Chocolate is not a treat or a sweet but true gourmet food.
When Claude Bosi (chef-proprietor at 2* Hibiscus) starts giving tips on where you should eat in Lyon, you take notice. So happily he did exactly that, just a few days before I went to Lyon, in a piece in the Financial Times.
I was a little smug (just a tiny bit – promise), when I discovered that the market we were planning to go to, and Le Bec, which we had already booked were on his list. Bernachon wasn’t on my radar, however, so I looked it up and added it to the list.
Bernachon is like a museum for edible treats. A mini cathedral to food. You could hear a pin drop. The best of chocolate, sweet and excellent savoury treats. Before you even enter the shop, you’re salivating. Glorious cakes, springy brioche, perfect quenelles, macarons, chocolates, swoon. It has the air of a Sloane St designer shop, only here we are not paying homage to Jimmy Choo or Prada, here the macaron and chocolates are king. Isn’t that the way it should be? Certainly for me, anyway.
Maurice Bernachon trained as an apprentice in the art of chocolate from the the age of fourteen. He later joined the workshop of master chocolate maker Monsieur Durand ane when he retired in 1953, he offered Maurice Bernachon his chocolate and candy shop. Today his grandchildren - Candice, Stéphanie and Philippe Bernachon - now run the enterprise. The raw cocoa beans are roasted, grinded, blended and conched in-house. There’s that attention to detail and sourcing that is the hallmark of an excellent product.
I have a mini tradition now, every time I go to France I bring back a box of macarons. I know Pierre Hermé and Ladurée are in town but it’s such a nice souveneir to bring home, and one that doesn’t last very long, granted. But, swoon, these were small spritely delights. And there’s nothing better, once greeted by the glorious English rain, than a macaron to evoke a petite taste memory of your lovely little holiday.
Bernachon, 42, courts Franklin-Roosevelt, tel: +33 04 78 24 37 98, www.bernachon.com