Chocolate Tales & La Maison du Chocolat book giveaway!

18 July 2017
La Maison du Chocolat 40th anniversary book

When I moved to Paris at age 21, I arrived with an imperfect and shamefully limited palate and pedestrian tastes. I was acutely aware of how much I would have to learn about food to feel connected to my new home. To my husband, it was as if I had been living out only a portion of life. How could I not intrinsically appreciate the diversity in cheese, produce, meat and fish? How could I have subsisted on two-to-three-max ingredient dishes for so long? I didn’t have very good answers at the time, except to say that I was finicky to a fault (and damnit, my parents didn’t push me hard enough!), but I was eager to let my adopted city, with its culinary legacy and population of erudite eaters, impart its many lessons on me.

If there is a taste I developed and honed quickly, it was, unsurprisingly, for chocolate. Reared on Hershey’s, Reese’s (which still hold a nostalgic place in my heart) and all manner of artificial chocolate bar, it was a veritable sensory awakening when I was given my first piece of artisanal chocolate. I experienced earthy, red fruit and peppery notes that I didn’t think were possible to taste from one single carré de chocolat. 

From there, I began paying close attention to the nuances in the chocolate I was gradually amassing from the city’s top chocolatiers (and from elsewhere in Europe – chocolate became my go-to souvenir everywhere from Switzerland to Sweden). I ran my own personal taste tests, comparing styles, cacao provenance and balance between chocolatiers, taking note of my favorites and realizing as I went along that chocolate wasn’t merely a pleasure but a lens through which to better understand French savoir-faire and how that extends to all kinds of confections.

On the rare occasion I have American candy, I find it difficult to summon any enjoyment, not even out of nostalgia. And with quality chocolate, the definition of craft or artisanal chocolate isn’t so easily defined so it bears paying attention and asking questions of chocolate makers and producers to truly grasp what I’m eating. Nicolas Cloiseau, a Meilleur Ouvrier de France and the Creative Director of La Maison du Chocolat, whom you will read about in my book, has been a tremendous source of knowledge throughout my journey through chocolate. He talked to me about the tasting experience, the merits of certain ingredients and the role he plays in the process. He speaks with such mesmerizing passion and demonstrates mastery with every new collection (even the most experimental) that my chocolate curiosity  deepens with every discussion.

Proud of the ways I’ve evolved my palate, I was honored to be asked to be one of the 40 voices in La Maison du Chocolat’s new book “Chocolat, So Chic!” to share my personal connection with chocolate, alongside Nicolas and other figures like Pierre Hermé, Inès de la Fressange, and even actress Mélanie Laurent.

The book is available in French and English which means I have two copies to offer up to readers! May it inspire you or help further your own experiments with chocolate.

GIVEAWAY: CHOCOLAT, SO CHIC! BOOK (1 English and 1 French copy available!)

To enter, please leave a comment below sharing your first memory with chocolate (of any kind!)!

Bonus entries:
-Leave a second comment sharing your favorite chocolate from La Maison du Chocolat (or if you have not yet tried it, your favorite chocolate).
– Follow La Maison du Chocolat on and me (@LostNCheeseland) on Instagram and leave a 3rd comment saying you’ve followed!

Entries close July 24th, good luck!

  • Courtney

    I discovered La Maison du Chocolat when I first arrived in France in 2011. It’s probably my favorite chocolate brand, and my favorite chocolate of theirs is the “rocher praliné.” It never fails to satisfy my sweet tooth.

  • Like you Lindsey, my first encounter with chocolate was also probably a Reeses peanut butter cup. And as good as those are, I discovered true chocolate when I moved to Germany, right on the Swiss border. No going back now…

  • Carolyn Vanco

    In the early 90s I began a job in the Chocolate Lab at Le Francaise Restaurant in suburban Chicago. Le Francaise was the premier French restaurant in the area for many years. The Chocolate Lab was managed by Jim Graham, an American guy who did several stages in Paris including at La Maison du Chocolat. Among other things, Jim taught me how to put a ganache together without breaking it, how to use a ‘guitar’ to cut pieces for enrobage and that bigger bites aren’t always better. I am grateful that he passed on much of what he learned from Robert Linxe and Giles to me, and I am grateful.

