Michel Cluizel Chocolate, Damsville (Normandy), France
This 4th-generation chocolate company started off as a small chocolatier in Normandy, France. Michel Cluizel, 2nd generation, wanted more control over the actual chocolate, so they began sourcing their beans direct for their confections. That was almost 25 years ago. They use whole vanilla beans, not extracts or flavorings, as well as cane sugar. And they don’t use any soy lecithin, which is a very popular diet restriction. They have many single origin chocolates, including some organic. Their blended chocolates come from 9 different plantations. All farms they have had relationships for years.
My first experience with this exquisite chocolate was almost 25 years ago. They are one of the first bean-to-bar manufacturers to become fair trade, before it was fashionable or a marketing opportunity. One of the things I like most about this company, is that they are humble. That is saying a lot of a French company.
I’ve been to their factory in Damville, Normandy; it would make Willy Wonka blush. From bon bons, to single origin chocolate bars, they do everything there.
Their professional line has a cult following too. The chocolate is easy to work with and their coin shape “grammes” are slightly smaller than a regular chip, making it very easy to measure and temper. Their 3 kg bags have zip locks making storing convenient.
Their chocolate is simply sublime. You can taste their experience and craftsmanship in every bite. Bean-to-bar chocolate is now very popular but not all beans are created equal, and experience is not common. Eating Michel Cluizel chocolate is like wearing a suit from a fine tailor. This is your splurge when you need it to count.