Street going south from Moulin Rouge may seem like an ordinary street of 18th arrondissement, yet it is no ordinary at all because there, on the number 30 is a special kind of store. When you step inside you enter a candy heaven museum. I am not exaggerating because A l’étoile d’or is a shrine to chocolate and all sorts of other old French confectionery. The exceptional woman behind the counter is no ordinary person either. A woman-girl in a school uniform with two long blond braids falling down her shoulders fits perfectly in her Alice in Wonderland store.
And you will find here, as she explains it, the best of French confectionery: perfect small boxes of bonbon réglisse, sucre d’orge, praline Mazet, Forestines and other old fashioned candy. Chocolate, caramels and chocolate spreads are on every shelf, between books and excerpts from the newspapers this extraordinary lady had been featured in. She will make a tour of the store with you, showing proudly every box or tablet of chocolate. She will talk about Japanese and Americans obsessed with her, showing you pictures of herself and the store from different newspapers and magazines of the world. She will offer to wrap your chocolate or a box of candies in a piece of an original papier d’Epinal (French paper with printed colourful images often containing an image puzzle). Yet she is not vain, but proud with a reason.
She keeps the best caramels in France the world: popular CBS or caramel au beurre salé (salted butter caramels) made by Henri Le Roux, a master caramel and chocolate-maker from Brittany. They are honestly the best caramels I have tried so far and I usually really don’t like caramel.
She is the only one in Paris to keep Bernachon chocolates and this she mentions with great pride. Bernachon is one of the rare chocolate-makers in the world (they do not only make chocolates but produce their own chocolate from cacao beans), based in Lyon. She said to us “You want Bernachon, you go to Lyon or you come to me”. Well we came to her, took a tour of the store, took pictures and bought caramels, chocolates and chocolate spreads. We took a picture with madame Denise Acabo and promised to come back soon.
A l’étoile d’or
30 rue Pierre Fontaine