nassuming, tidy, contemporary counters. Dark, warm woodwork. Designer display cabinets and furnishings. Inside Jean-Paul Hévin’s stores, you’ll find a taste reflecting modernity and perfection, combined with an atmosphere of elegance and comfort. These very qualities characterize the J.P.H. label.
In the words of the Guide des Croqueurs de Chocolat (Chocolate Lovers’ Guide), “the chocolates produced by that cocoa bean aficionado feature a bitterness so excellent that even the most finicky of purists will be won over. At the same time, adventurous types will be satisfied with the unexpected flavors.”
How does Jean-Paul Hévin manage to maintain the consistently high quality of his “black pearls”? He tells us that the secret is “the high-quality ingredients, which I am constantly tasting and sampling. I am just as uncompromising on the subject of where our fine cocoa beans come from (selected mostly in Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, and Madagascar) as I am about their flavor or color. My job, first and foremost, is that of a taster. I’m not entrusting the responsibility of testing to anyone else.” Jean-Paul Hévin has developed a number of methods that enable him to “taste” each chocolate to detect the different levels of flavors hidden deep within.
It is up to the master chocolatier’s know-how to do the rest. The extreme choiceness of his chocolates depends upon the harmony of its chords and upon this intimate blend of ingredients that are balanced so subtly: top-quality cocoa beans, sugar and butter, the quantities of which have been reduced so that J.P.H. chocolate, the very picture of sophistication, retains all of its authentic taste.
FLAVOR AND FRESHNESS
To guarantee their extreme freshness, the boxes of chocolate are prepared each morning. Each customer can customize his/her box and choose an assortment from a selection of extra dark ganaches – the quintessence of J.P.H. taste and art-, pralines, and milk chocolates. Within each of these categories, however, customers will find fruit fillings, spices, caramels, or liqueurs, over forty different varieties: “It is with extreme care that I have selected those essences that suit each ingredient and can act as flavor enhancers. I love to create surprises!”
Passing up the chance to sample the artist’s chocolate cakes is also an impossibility: Pyramide, Caracas, Safi or Marquise instantly take connoisseurs to a world of sensory bliss. As for the many chocolate bars, just waiting to be enjoyed, the selection includes the woodsy “Java,” the soft and tender “Trinité,” mild “Ecuador” and other varieties slipped discreetly into their transparent case. These sweets feature the richness and delicate flavor that are responsible for Jean-Paul Hévin’s reputation as Paris’s leading chocolatier and definitely one of the world’s best chocolate makers.
A chocolate bearing the Jean-Paul Hévin label never sits on the store counter for more than three days. To fully appreciate the quality of the chocolate, chocolate lovers should eat the delicacies within two weeks and not below a certain temperature: “It must be enjoyed at room temperature, like a fine wine or a cake,” according to the expert chocolate maker. “You can recognize a fine chocolate by its dark, warm color and, most of all, its fragrance. As soon as the box is opened, the aroma must be bold, pervasive, delicate, and insistent, all at the same time. It must suggest pleasure and whet the customer’s appetite for the chocolate!”