue board with piecxes of broken French chocolate

Chocolate making is considered to be an art in France. Chocolatiers are highly trained and skilled and there is definitely some snobbery around the best chocolate in France.

Remember, we’re not talking about buying a bar of chocolate off the shelf in Intermarche or SuperU.

French chocolatiers handcraft their chocolate into beautiful works of art using traditional techniques. 

They use premium ingredients to create artisanal chocolates with unique flavours and textures, which all add to the cost of production.

Remember, these chocolatiers are known for their expertise and innovation in creating unique and exquisite chocolates, and that’s something you pay top dollar for.

French chocolate is amongst some of the best in the world and it has the history to go with it.

How much chocolate is produced in France each year?

As one of the largest European producers of chocolate France produces approximately 700 thousand tonnes every year. Of which around 280 thousand tonnes is exported.

They rank in the top ten countries in Europe for their consumption of chocolate. On average, 7.3kg is consumed per person per year in France.

What does French chocolate taste like?

French chocolate tends to have a bold and bitter taste to it. But like with most things there are plenty of different styles.

My favourite French chocolate is the truffle. That delicious mixture of cream, cocoa and vanilla all blended together into a little ball is the perfect combination of bitter and sweet.

Tasting French chocolate: top tips

Just as there is an art to wine tasting the same goes for chocolate. Using your five senses will allow you to discover the full experience of chocolate tasting.

I was told by a chocolatier that you don’t just eat French chocolate, you savour it.

So sticking with our five senses there are five steps to chocolate tasting:

Step 1: Take some time to really look at the chocolate and notice its colour and intensity.

Step 2: pick your chocolate up and really understand what it feels like. Touch it and see if it’s hard and resistant or melting in your hand.

Step 3: listen to the snap when you break your chocolate. Is it dull or sharp?

Step 4: lift your chocolate to your nose and smell it. According to experts between 80-90 % of what we taste comes from our sense of smell. 

Step 5: pop it in your mouth and let it rest on your tongue for a minute. Enjoy the sensation of the chocolate in your mouth and look for the different aromatic notes.

And don’t forget to cleanse your palette with a glass of water in between each chocolate you taste. Just the same as you do when tasting wine.

The role of chocolate at Easter in France

An artisan French chocolate Easter Egg with small chocolate eggs surrounding it

Chocolate is certainly a big part of Easter in France and it’s a chance for the French to really go to town.

Although chocolate eggs are now more mainstream, originally it was all about the chocolate bells (les cloches de Pâques). 

The church bells stopped ringing from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday and supposedly flew away to see the Pope. They’d then come back with chocolate, or so the legend says.

But if it’s extravagance you’re looking for then you don’t need to go much further than Maison du Chocolat. 

Every year the Chef Chocolatier presents its Easter chocolate range. 

In 2023, Nicolas Cloiseau is showcasing a collection called “Easter Flowers” with a beautifully crafted chocolate floral bouquet selling for a whopping €2,500.00.

The Best French Chocolate Shops

Melted French chocolate in a bowl with cocoa pwder and chunks of chocolate pieces

Paris definitely claims the top spot when it comes to artisan chocolate shops. If you get the chance the next time you visit Paris here are three you really shouldn’t miss:

La Maison du Chocolat – an institution when it comes to French chocolate 

Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse, Manufacture à Paris – his haute couture creations are legendary

Debauve and Gallais – the official chocolatier of Louis XVI and creator of the Queen’s Coins

Taking a Tour of French Chocolate

To really experience French chocolate why not do one of the chocolate tasting tours in Paris? There are so many chocolatiers to choose from it can be hard to know where to start.

These three tours are all highly rated and offer you a great selection to really tickle your taste buds. All three tours have the option for an English-speaking guide.

The Chocolate and Pastry Tour

Who wouldn’t want to combine chocolate and pastry? This tour is limited to 8 people to ensure you get a more personalised experience. 

You can choose from two tours both set in historic parts of Paris, Saint-Germain-des-Prés or Marais.

Both are afternoon walking tours and you’ll take in the sights of Paris as you get to sample lots of great pastries and chocolate.


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We loved our pastry tour. It was full of information about Paris along with so many tasty treats that represent the Parisian culture. I would recommend it!

The Original Chocolate Tasting Tour with Pastries and Macaron in Saint-Germain

Saint-Germain-des-Prés was originally all fields but is now a famous part of Paris. You’ll spend 2.5 hours walking around this Parisian district hearing more about the history of chocolate in France. 

Heading to some of the famous chocolatiers Paris has to offer you’ll enjoy sampling French classics such as chocolate éclairs, macaroons, and truffles.

This tour is also limited to just 8 people.


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Perfect Guide. We had a great guide and he knew his history of the city - well worth the money. Chocolates were amazing and would recommend going on this tour, it’s lovely to see young people so in love with their city.

Paris Chocolate Walking Tour

Billed as most likely to sell out, you’ll enjoy free tastings at five of the most exclusive chocolate boutiques whilst walking around the fantastic 1st arrondissement in Paris. 

For two hours you can lose yourself in the art of chocolate taking in the sights such as the Louvre and Place de Concorde as you go

This tour is also limited to just 8 people and lasts for two hours.


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Great Way to Taste Paris! The tour was amazing! I love how knowledgeable the guide was. I also loved how each guest was able to tailor the tour to their liking. For example, I love dark chocolate, and for each shop, we stopped in, I was able to request a dark chocolate sample!

Conclusion: The love affair with French chocolate

Hopefully, you now know a little more about why the French love chocolate so much. And maybe you’re about to go and make Louis XV’s famous hot chocolate recipe for yourself.

I’ll be paying a visit to my favourite chocolatier in Angouleme, Chocolaterie Duceau, to get my Easter chocolates this year. Although I won’t be spending €2,500.00, probably more like €20.


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About Me

I’m Kylie….

And I live in the beautiful Charente region of France having made the move back in 2016, and I’ve never looked back.

Now, I’m sharing everything I’ve learned about living in rural France. From visiting wineries & chateaux to negotiating French admin and learning the language.


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