Last November I was on a St. Germain des Pres tour with some clients and while we were in Cour du Commerce, an ancient passage off the Blvd. St. Germain near Odeon, I stumbled upon Un Dimanche a Paris, a sparkling new chocolate shop I had not seen before. The shop seemed to not be open yet but full of workers milling about. I tapped on the door because I am always interested in any new chocolate shop and the woman who let me in handed me their card and said the shop would be open next week.
A few weeks later I had an errand to do nearby and called to see if I can get a tour of the premises and maybe some samples so I can write about it. The woman on the phone said that I lucked out because it was the very day for the press opening and there would be tastings, which was the sweetest music to my ears, and a chance to meet the owner.
When I walked in I was warmly greeted by the staff and the woman I spoke to on the phone brought me upstairs to meet the owner, Pierre Cluizel. Pierre Cluizel is the son of one of the most respected chocolatiers in Paris, Michel Cluziel. Tall, spoke spoken, and elegantly dressed, Pierre told me he sold his shares 15 months ago in the family business he had worked in for 25 years and decided to follow his dream to open up a total chocolate concept shop. Engrossed in our conversation, he asked me if I would like some hot chocolate and a few minutes later out came a beautiful white porcelain pot with a wooden handle with a a matching cup and a slim espresso colored platter with the most sumptuous pastries. As I was downing the velvety, astounding hot chocolate and pigging out on the pastries, Pierre explained he wanted to create a space with the total chocolate experience that would include a retail shop, a restaurant, and a lounge/cocktail space. He brought in chef William Caumisson to create a menu where all the dishes would have some form of chocolate in them. The lounge upstairs would have a menu of cocktails that all contained chocolate in them also. Pierre told me the history of the passage and that the white stone wall behind the curved glass wall next to us was part of a tower from 1290. A few minutes later someone came up to tell Pierre it was time for the press lunch and wanted to know if I wanted to join them. Well, I thought I died and went to heaven.
The luxurious, tastefully appointed dining room with creamy stone floors, leather tufted chairs, and the historic stone wall softly backlit felt like a private dining room at an exclusive club. The 6-course tasting menu was incredible from start to finish with such interesting and unexpected flavors, textures, and presentation, and each dish had a subtle hint of chocolate.
Pumpkin soup with a cracker topped with Iberian ham
Raw discs of swordfish with salad
Veal with apple sauce and whipped potatoes
Codfish in a broth
White chocolate squares layered with soft Roquefort cheese topped with chocolate Balsamic vinegar
A selection of pastries by pastry chef Quentin Bailly
I must say Un Dimanche a Paris is the most gorgeous chocolate shop in Paris next to Jacques Genin, which I wrote about a few years ago. The spacious, pristine retail space has the most mouth-watering selection of pastries,chocolates, and macarons displayed on glass trays with flowers imbedded on them on an immaculate white counter. In addition to traditional French pastries, they offer American style chocolate chip cookies and small cups of the fantastic hot chocolate are available to go.The macarons are oversized and rival the ones at Pierre Hermé, which I think are the best in Paris.
I applaud Pierre Cluizel for his impeccable taste, attention to the minutest detail, and for so successfully fulfilling his dream with this fabulous and dramatic chocolate world he has created.
As I was leaving and not wanting this heavenly experience to end, I was handed a shopping bag with press materials and two boxes of chocolates. Now I knew for sure I had died and gone to chocolate heaven.
Un Dimanche a Paris
4-6-8 Cour de Commerce Saint André, 6th arr.
Tel. 01 56 81 18 18
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New! Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes
I am happy to announce the launch of Eye Prefer Paris Cooking Classes. Come take an ethnic culinary journey with me and chef and caterer Charlotte Puckette, co-author of the bestseller The Ethnic Paris Cookbook (with Olivia Kiang-Snaije). First we will shop at a Paris green-market for the freshest ingredients and then return to Charlotteís professional kitchen near the Eiffel Tower to cook a three-course lunch. After, we will indulge in the delicious feast we prepared along with hand-selected wines.
Cost: 185 euros per person (about $240)
Time: 9:30AM- 2PM (approximately 4 1/2 hours)
Location: We will meet by a metro station close to the market
Class days: Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday
Minimum of 2 students, maximum 6 students.
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