Creativity in Chocolate with La Maison du Chocolat

29 November 2016
La Maison du Chocolat Petrossian Collaboration

One of the chapters of my book that I found the most fascinating to research and write was the one dedicated to sweets, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise for those of you that have followed me over the years. Beyond the beauty of these creations, I was on a mission to understand more about the industry and its evolutions overall. Locals and visitors might have a passing knowledge of the ways in which pastry and chocolate have changed in recent years — perhaps they recognize new flavors or new forms or even more creative packaging — but what I learned is that the shifts run much deeper.

One of the references in my research was Nicolas Cloiseau, a Meilleur Ouvrier de France in chocolate and the creative director of La Maison du Chocolat, his home for the last twenty years. What intrigues me about Cloiseau’s work is not only his perpetual task of reinvention and keeping classics “fresh” but how he tries to innovate without steering regular chocolate clients too far off course. He’s adventurous but just so. He’s also smart: he knows that it’s a gradual process to get chocolate lovers to take a break from their reliable favorites and consider other chocolate experiences. Recently, he partnered with caviar masters (caviarologues®) at Petrossian to develop a collection that blends his expertise in ganache with the highest quality caviar available. The result is indulgent, surprising and completely unique.

I spoke with Nicolas to understand more about his process and who he had in mind when creating the collection. And don’t miss the contest at the end!

Can you describe your creative process?
Through my discovery of new products and my encounters with small producers, I’ve developed a kind of taste library which I’m able to tap into when I’m experimenting. For me, it’s a long process of reflection. One day the ideas will click and the rest becomes obvious. There’s no real explanation aside from simply looking to create pleasurable moments around chocolate. My entire environment outside of the kitchen serves as inspiration.

How long does it take for your ideas to crystallize?
Each recipe is part of a collection and as such, time isn’t so much a question of conceiving of the recipe itself but finding a place for it within a collection. Sometime, I have recipes in mind that have been ready to roll out for ages but they don’t necessarily have a logical spot in current collections. Creating a recipe could take anywhere from twelve months to longer, according to the detail required.

Will the future of chocolate take a more adventurous direction?
Absolutely. Our parents’ generation remained rather classic when it came to flavors. Today, people are more curious. We live in a time when people move on quickly. What’s new today will be old tomorrow and consumers are perpetually looking for new flavor profiles and combinations. They’re looking for new sensations. Nothing is technically impossible, taste is the only limit.

What would you say to people who are reluctant to try some of your more unusual flavors?
I take full responsibility for creating the collections like L’Esprit Salé (savory chocolates) and Caviar & Vodka which are meant to be tried not only out of indulgence but out of curiosity. We had two types of consumer in mind:

– If you are a chocolate connoisseur, accustomed to grands crus, you know what La Maison de Chocolat does very well. In this case, these collections are a chance to bring their knowledge to the next level.

-If you’re not necessarily an expert but looking to be transported, or want to be surprised by unexpected flavor associations, these offer a chance to try something you’re not used to.

WIN A CAVIAR & VODKA GIFT SET FROM LA MAISON DU CHOCOLAT! 

This time, I have two sets to give away, for a U.S.-based reader and one in France (if you’re coming to France soon, that counts too!). Follow the instructions in the widget below to enter. Entries close on Dec. 6th, good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Tiffany Banks

    I’ve never really tried any exotic chocolate flavors.. this sounds interesting & delicious!

  • I”m not sure if I have ever really tried exotic flavors – but these sound delicious!

  • Chloe

    These sound interesting! The strangest chocolate flavour I’ve tried is green tea

  • Alexandra Dersidan Suta

    I would love to try La Maison du Chocolat caviar & vodka chocolates, the strangest most interesting chocolate I’ve tried is lemongrass and peppermint ganache from Patrick Roger.

    • Jessica H.

      I loved the lemongrass from Patrick Roger!

  • ARU bhartiya

    I’ve tried chilli and pistachio chocolates( i haven’t had a chance to try many exotic ones)
    Including cakes in the definition of sweets, I’ve tried(and make every other weekend) beetroot and chocolate cake, semolina mango coconut cake.

  • Linda

    I tried one with chili and it was actually really good!

  • Simay

    Never tried something exotic actually. Always been safe with chocolate, got my favorites like pistachio or just milk chocolate but j’adooore La Maison du Chocolat, so there’s no better way to start being open to new tastes than starting with a box from La Maison du Chocolat😅😊😍

  • Courtney

    Oh this is wonderful! My hubby and I are chocoholics and could (and often) eat chocolate all day long. I would love to share this with him. Thank you!

  • Christine Stella

    It’s been a while, but I’ve had chocolate covered potato chips from Neiman Marcus – pretty exotic! And mole flavored bars, and Earl Grey and Gingerbread-flavored chocolate from le pain quotidien. Trop bon!

  • Jessica H.

    I love tasting adventurous chocolates. Some of my favorites have been chocolate with savory spices or herbs (basil, Chinese 5 spice), florals (lavendar), or other unconventional ingredients like oats. The latest creations from La Maison du Chocolat sound divine!

  • Elizabeth Gower

    Caviar and vodka would be my first adventurous chocolate. But I love Maison du Chocolat’s champagne truffles!!!!

  • Anoush Gulian

    I recently tried chocolate covered raisins and wine from France and chocolate covered Turkish Delights! But one of my all time favorite combinations is dark chocolate and orange peels!

  • Marie

    I had caviar in my chocolate once!

  • Julie Rod.

    I haven’t tried any crazy ones yet 🙁

  • LaurenFritsky7

    Whiskey chocolate!

  • MoonCatcher

    The most exotic flavor I’ve had in chocolate (it was actually a white chocolate) was chamomile tea, it was so good!

  • Nadine Stacy

    I haven’t had anything more exotic that cherry and bourbon.

  • Connie Kline Fischer

    The most unusual thing that comes to mind is garlic ice cream. It was absolutely delicious. I enjoy unusual taste combinations and am open to all of them. What a delightful post!

  • Penni

    Chocolate with orange oil, though not exactly exotic, is the closest I’ve come (and it’s delicious)!

  • Barbara Lawson

    I have tried chocolates with different liquors and love the lavender ones.

  • Kim Henrichs

    I would say really hot chilis in Mexico!

  • Gayle Erwin

    The most exotic chocolate I have had would be Chipotle flavor

  • Ruth Sklar

    I just came back from Paris with five boxes of their chocolate for gifts! Love it!

  • Andrew P

    Chocolate and chili powder is the most exotic flavor I’ve tried

  • Henry

    I love chocolate with sea salt/fleur de sel!

  • Caroline D.

    I’ve always liked the chocolate/mint combo! I’ll be (back home) in France in January and would love to try La Maison de Chocolat! Quelle délice 🍫🍾

  • Candace P

    Chili chocolate! It sort of grows on you, the more you eat of it. But don’t eat too much!

  • Karl P

    Chocolate covered grasshoppers were the closest thing to exotic
    that I have ever tried! Pretty crunchy!

  • Joan Kubes

    I’ve tried Cannabis Chocolates

  • Christina

    None yet.

  • Cayenne Pepper

  • Donna

    i tried a kahlua chocolate that was really good

  • MyLifeLivingAbroad

    I think goats cheese and pear was the most exotic for me!

  • Steph

    When I was pregnant I ate a sweet grapefruit with goat cheese shmeared on it

  • Marty C.

    There’s a local shop here that makes some super-exotic chocolates in flavors like skunk and sriracha. I’ve tried most of them, lol. When it’s chocolate, I am fearless.

  • Julie (julimi)

    i’ve only tried normal chocolates