FOOD & WINE
The Weiss factory in the ‘ ville du chocolat’ of Saint-étienne is revealing some its secrets at a new visitors’ centre, where you can try your hand at making an indulgent treat
A new destination for chocoholics, plus a recipe and restaurant review.
Chocoholics have a new pilgrimage destination in France with the opening of a visitors’ centre at the Weiss factory in SaintÉtienne, where you can delve into the mouthwatering world of chocolate-making.
The story began in 1882, when young Alsatian confectioner Eugène Weiss came to the capital of the Loire département and helped to seal the town’s reputation as the ‘ ville du chocolat’. Weiss was famous for his creativity, pioneering the art of pralines (nut-filled chocolates) and assemblage (blending). In the 1920s, he invented the Napolitain, the little rectangular
chocolate that accompanies a cup of coffee.
The Ateliers Weiss lies at the heart of the factory, in a strikingly modern building of steel and glass. The centre is made up of three areas: a museum displaying a permanent collection and temporary exhibitions; a shop; and a restaurant.
The permanent exhibition is free and is sub-divided into three sections. In the first, you can learn about assemblage, a Weiss speciality, and try chocolates made from three different cocoa beans. The second area focuses on making pralines, with secret recipes and more tastings, and the third space is dedicated to the company’s decorative style where visitors can try to make a famous Weiss bow.
The shop sells a range of Weiss products and allows visitors to create their own bar by choosing from different types of chocolate and sweet ingredients.
Chocolate is not the only thing to eat; take a seat at the counter of the restaurant and dine on three-course menus created by two-michelinstarred chef Christophe Roure, who hails from Saint-étienne. Free admission to museum, shop and restaurant. Temporary exhibition from €3. Factory visit via walkway €7.50. Tel: (Fr) 6 38 30 73 58 weiss.fr