Which countries produce cacao beans and where do the beans chosen by La Maison du Chocolat come from?
At the moment, the biggest cacao producers are Brazil and The Ivory Coast. Most connoisseurs agree that the best beans and appellations, known for their subtle flavors and their finesse, come from South and Central America. Our chocolate couvertures, made by Valrhona, are the result of blending beans from different origins. The Valrhona Company creates special blends custom-made for us. Our preference of course is for the Criollo beans, which produce fine, delicate chocolate. We use beans from Central America, Trinidad, Ecuador and Venezuela but also from Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Indonesia, as well as Sumatra (they have good acidity) and some Forasteros from the Ivory Coast.
Do you engage in ethical business practices to obtain your raw materials for chocolate couverture?
We work almost exclusively with the Valrhona Company that for the last 20 years has pursued an approach offering social and economic support for the producers and also protection of the environment of the plantations. Respect for recognized international standards such as the International Labor Organization (minimum salaries, right to organize etc…), research and technical assistance programs, fixed prices and guaranteed volumes are part of the strategy of long-term partnerships with the producers.
How does La Maison du Chocolat guarantee the taste and the quality of raw materials used?
All our suppliers are committed to stringent requirements set forth by us, and adhere to the required quality standards.
Do you use “organic” raw materials?
We have very strict product requirement specifications for our raw materials. The appellation “organic” is not a standard that we necessarily take into account because we seek first and foremost products that possess the best organoleptic qualities. Our Creative Director travels extensively across the globe to search for the best products (cacao vintages, spices, fruits etc.).
Where and how are your chocolates made?
All of our chocolates are made by hand, with exceptional expertise and in small quantities in our Atelier located in Ile de France. They are then sold and shipped worldwide. All the chocolatiers of La Maison du Chocolat have a chocolatier degree and all of them were trained to fill a specific position because each step of the production requires a savoir-faire that can only be acquired through experience. Each chocolatier is individually and collectively engaged in the production of an exceptional product.
Where and how are your pastries made?
The team of pastry chefs, who are in an atelier next to our chocolatiers, prepare and bake each day the pastries for the boutiques in Paris. The boutiques abroad have their own local atelier with qualified pastry chefs who are trained in France in our ateliers.
How are your products shipped to your international subsidiaries?
All our products are shipped in temperature-controlled containers to preserve freshness and reassure our international clientele that they are purchasing the highest quality products no matter where the boutique is located.
II. QUESTIONS ABOUT MAISON PRODUCTS
Do you have chocolates that contain peanuts?
We do not have chocolates that contain peanuts and we do not have peanuts in our ateliers. However our suppliers of nuts cannot guarantee the absence of peanuts in their own facilities, therefore we mention that all our products may contain traces amount of peanuts.
How can we find out if there are allergens contained in your products?
Our products are labeled with a list of ingredients and our Sales Associates may also provide information about possible allergens contained in our recipes. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service.
Do you have chocolates for diabetics?
Our Coro Bar, 100% cocoa, can be consumed by diabetics because it contains no added sugar and low sugar content (< 2g/100g). Do not hesitate to ask assistance to your doctor.
Do you use soy lecithin in your chocolates?
Soy lecithin is used in the manufacture of the chocolate coatings that we use. It is an emulsifier, which improves the mixture of ingredients (cocoa paste, cocoa butter, sugar…) at the time of conching. Present in an amount of less than 0.3% of the total mass, it does not affect the taste. Our suppliers guarantee us a non-GMO soy lecithin.
III. TASTING AND STORAGE RECOMMENDATIONS
How long will the chocolates last and how do I store them?
Each product has a label with a best before date (best if used by date). Our chocolates have a shelf life of 2 to 8 weeks depending on the type of chocolate. We recommend storing them in a cool place (between 14°C/57F and 18°C/64F) away from direct sunlight. You may place them in a cool area or in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator, provided you keep them in their original packaging, wrapped carefully in a tightly sealed plastic bag. The chocolates should be removed from the refrigerator about two hours before tasting to enjoy their full flavor.
What tasting rules must be observed in order to fully appreciate your chocolates?
Our chocolates are best appreciated at a temperature of 20°C/68F. We advise that you cut your chocolate in two and let it melt in your mouth to allow time for the flavors to develop. When you are tasting several chocolates, it is best to start with a plain chocolate, then move on to flavored varieties: first those with fruits, then spices, then alcohol.