  • Margaret

    My first encounter with chocolate was my (first?) birthday party, where my late grandmother made me a chocolate cake decorated to look like Barney the dinosaur (I was obsessed at the time, thankfully no longer the case ha!). She was such a glorious baker and a large part of the reason why I enjoy being in the kitchen so much today – so thankful for the years I was able to spend learning at her elbow and following along with her recipes before she passed away a few months ago.

  • Margaret

    I’ve yet to have the pleasure of trying La Maison du Chocolat’s specialties, but my favorite chocolate at the moment is the Ritter Sport Cacao Mousse – even living in Brussels for several months and being surrounded by gourmet pralines all day, every day couldn’t cure me of my love for RS, and this bar in particular evokes such wonderful traveling memories.

  • Margaret

    following on instagram (@mar_mcntr – et je suis bilingue, so no preference between the french or english copy!)

  • Courtney

    My first memory with chocolate involves the chocolate cakes that my mom would bake and decorate for my birthday when I was young. I specifically remember a cake in the shape of a blue fish (I loved the book “The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister.) My mom thinks that chocolate cake is the best, and I do too!

  • Courtney

    Following both accounts on Instagram! (@courtnezelise)

  • amcella

    I follow you both on Instagram (@drtvrmoi)

  • amcella

    My earliest significant chocolate memory was convincing my mother that it was fine for her to serve a chocolate birthday cake. Our tradition was Italian rum cake, which no child really enjoys. It was a major victory for this chocolate lover.

  • amcella

    Favorite LMDC flavor is dark chocolate salted praline. Sublime!

  • Carrie

    Biting the ears off my chocolate bunny and then keeping the little fabric bow tie to use for my Barbie when I was around 4.
    And I have not tried LMDC…yet…but it sounds dreamy!
    (and I have followed you both)

  • kim

    I was quite young and it was hard for me to keep secrets, so when my older sisters took me with them to get a Mother’s Day gift, they made me promise not to tell our mom what we’d bought. So, the second that we walked in the door, I proudly announced to our mother that I wasn’t going to tell her that we’d bought a big box of chocolates for her. I’m 53 now and they still bring that up when we get together.

    • LostInCheeseland

      HI Kim! You are the winner! I’ll be in touch with details 🙂 And thank you for sharing this story!

      • kim

        Quoi?! C’est super! (I am stunned. In a good way.)

  • kim

    I love all kinds of chocolate, but one of my favorites would be orangettes, enrobée de chocolat noir, bien sûr.

  • kim

    I was already following Lost in Cheeseland, but not I’m also following La Maison du Chocolate. 🙂

  • Susan Maxheim Carter

    My early chocolate memory is of a chocolate cookie my mother used to make – it falls somewhere between a brownie & cake and is frosted with a rich chocolate frosting. It was not something we had very often and I always remember my father turning the cookie over and buttering the bottom side of it. La Maison du Chocolat is at the top of my visit list for my next trip in Sept as I missed it on my last trip.
    PS – Love your book Lindsey and have taken lots of notes from it for my coming trip.

  • Sj Dc

    my earliest memory is actually of “bourbon” – an English biscuit where i used to devour the chocolate filling discarding the bisuits as it was such a rare treat

  • Triona

    My first memory of chocolate is at Christmas, when I was four. I remember chocolates wrapped in shiny foil hanging on our Christmas tree, and I got a huge chocolate Santa Claus as a present! The first of many happy memories with chocolate!

  • Sj Dc

    i just love love love the caramel truffles from la maison

  • Triona

    I haven’t been lucky enough to try La Maison du Chocolat yet, but I love mint and dark chocolate together, particulary Skelligs Mint Brittle😍

  • Triona

    I have also followed both accounts on Instagram (triona_jbutler)

  • Lourdes Mayorga

    My first memories of chocolate are with my grandfather. As a little girl when my grandfather and I would walk together to the local bakery to buy French bread rolls for next day’s breakfast we would sometimes share a chocolate bar on the walk back. I remember the conversations we had, he was a noble man. Whenever we ran into impoverished children living in the area he would give them a bread roll and sometimes our chocolate if we hadn’t opened it yet. He would take the opportunity to encourage them to go to school and how they should persist to do well. I love these memories of my grandfather and the conversations we had while we enjoyed our walks eating chocolate!

