Nunu Chocolates from Brooklyn, in Paris

chocolates filled with salted butter caramel

A few years ago an American friend asked me about opening a pop-up store in Paris, featuring something he creates with chocolate in New York City. At the time, I advised against it. People outside of the United States do have some preconceived notions about how Americans eat (many still think we all eat at fast-food restaurants), but a recent wave of magazine articles about food in America, small restaurants in Paris with America-trained chefs and owners, and most importantly, people traveling to the United States and seeing the astounding produce at the greenmarkets, I’d like to think has caused a shift in thinking.

chocolate tools

So I was excited to see that Nunu Chocolates from Brooklyn had set up a space in the Brachfeld Gallery in the Marais here in Paris, for a temporary pop-up shop featuring their chocolates.

I went last night to a party hosted by Yelp, and as soon as I walked in the door, from the smell of things, I knew I was in for a good time – and in for some delicious chocolates.

nunu chocolates in Paris

A few years ago I attended a chocolate tasting here in Paris with a well-respected chocolatier from the states. Many of the famed Parisian chocolate masters sat at the same table with me and they were intrigued, but not necessarily polite. One, who I’ll assume was joking, said to the chocolatier – “Your chocolates are good, but they’ll never be as good as ours.”

chocolate tempering kettle

I still remember that and sitting here looking at my pictures from last night, and realizing what nice people Justine Pringle and Andy Larid are, how anyone could not love their chocolates (and them) is beyond my comprehension.

nunu chocolate team

An interesting cultural difference is that to be a chocolatier in Europe, you generally spend years working in a chocolate shop or restaurant, or attend a culinary school. (Many start their studies and working at 15 years old). Then, if you’re fortunate and have the drive, you might eventually open your own place. Whereas if you look at the resume of many chocolatiers and chocolate makers in America, they come from a variety of background, everything from formerly being a doctor to criminal defense lawyer.

But no matter where I’ve traveled in the world, all chocolatiers I’ve met are bound by the love of chocolate and what they do – they just have different routes of getting there. And it would not be common in France to change your métier from, say, being a police officer or founder of a car-sharing program, to opening up a bakery. (Although it does happen.)

Andy was a musician and looking for something to sell at his shows. And now, here they are in Paris, offering their chocolates to discerning Parisians. The self-taught husband and wife team of Andy and Justine had boxes of Santander Fair Trade chocolate sent in to them from Colombia, and they’re making the fillings and dipping the chocolates right there in the pop-up shop, packing them in boxes all ready to go.

At the soirée, we tasted several chocolates with wine, my favorite being the Salt Caramel paired with Maury, a naturally sweet (but not cloying) red wine from a small region adjacent to the Languedoc. Both were excellent – the salted caramel chocolate, and the pairing. But what intrigued me just as much was the raspberry-filled chocolate. I have an aversion to berries with chocolate (I find they compete, and each cancels the other out), but inside these fluted little beauties was a raspberry paste that was just the right liason to the bittersweet chocolate rather than a clashing element that hinders any enjoyment of the chocolate flavor.

salted butter caramel chocolates

Full of chocolate, we wanted something savory for dinner and slipped out of the crowded gallery filled with French guests happily people enjoying their chocolates. We walked a bit and tried to get into a new Mexican place which is doing a booming business serving excellent tacos, but that was full as well.

Who would have thought that the new hotspots in Paris would be authentic tacos and Brooklyn-based confections? But good food is universal and I shouldn’t be surprised, I should be delighted. And I am.


Nunu Chocolates at the Brachfeld Gallery (78, rue des Archives, 3rd) will be available from April 16 – 26, 2011, and there are workshops and wine & chocolates pairings planned as well. More information and hours can be found at the Brachfeld Gallery blog.


Related Links and Posts

A Visit to Patrick Roger (Video)

Fouquet

Jean-Charles Rochoux

Self-Taught Chocolatiers: Nunu (Video)

Le Furet Tanrade

Salted Butter Caramel Recipe

The Easiest Chocolate Ice Cream Ever!

La Maison du Chocolat

39 comments

  • Wow, this makes me want to become a chocolatier! As I am getting on to a plane this afternoon and heading to your fine city, perhaps I will have to check it out. Most of my must-go places are your recommendations!

