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

France - - Contents -

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

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