Chef Gilles Marchal, the current custodian of a veritable treasure trove of savoir-faire, will set up Maison Chaudun from Paris for the first time in Hong Kong and exclusively at The Mandarin Cake Shop beginning 15 November until 15 January 2017. The perfect indulgence or gift this holiday season, Chef Marchal will bring his selection of the world’s greatest cult classic chocolates including dark, milk and pavés.
Maison Chaudun and all its wonders have long been a closely guarded secret, reserved for passionate insiders and discerning connoisseurs. Under the tutelage of Michel Chaudun’s shop in Paris, a generation of chocolate makers have been inspired by Chef Chaudun including his talented successor Chef Marchal.
“Chocolate is an art form that is all about the balance,” shares Chef Marchal. “Our chocolates are about finding subtle, more elegant notes where the flavours complement each other and linger on the palate. I am honoured to have been invited by the legendary Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong to share my passion especially during this magical time of the year.”
Maison Chaudun Pavé
The pavé, a little square of ganache dusted with bitter cocoa powder, remains the signature of Maison Chaudun. Not to be confused with a truffle, it perfectly embodies the combination of technical sophistication and elegant simplicity that characterises all Chaudun chocolate. For Chef Marchal, “That first bite of a pavé is sheer ecstasy. The fresh, meltingly soft chocolate delicately fuses with the velvety texture of the fine cocoa for a flavour that’s strong without being cloying.”
The ganache is made from a blend of three types of chocolate combined with whipping cream. Left to mature for 24 hours, it is cut into small squares using a guitar cutter, matured for another 24 hours, and then delicately coated in bitter cocoa. Free from preservatives, added sugar, and additives of any kind, this exceptionally fresh chocolate confection is best enjoyed out of the fridge 15 minutes beforehand where this preserves the unique, fresh effect in the mouth while still allowing the flavours to develop fully. Available in either dark or milk chocolate, it’s a sensation like no other.
Not many people are aware that it was Chef Michel Chaudun who invented the chocolate bar with cocoa nibs, and though attempts are often made to copy his creations, his partially secret method has ensured that his chocolate bars have remained inimitable. Chef Marchal, now custodian of this secret recipe, emphasises the subtle difference of this chocolate in terms of quality and taste: “Many others work with pre-ground cocoa nibs, whereas here we only work with whole cocoa beans. The roasting, crushing, and manual shelling of the beans allows us to add the nibs to the melted chocolate straight away, which in turn means that it keeps its crunchy but smooth texture.”
About Gilles Marchal
He likes to reminisce about his childhood in the village of Lorrain Laneuveville-aux-wood where his grandmother cooked, his father tended the farm and his mother creating his first. Often little boys dream of playing football or racing cars, however, Gilles dreamt of cakes. At 14, he apprenticed with an icon in Lorraine, Chef Claude Bourguignon. He began his career in various Parisian palaces including as the pastry sous chef at the Crillon, the pastry chef at the Plaza Athénée, the Bristol and Director of Creation at La Maison du Chocolat in Paris. After being awarded pastry chef of the year in 2004 and medalist of the city of Paris in 2008, Gilles settled in Paris, in Montmartre at 9 rue Ravignan with Gilles Marchal Paris. In 2014, he took over from legendary chocolatier Michel Chaudun’s Maison Chaudun in Paris and Tokyo.