  • very cool, brooklyn chocolate in paris. love it ! only wish i were actually in paris this coming week. or heading to new york any time soon. nunu is on the list ! those salt caramels look divine. the maury wine sounds excellent, but if i had one of those caramels, i’d kinda want to pair it with… another caramel.

  • Love the sound of the salted caramel. Your posts always make me so hungry – and often for something sweet!

  • Good to see US entrepreneurs trying to change the perception. By the sound of things they are having success, though it is a real challenge to change perception that is so deeply ingrained…

  • Ever since I happened upon Nunu’s table at the Brooklyn Flea last year, I’ve been hooked. I’m always thrilled to see their chocolates carried at places besides their adorable store on Atlantic Ave.

  • Hahaha so funny! We were passing by the shop last night around 10, we got attracted by the possibility of free chocolate but I think it was pretty much over, and people were kinda looking at us weird so we ran along.

  • They look delicious — who in Paris is doing handmade-looking chocolates like this? Parisian artisanal chocolates look almost factory-perfect.

  • I really love where this is going. It’s nice to see that the concept that food=art is becoming more widely recognized. While I can’t seem to find the link as I post this, there is an installation space in NYC right now that is rotating through visual art/decor, music and menu every month or so for a limited time only. While I am a musician and foodie at heart, I love that many people are now bringing in taste to add even more to their fine art experience!

    Very cool.

  • These look real similar to a rosemary caramel I make topped with sea salt. So tasty.

  • I remember when NuNu first opened their doors on Atlantic Ave. and I couldn’t get enough of their sea salted caramels. They are such nice people too. I am SO happy for their success! And to see them in Paris at a yelp event, well, that is just awesome. :)

  • Thanks for such a lovely post! The issues that you raise about changing perceptions of American food in Europe are fascinating. I’m curious what folks might think of the increasingly popular Food Raves à la San Fran or NYC, as described in this NYTimes article: http://nyti.ms/grywHb

    I also share an aversion to berries in chocolate, and was thrilled to read that the chocolatiers have made the combination so desirable. All good wishes to Nunu Chocolates while in Paris — I can’t wait to visit them on this side of the pond.

  • It just goes to show that it truly is a small world. Good for them! It is so nice to see someone with passion and perseverance succeed – especially in Paris!

  • Must get there to try! Would love to take Mr. Cheeseland to taste test and prove that there IS, in fact, suitable chocolate that comes out of America :)

  • And now I yearn for Brooklen in the springtime and some salted caramel chocolates.

  • Those chocolates look decadent. It reminded me of my trip to Seattle where I visited Fran’s chocolates store and had their famous caramels with Fleur de sil. I miss that.

  • That’s so great. We love Nunu chocs. She is so nice too, I’m glad they’re doing so well!

  • In my next life I want to come back as a chocolate taster, oh, a naturally skinny one, of course!

  • There’s nothing I love more than smearing the kitchen, and my palate, with the best chocolate I can find. I think it’s only a matter of brief time before chocolate making takes off — in just a few months I’ve taught myself to temper and mold, and created recipes from saffron to lavender chamomile to pomegranate mocha. The disasters are delicious and the victories joyous. Thank you for the post in defense of the brave who dare make their own! (But I wonder if the makers of NuNu chocolates realize it is the Malagasy word for breast? Best not to sell them in Madagascar!)

  • My mother referred to my private parts as my ‘nunu’ growing up. I think if I passed this place I would never be able to even walk through the front doors due to the name on the front window.

  • Very interesting-
    although it is certainly wonderful to find excellent food no matter where one is, there is something to be said about traveling for the local cuisine. Clearly Paris is still riddled with local fare, and of course here in the US I eat mostly at more “ethnic” restaurants. It would be awful if I could only find diners to eat in here.

    But, as I do tend to plan my travels around what cuisine I will have a chance to sample, I do hope that places maintain their own particular trends and styles. Otherwise what would be the fun in traveling?

  • I just made these same chocolates yesterday with some friends though ours look more rustic. Working on the post today. I’m not sure if I will ever make it to Europe so I love going there every day with you.

