Lifestyle

La Cité du Chocolat, the Valrhona’s Gourmet Space situated in Tain-l’Hermitage

La Cité du Chocolat, the Valrhona’s Gourmet Space situated in Tain-l’Hermitage

Valrhona’s gourmand showcase at Tain-l’Hermitage brings together in one site a school, a museum, workshops, a restaurant and a boutique, all dedicated to chocolate.

Well known to professionals from the hotel and restaurant industries as well as to the finest chefs who use their products, the brand Valrhona created its Cité du Chocolat in 2013. Since then, the institute - led by its general manager Franck Vidal who owns up to eating chocolate every day when he comes across a piece of 66 % Caraïbes - has imposed itself as a beacon on the chocolate landscape in France.

Valrhona, the Natural Partner for the Cité du Chocolat

But let’s go back to 1922. In this year, a pastry-chef from the Ardèche sets up in a former carpenter’s and worked away in the chocolate trade before handing on to his successor, who renamed the entreprise Valrhona, after the Valley of the Rhône. The company went international under the umbrella of the Bongrain group, with 1 000 employees spread all over the world, and exports accounting for 65 % of sales. In 1984, Valrhona invented the 70 % bar of chocolate to go with a cup of coffee. A great coup for the marketing team, which added to the reputation of the little black square in the bistrots and hotels of Paris.

La Cité du Chocolat tower - Tain-l'Hermitage
In the museum, the itinerary explains the nature of cocoa and then its transformation through chocolate recipes. © Mathieu Cellard
La Cité du Chocolat cocoa beans - Tain-l'Hermitage
While the annual production is a well-kept secret, Valrhona’s expertise makes every tasting an exceptional moment. © Laurent Vu

An Aromatic Palette Selected by the Finest Chefs

The raw materials imported from South America, Africa and South-East Asia, are transformed and monitored on the banks of the Rhône by 200 experts trained in chocolate-tasting to perceive and distinguish the flavours according to their origin. Here, the chief pastry-maker Sebastien Curtalin, whose mission is to make people salivate, welcomes a mixed public of the curious and the passionate for 30 minute or 2-and-a-half-hour workshops. Fondants, gooey-centre cakes, mousses and macaroons will hold no secrets for you after his classes. On the museum front, the visit is perfect for family trips, and chocolate-lovers will enjoy an unprecedented experience at the Comptoir Porcelana with its very fine cuisine - with chocolate the star of the show of course !

Present Ideas to Share

Their expertise, built up over the years, is presented in all its forms here in an immense Valrhona concept store, where you will find an embarrassment of riches in decorated tins to choose from. These pure-pleasure products will quickly find themselves in your end-of-year wishlists...

La Cité du Chocolat shop - Tain-l'Hermitage
Every visit must end with a little detour via the boutique. © DR

La Cité du Chocolat, rigour in the service of pleasure