In France, there is a wonderful tradition around the humble chocolate Easter egg. Be it in small chocolate shops, or even local village bakers, all around the country, the display shelves are filled with fancy chocolate eggs, chickens, rabbits and fish (yes, that would be easter fish).
Out here in the countryside, the designs remain fairly traditional, but in Paris, among the top chocolatiers, creativity is let loose and the results can be breathtaking …. and delicious.
When my children were small we loved to buy special eggs or easter chocolate in Paris, so much more interesting than the commercial eggs that are always the same.
We thought you may like to see some of the Parisian Easter eggs that caught our eye this year:
We love the style Alain Ducasse chose this year! It is a return to the farm with geometric bunnies, hens, and eggs with sharp angles and modern shapes.
They are also offering cute little “Lapin à cacher” – bunnies to hide. Each is carefully wrapped in cellophane and perfect for quite the gourmet Easter egg hunt.
Alain Ducasse has several locations all over Paris, but we would recommend visiting Manufacture de Chocolat in the 11th arrondissement at 40 rue de la Roquette. Set a bit back from the road, the Manufacture is where Alain Ducasse produces their chocolate and it is quite incredible to see. The smell of the roasting cocoa beans and chocolate is noticeable even before you see the shop. As you arrive, look into the front window as you can usually see one of the machines at work. Inside though is where the fun starts, bars and bars of different kinds of chocolate, the smell is intoxicating, and in the center a glass case of chocolates.
À La Mére de Famille
One of the most charming chocolate shops in Paris and the oldest dating back to 1761. Their collections are always sweet. How cute is the mom with her chicks in an egg carton type buggy?
This year, their special chocolate egg is fashioned after penguins, celebrating the long incubation period where both mom and dad shelter the egg.
In the shops, you can find little brochures talking about the different designs with beautiful “old-fashioned” drawings.
À la Mére de Famille has several shops across Paris, the original is in the 9th arrd. at 35 rue du Faubourg Montmartre.
Started in 1948 by Auguste Pralus, this pastry shop is quite well known for its brioche, studded with praliné, rose-colored candied almonds and hazelnuts. Today, his son Francois Pralus has taken over as owner and has brought the pastry shop into a whole new chocolate world. They are one of the few to manufacture their own chocolate, and even have a cocoa plantation in Madagascar. His secret to obtaining the best flavor: “I brew the cocoa in water, rather like making herbal tea and sweeten it slightly with sugar, then I leave it to settle. This gives me a precise idea of what the flavour will be like before I launch the manufacturing process.”
This Easter they have brought back a much-loved favorite, sporting the colors of the shop in horizontal lines.
New on the menu: A bit of fun! A chicken dressed up to head to… we think the Moulin Rouge!
They have a few shops around Paris, so check out their site to find the one closest to you: Pralus Boutiques.
Jacques Genin is quite famous in Paris and around France as being one of the top chocolatiers. This year’s egg motif is very special, taking inspiration from the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, the Maori. The design specifically comes from the tifaifai print, the very memorable applique that adorns fabrics used by the Maori, and the traditional face and body tattoos, ta moko. The egg patterns were designed by artist Corinne Jam and each is painted by hand. These are just two of the motifs that are available.
Jacques Genin has two shops in Paris. Our favorite to visit is the tea room in the 3rd at 133 rue de Turenne. The space is open and modern with cases for chocolates, pastries, caramels and pâte de fruits. All of the delights are made upstairs in their labortoire, making it quite fun to see your dessert come down the open spiral staircase.
Another big name in the chocolate world in France, Jean-Paul Hevin has won more than 8 competitions in pastry-chocolate! Their theme for Easter this year, le Voyage (Travel!) and what a delight it is!
But how to transport a chicken? A fun play on our everyday suitcases , and perfect for adding lots of little treats inside.
Jean-Paul Hevin has several shops in Paris and they are simply exquisite! Check out the list here.
Opened in October 2014, by Edwin Yansané, age 29, this chocolate shop is certainly the newest on our list but not to be dismissed! It is formidable in the chocolate world in Paris with its playful approach to flavors and creations, combined with high-quality chocolate, taking the cosmopolitan city and its inhabitants as it’s inspiration. Edwin and his team have succeeded in creating masterpieces in each square of chocolate they present with the perfect blend of interesting flavors, at a point subtle, but present in just the right way.
Their theme for Easter, the mythical planet of Trekull, where the Hiliis live. Who knew?!
Among all of these chocolatiers, the level of craftsmanship and creativity is just amazing.
There are two Edwart boutiques in Paris, our favorite is the intimate shop in the Marais at 17 rue Vieille du Temple. We would certainly recommend stopping by the Concorde location at 224 rue de Rivoli as well, for chocolate or a class!
Will you be purchasing chocolate Easter eggs? What fun shapes have you been seeing in your hometown?