When in Paris, Buy Chocolate

070828_Paris_Pierre_HermeF.jpgThe French take chocolate seriously, and Paris is home to several great chocolatiers. Although there are dozens to choose from, the five purveyors we list here are unusually distinguished for excellence and originality.

Pierre Hermé
In his tireless quest for the new, the pastries can sometimes flounder, but the chocolate never wavers. Assortments of dark and milk-chocolate bonbons are worth the splurge. (photo, right)

La Maison du Chocolat
This is the gold standard of chocolate. Robert Linx’s silky ganaches are unparalleled in subtlety and flavor. The pastries — notably the macarons — are icing on the cake.

Christian Constant
Constant is deservedly praised for his delicate ganaches, perfumed with jasmine, ylang-ylang, or vervain. His famously rich hot chocolate is served by the pitcher at his café, along with his excellent pastries (37 rue d’Assas).

Michel Chaudun
Chaudun is known for introducing granules of cocoa beans into chocolate to enhance intensity. His delicate pavés — tiny squares of dark-chocolate truffle ganache topped with a dusting of cocoa — are fabulous (149 rue de l’Universite).

Jean-Paul Hévin
There’s a formal tea room at Hévin’s Saint Honoré boutique, and at the rue Vavin outlet there are lighted exhibits of his chocolates and pastries. But Mr. Hévin hasn’t earned world-class status because of his interiors; the 40 different varieties of chocolates are each more delectable than the next (231 rue Saint-Honoré).

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