  • Yum! I love all these posts on les chocolats. :)

  • while one couldn’t ever disparage the quality and workmanship of french/parisian products, there is nevertheless something to be admired in that old american can do attitude in taking on new tasks. Sometimes what is lacking in formal training/history is compensated for by unimpeded imagination and energy.Congrats to these folks for walking right into the lion’s den with their beautiful products. I can’t imagine either, that you would support anything but the best. Thanks for not becoming hidebound or an idealogue when it comes to sussing out good eats.

  • Oh – I can spell Brooklyn (sorry). I just cannot type it and I still am craving chocolates…and Brooklyn in the springtime… it’s snowing here.

  • Speaking of the French beginning to recognize there are foodies in America: I was at the Berkeley Bowl yesterday and saw a whole big tour group of Frenchies there, checking out the produce and asking how the bulk coffee section worked. I was quite tickled! But, even with all the great bakeries around here, I still haven’t found a good chocolate/almond croissant. Enjoy Paris!

  • I bought some of those Nunu chocolate salted caramels at their Madison Square Market stall last year…they were so good I had to swing by to get some more the next morning and almost missed my flight! So happy for their success!

  • I truly admire those who have spent a lifetime mastering their one craft, but I also think that some of the most innovative and creative ideas come from those who didn’t learn to play by the rules.

    If you never learned that it was “wrong” to put olives and chocolate together, “wrong” to fry lasagna noodles like potato chips, you might miss some pretty incendiary moments! (Trust me, I have tried both!)

    Bravo to Team Brooklyn!

  • Thank you for this wonderful post! I agree with you in that many French people are locked into their metiers and that is really a shame. It just seems so limiting to know that you generally don’t have the chance to break out and pursue a passion rather than being locked into a job. It’s wonderful to see how American ingenuity can lead to such a fantastic opportunity! Merci mille fois et bonne continuation!

  • Certainly something I would love to sample.

  • I confess, as a European that I am, you are the one that completly changed my views on what Americans eat or appreciate when it comes to food. Right now I’m reading “A history of Taste” which is so in tune with what you are rightly pointing out (about culinary pride & prejudice) that I begin to feel a little stupid for all those years of snobbery. And being my first comment on your site I have to say it: I love your blog & work.

  • Yum! It’s hard to go wrong with salted caramel. We’re enjoying a few days in Paris right now. Yesterday we had what my kiddos call a “David afternoon”. We browsed through La Vaissellerie, explored La Grande Epicerie for over an hour then enjoyed fabulous macaroons at Ge’rard Mulot. The passion fruit basil was heavenly. We also went by Grom which we loved in Florence but the line was down the street so we moved on. Today we ventured out to G.Detou but it was closed. While wandering around trying to decide where to eat my four year old said “mama where does David like to eat?” LOL. Once again, thanks for making us love this fabulous city even more.

  • I met the chocolate-making couple last summer when I lived above their store in Brooklyn. They are every bit as nice as you say they are, and their salted caramel chocolates are amazing. Glad to see they brought the U.S. foodie culture to Paris!

  • I’ve been dying to get the Nunu Chocolates beer box, which sounds like heaven in chocolate form. Those salted caramel chocolates look like a close second though — and paired with wine? Amazing!

  • I LOVE Nunu chocolates! I’m addicted to their chocolate nibs!

  • As always great article David but please my work production is seriously falling behind!! Congratulations to Nunu Chocolates and their latest endevours in Paris. Hope they do well!
    This article was particularily interesting as I can relate having changed careers and slowly making the transition from a professional ice hockey official to a chocolate maker! Two very diverse careers indeed but I love it. After retiring from pro hockey and now just officiating amatuer hockey, when I put someone in the penalty box they now don’t yell at me but ask, “where’s my chocolate?”
    Keep up the great writing David!

  • Fantastic blog! I don’t think I’ve seen all the angles of this subject the way you’ve pointed them out. You’re a true star, a rock star man. You’ve got so much to say and know so much about the subject that I think you should just teach a class about it…Ha-ha!

  • Sara, I believe you’re thinking of What Happens When (http://www.whathappenswhennyc.com/), a new restaurant here that changes its decor and menu every month. It’s apparently a finite experiment; the owners claim that when their short-term lease is up this fall, they’re done.

  • Funny that you mention how europeans think about how americans eat, because is so truth!. I am from Spain but live in USA and I still remember when my mom visited me for the first time. She was amazed just looking to the produce section of a supermarket, and got back convinced that indeed, the food in USA can be as good as in any european country.