AN INVITATION TO EMOTION
When you query Nicolas Cloiseau about the inspiration behind his latest chocolate feat, you enter the rarefied realm of the emotions that guide the creative process. Nicolas Cloiseau is an artist who works in an infinite secret garden, nurtured by a library of emotions and details. He skilfully blends memories, flavours, encounters and meticulous professionalism, ultimately achieving a result that only then seems obvious. ‘When you look deep inside yourself you find hidden emotions.’
This is an adventurer who chooses roads not taken, who creates rather than replicates, someone whose fantastic imagination transcends fashions. With his intimate knowledge of our secrets, Nicolas Cloiseau interprets La Maison du Chocolat’s vision with passionate talent. He joined La Maison du Chocolat nearly 20 years ago, working closely with Robert Linxe, and has been with us ever since. His imagination and skill have infused the spirit of all our creations since 2012. ‘It’s about love, art and technical skill,’ is how he sums up his relationship with chocolate, a material unlike any other that he conjures with a simple gesture, a true sign of inseparable destinies.
Known and lauded for his focus on detail and his forthright opinions regarding chocolate, he was awarded the prestigious title of ‘Meilleur Ouvrier de France Chocolatier’ in 2007, widening the select circle of artisan-aesthetes whose adept affirmations launch trends. As he tirelessly pushes boundaries, his discerning eye and precise gestures reveal the wondrous art of creating subtle emotions from eight grams of chocolate…
LIMITS DEFINED ONLY BY TASTE
Such unbridled creativity might seem paradoxical, since unlocking emotion in fact leaves nothing to chance. Nicolas believes that the ultimate experience is revealed when cacao content is between 62 and 68 per cent (and rarely above 70 per cent), a range he nimbly adjusts with
ultra-precise doses. His cacaos unveil notes of fruity or acidulous chocolate, evoking a rainbow of fruit - yellow, red, grilled or so deeply ripe it could almost be jam. He meticulously seeks the ideal balance between chocolate and fruit, spices or infusions, transforming ingredients to achieve a result that is unmistakably right. In his eyes, the taste of a pure product is all that counts in practicing this art. Constantly pushing the very physical limits of his ingredient, he explores new territories of taste, dreaming of the chocolate of tomorrow during some 200 tasting sessions each year.
Reinvent ganache? The idea might not be as mad as it sounds. Because chocolate invites continual innovation. Like an orchestra conductor, Nicolas works in harmony with those who source his cacao and craft the couverture chocolate, encouraging different approaches, experimenting with novel processes to invent something that does not exist. ‘I like simple things, but they should be simple because of the complexity they involve.’ Reinvention also applies to traditions to ensure that they endure. Over the years, the master chocolatier has revisited our emblematic recipes, subtly refining and modernizing, so imperceptibly that the changes are sometimes hard to discern. Using less sugar and eliminating flavour enhancers, he has guided a return to natural. It took years to develop the recipes that have become grand classics - each one a treasure to be lovingly maintained.
ARCHITECT OF MATERIAL
LIGHTER THAN AIR
Chocolate also has great plasticity, lending itself to all manner of feats. Guided by a quest for the exceptional, Nicolas’ creative endeavours are works of art in their own right. He is a master of lightness, opening, unfurling or perforating chocolate, creating airy lace-like patterns. Subject only to the resistance of air, chocolate captures light like a fascinating edifice that defies physical limits. The poetry of the object is manifest in the perfection of details, the expression of unrivalled creative passion and unique savoir-faire.
Come the festive magic of the Easter and Christmas seasons, Nicolas Cloiseau takes La Maison du Chocolat deep into the land of dreams. His one-off or bespoke pieces bring chocolate lovers a chance to discover the ‘art’ of chocolate from an entirely new perspective. Fantastically imaginative chocolate designs awaken an exceptional experience that evokes the reverie of prestigious haute couture houses.
All these exceptional pieces are crafted by a special team. Under Nicolas Cloiseau’s direction, artisan-chocolatiers work with the precision of goldsmiths, taking weeks to sculpt creations as exceptional as they are ephemeral…