  • Irma Jurejevčič

    My first memory with the chocolate is even captured on a photo. I had my 1st birthday and my parents got me this huge chocolate cake. And they sat me beside it. My mother told me that I refused to try it and when I did, I felt discusted, lol. I wish I could say the same now. I do love it so much.

  • Abbie Pettit

    My first memory of chocolate involves making chocolate chip cookies with my mom, over and over again until I learned her secret recipe by heart.

  • Natalia Paez

    This is not my first memory with chocolate but one that I hold near and dear. When I was an exchange student in the UK, I got to tour the Cadbury factory. I remember getting so much free chocolate trying a new type or flavor in each room.

  • Natalia Paez

    My favorite La Maison du Chocolat item is their dark chocolate truffles. Wish I had one right now!

  • Natalia Paez

    Last but not least, I’m following La Maison du Chocolat (their Paris account) and you on IG! Hope I win! 🙂

  • My first memory of chocolate is Christmas time, gold wrapping, oranges, crackers and ‘exotic fruit’ like bananas all given as gifts and holiday treats. Growing up, real chocolate was a rare indulgence.

  • Camille

    I have never tried chocolate from La Maison du chocolat but my favorite chocolate ever is chocolat praliné noisette. Absolutely delicious, perfect for every occasion, I love giving it to my family and friends for Christmas. Amazing ! ( I have followed you and la maison du chocolat on instagram <3)

  • Lauren Alspach

    I remember eating Dove chocolate eggs on Easter and letting them melt away in my mouth, savoring every bit. 🙂

  • Lauren Alspach

    I have not tried La Maison du Chocolat but I loved the “ouvre-toi” from Pierre Hermé. 🙂

  • Lauren Alspach

    Following both accounts on Instagram as @fleurdestlouis! 🙂

  • Rock Roll

    When I was a child

  • SEC

    Chocolate Fondue! I remember crawling on top of the table to immerse myself.

  • SEC

    My favorite at La Maison du Chocolat will always be mendiants

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  • Sydney85

    My dad would bring us 3 kids a very small Cadbury milk chocolate bar for each of us home on Friday nights. It was such a treat. My brother would gobble his down, my sister would nibble away and I would take small bites and let the chocolate melt on my tongue.

  • Sydney85

    Following both on instagram

  • Sydney85

    I will be going to Paris in September so my first stop will be at La Maison du Chocolat. I am packing now!

  • Kim Henrichs

    I would say my first chocolate memory was making chocolate milk!!

  • Cathleen Camann

    I can’t remember the first chocolate I ate because there was always chocolate in our house – Mom loved it so we loved it!

  • the way it is

    First chocloate memory, hmh, seems like chocolate has always been there. I do remember my first dark chocolate Dove Promise–rich, creamy, low melting point in my mouth, yum.

  • Fanny

    I think that my first impactful memory of chocolate was when my grand father gave me a piece of dark chocolate when I was just a little kid ; I was not expecting all these powerful and flavorful aromas and it left a deep impression on me.

  • Fanny

    My favorite chocolate from La Maison du Chocolat is the ganache !

  • Fanny

    I’m following your account @LostNCheeseland) and La Maison du Chocolat too !

  • Fanny

    Merci encore Lindsey pour ce concours “gourmand” 😉

  • As an Australian (a country where the quality of chocolate is in general even more shameful than that of the US), my earliest chocolate memories were apparently not even chocolate memories at all 🙈 I once had a British boyfriend who swore to me that Cadburys in the U.K. was so much better than in Australia. I thought he was just being a typical “whingeing pom” as we say, until he had a Galaxy bar sent over to me to prove his point. That was my first chocolate memory. (And needless to say, since moving to Paris I have moved on to phase 2 of chocolate enlightenment 😉)

  • I’m not sure if this will disqualify but I love the macarons from La Maison du chocolat 😃

  • I already follow you on Insta, but now I’m following La Maison du Chocolat as well (and I will hold you responsible for the afternoon chocolate cravings which will inevitably ensue 😉)

  • Asmi Renuu Bajaj

    Chocolate and flowers are my weakness. On my birthday my brother always give me both with my Birthday gift