Qu’ils mangent du chocolat
February 22, 2012 6:25 PM   Subscribe

Le Club des Croquers du Chocolat (The Chocolate Cruncher's Club) is an exclusive private association of 150 connoisseurs who gather four times a year to sample and judge the best in French chocolate. Clotilde Dusoilier, the blogger behind the well-known Paris-based food blog Chocolate and Zucchini, gives her readers a peek inside its workings.

Les Croquers are known for their guide to France's best chocolate, and also sponsor an annual award ceremony. Here's a rundown of their recent picks in L'Express (English Translation), if you're popping over to Paris anytime soon. In the meantime, you may want to peep their tips on how to spot the best chocolate in your neck of the woods (English translation).
posted by Diablevert (12 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
This...I want to do this. Where was that option from my guidance counselor, I ask you?
posted by dejah420 at 7:59 PM on February 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Where was that option from my guidance counselor...?

Actually, Clothilde started out as a software engineer. I met her when she gave a talk at Google, and she ironically recounted how she'd never been that interested in cooking while growing up in France, but while working in silicon valley, had been exposed to a lot of great California cuisine, and that inspired her to cook, and to blog about cooking, and the blog turned into a book, and a new career.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:51 PM on February 22, 2012

"However if the sweets are not of exceptional quality, tea or coffee will be pleasant companions, as well as alcohols such as old armagnac, cognac or rum, which give rise to communions amazing flavors."

I have no idea what exactly Google Translate is telling me to do here, but it all seems amazing. Do they take helpful, willing interns? I will accept payment in chocolates. Or old armagnacs. I would learn French for this.
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:16 PM on February 22, 2012

I lack the kind of self-control needed for professional chocolate tasting. I'll be the one gobbling it all down without palate-schmalate cleansing, while the professionals stare in horror.
posted by vidur at 9:48 PM on February 22, 2012

Not trying to be a spelling nazi, but
croquer /kʁɔke/ is the infinitive form of the verb. These people are nouns, not verbs:
Croqueurs /kʁɔkœʁ/ de Chocolat

For those interested in keeping French spelling straight, notice that a word like
FR docteur corresponds to
ENG doctor

FR acteur corresponds to
ENG actor
posted by juifenasie at 12:20 AM on February 23, 2012

Not trying to be a spelling nazi
posted by juifenasie


And.. I don't really understand their tips. Is it really just "Some people make chocolate; others sell it"? Or am I using the site all wrong? I have tried this in both languages, et je suis triste qu'il y n'a pas tips that I can read.
posted by knile at 1:08 AM on February 23, 2012

I live in Asia (en Asie) and I speak French (that's where I was born). Why is that "eponysterical?" Is this American humor?
posted by juifenasie at 3:20 AM on February 23, 2012

A paraphrase of their advice: "Don't be misled if you see the word 'chocolatier' as part of a store's name. Some so-called 'chocolatiers' are not necessarily chocolate experts. They are merely resellers. Others actually make their own (so you may presume that they really do know a lot about chocolate)."

Caveat emptor: "Chocolatier" is just a word. YMMV.
posted by juifenasie at 3:30 AM on February 23, 2012

French people take food very seriously. It is a source of pleasure but also the subject of scientific study and analysis. In France, the word "artisan" only applies to people who are legally qualified. A related idea is the "Appellation d'origine contrôlée" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appellation_d%27origine_contr%C3%B4l%C3%A9e) (sorry--hyperlinks are not working for me, but I'm too tired to fiddle with the code). You can make cheese that tastes exactly like Roquefort, for example, but you are forbidden to call it that unless it is made in that particular region. This sort of law protects both the producer and the consumer (your cheese, wine etc. always tastes the way it should).
posted by juifenasie at 3:48 AM on February 23, 2012

You can also download the guide to France's best chocolate directly from their website. I was a little surprised/disappointed to note that all of their AWARDS DES MEILLEURS CHOCOLATIERS were for men! (And totally unsurprised to see that it was Paris-centric, though a bit happy as it will give me something to do this weekend!)

As for Chocolatiers not actually making chocolat, we can add to that list the boulangeries that receive par-baked bread, the patisseries that serve flash-frozen pastries, and the "traiteurs" which, as suggested by their name, are TRAITORS to the idea of real or authentic food in whatever cuisine they pretend to serve.
posted by whatzit at 4:04 AM on February 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

I live in Asia (en Asie) and I speak French (that's where I was born). Why is that "eponysterical?" Is this American humor?

I believe he was suggesting that to an Anglophone, "nazi" and "nasie" would be homophones, and therefore one could be read as a mispelling of the other. Not the peak of humor, I'd agree, though it's not for me to say whether such a pun is characteristically American.

Anyway, regarding the club, I just felt like it was something so quintessentially French that I found it charming to contemplate..."you like chocolate. I like chocolate. Let us form an academy of chocolate lovers to judge the best in chocolate with great ceremony."

Americans believe in improvement, the French believe in perfection, it is one of the great differences between us...in a weird way I think the opposite of the club might be the Pillsbury bake off...
posted by Diablevert at 5:14 AM on February 23, 2012

I'm glad to see Clotilde Dusoulier is still going strong with C&Z in its ninth(!) year, so please let me indulge in two pointless tangents with regards to her:

1. Perhaps it is the latent Francophile in me, but I really love her name.

2. One of my favorite Twitter posts ever came courtesy of her, as she shared how a friend of hers changed his iPhone mail signature to "Envoyé de mon Minitel."
posted by stannate at 10:15 AM on February 23, 2012

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