Patrice Chapon, the pâtissier-chocolatier behind Chocolat Chapon didn’t always want to make chocolate. At school, far more interested by drawing and design, he dreamed of becoming an architect. We have his dad -a wine supplier to Parisian restaurants – to thank for his first forays into cooking. Soon after starting his career as a chef, Patrice swapped chopping giblets and peeling carrots for patisserie.
After completing a degree in patisserie, chocolate and ice cream and working in restaurants in France, Patrice moved across the channel. Here he joined La Maison Du Sorbet, who supply ice creams and sorbets to Buckingham Palace. As he spent his days making iced delights for the Royal Family, he discovered a new passion. Wondering around Harrods, he found the chocolate hall on the ground floor he says he fell in love, even visiting everyday.
Returning to France with his new-found passion, Patrice Chapon started making bon-bons in the family’s basement. Quickly outgrowing the space, he moved to his own workshop in Chellles, where anyone wondering past could seem him creating truffles and chocolate treats for Parisian shops. During the holidays, like Easter he would sell any imperfect creations straight from the workshop. To his surprise, people kept coming back and asking for more!
To satisfy the local demand, in 1993 Patrice opened a little boutique adjoining his workshop. Fast forward to 2016 and there are now four Chocolat Chapon shops: two in Paris, one in Neuilly and of course in Chelles (now much bigger than it once was).
In 2010, Patrice set himself a new challenge – to make his own chocolate directly from the bean. For Patrice deciding to make his own chocolate wasn’t just a question of transparency, sustainability and quality (although all of these were factors). It was also a matter of truly making his treats and truffles his own, infusing every part of his creations with his unique personality.
Crafting great chocolate from the bean doesn’t happen overnight. Patrice had to research, find the right equipment and even make his own machines, specially adapted to his requirements. He sought advice, spoke to experts and experimented. Not least he visited different plantations and tried different beans.
Patrice’s innovation extends far beyond his bars. One of this most successful and popular products bring together his chocolate and ice cream making talents. Rather than different ice creams, his chocolate mousse bar lets you choose between chocolate mousses made with different origin chocolates. To help bring joy to as many people as possible, he even has his own chocolate mousse truck that can be seen driving round Paris.
The fruit of his labours, Chapon’s beautifully buttery chocolate, you can taste for yourselves. We were delighted at the range of flavours Patrice had managed to coax out of his beans. Tasting our way through, we were immediately struck by his Patrice attention to detail and consistently high standard. Aside from the distinctive flavours of each origin, each perfectly tempered bar had a clean snap, glossy finish and smooth texture.