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Passionate French Chocoholics

Everyday, I crave a little bit of chocolate. I keep a bar with hazel nuts stashed in the kitchen cabinet and chunk off pieces with guilt…knowing it goes directly from the lips to the hips.

If you’re a chocoholic like me, then you might be interested to learn that between 1500 BC and 400 BC, it is believed that the Omec Indians were the first to grow cocoa beans. Centuries later the Mayan society’s elite drank unsweetened cocoa and later established cocoa plantations in northern regions of South American in 600 AD. At the beginning of the 16th century, Christopher Columbus, the same adventurer to have discovered the new world, also discovered a Mayan trading canoe in Guanaja carrying cocoa beans as cargo.

It wasn’t before long that Europe began to develop the beloved drink, adding vanilla to sweeten it and it gained popularity as both a medicine and an aphrodisiac. Is it surprising, then, that the first chocolate house was opened by an Frenchman in London? That was 1657 and it was called “The Coffee Mill and Tobacco Roll.” At 10 to 15 shillings per pound, chocolate was considered a beverage for the elite class. A few years later, eating solid chocolate was introduced in the form of chocolate rolls and cakes, served in chocolate emporiums. Then in the 18th century, French inventor, Monsieur Dubuisson, invented a table mill for grinding chocolate.

Now, many centuries since its simple beginnings, chocolate is celebrated in France with tremendous fanfare. Do you love praline-flavored ice cream? You prefer it white with hazel nuts? There will be something for everyone at the 9th edition of the Salon Européen du Chocolat this week at the Carrousel du Louvre with 150 international chocolatiers and their delicacies on public display and available for tasting.

Among the 150 exhibitors, you’ll find some of the greatest masters…Jean-Paul Hévin (who received the first price for the thickets praline-flavored ice creams), industrial manufacturers such as Nestle or Toblerone and the friends who marry so well with the chocolate: Moët-Hennessy Baileys.

The event kicks off Tuesday night October 28th with a fashion show of couturier delights in chocolate by Courrèges, Torrente, Balmain and Chantal Thomass!…and ends Sunday November 4th with a competition of the finest chocolate creations in three categories as judged by the French team who represents the “Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie 2004.”

Don’t miss it if you can help it…another one of those passions of the French we love.

Salon du Chocolat
Carrousel du Louvre
99, rue de Rivoli
Paris, 1st
October 31 – November 4, 2003
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. except Friday till 10 p.m. and Sunday till 7 p.m.

For more details of the exposition, visit the official site at

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]

P.S. The creations in the photo are by master chocolatier, Christian Constant, at 37 rue Assas 75006 Paris,, email [email protected] (If you don’t get the photo in your email, visit the site at

* * *

* Further resources:

* Over four power-packed days this November, find out just how easy it is to…Invest overseas for returns of 800% in as little as five years… cut your effective tax rate by half, or even more… live in pampered luxury for $1,900 a month… retire in comfort, safety, and freedom in the world’s best destinations…

* Paris Confidential — our newest book for those who want to know the real Paris.

* You are invited to come for drinks tomorrow afternoon and share your questions and comments about what it takes to create a life here, own property and enjoy what France has to offer.

* Great meals in Paris don’t have to be expensive. Parisians do it every day…pay less. Learn how.


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