I first learned about Denise Acabo’s famed Paris chocolate store, L’Etoile d’Or from David Lebovitz a couple of years ago when a gas explosion in the basement of the building destroyed the shop. An extraordinary chocolate shop carrying the likes of Henri Le Roux caramels, Bonnat and Bernachon (the only Paris address to carry the famed Lyon chocolatier’s line), it was a devastating loss to Acabo’s loyal followers but mostly to Acabo herself.
When I learned that the store had re-opened in November 2015, I was keen to make sure I paid it a visit on my recent trip (it was on my “must see” list – despite my more laid back approach to planning on this trip there were places I made sure I made it to) so I wove it into the day we visited Sacré Coeur – nothing quite like some chocolate as a reward for all those stairs, right? 😉
It’s an unassuming facade these days (“ugly” according to Acabo) but as soon as you step inside the door, you’re in another world from the regular old street outside. It’s honestly like a chocolate wonderland – and the ultimate destination for chocolate lovers like me and my mum (although mum did actually say “We’re going to another chocolate store? I don’t think we need any more…” She quickly changed her tune when she saw the inside of A l’Étoile d’Or…).
Over the past couple of years, Acabo has been, according to her, “crying every day, missing the everyday interaction with her customers” but now the store is open for business and Acabo is back in action, in fine form indeed. I will admit I was a little hesitant to go inside (the store was empty when we arrived and it’s just so beautiful, like a precious jewelry store where you admire from the outside but don’t dare go in) but we had barely closed the door when Acabo herself, dressed in her signature schoolgirl outfit, had taken us under her wing.
Assuming we spoke French (mum just smiled and nodded – it seemed the more Acabo spoke to her, the more she understood – I mean I guess chocolate is a common language, right?), Acabo greeted us like old friends. She was thrilled to find out we’d come from so far away *just* to visit her store and immediately started questioning us as to our likes and dislikes. We proved challenging customers because we told her we liked everything so her list of recommendations was lengthy. Pressing a small silver tray into both our hands (which she proceeded to help us fill, and then some!), Acabo talked a mile a minute about her chocolate selections and her favourites (“definitely not milk chocolate” she said when questioned about her Bernachon favourite).
In all, we spent entertaining 30 minutes in the store – we were the only visitors there and she gave us her undivided attention, talking us through each and every chocolate she has on offer, telling us about their provenance, their history and which customers order them in bulk! We left the store with full hearts at such joie de vivre and toting a heavy bag full of Bernachon bars and candied yuzu and all sorts of other treats Denise said we definitely couldn’t leave without….
A MUST visit for chocolate lovers. And lovers of life. As the Paris by Mouth listing says simply, “Go”. I’ll be back, for sure.
Read more about Denise Acabo’s A l’Etoile d’Or here.
A l’Etoile d’Or
30, rue Pierre Fontaine
Tél: 01 48 74 59 55
Mondays 2pm – 8pm
Tuesdays – Saturdays 10.30am – 8pm