Dijon is an evil place! As it turns out there are nearly as many chocolate shops there as there are in Belgium. It took me the better part of the year to detox from last year’s two-day binge in Bruges and Brussels. Still 12 stepping it, I found myself in Dijon having a case of the DT’s walking past some of the local crack houses (I mean chocolatiers.) Oh cruel world! Why can’t chocolate be slimming and as good for you as celery sticks?!
Caught completely off guard and without an emergency plan, I came face to face with the father of all temptation. Fabrice Gillotte, award-winning chocolate god that I have worshipped from afar, has an amazing shop on rue du Bourg in Dijon. Had I known this, I would have avoided this street altogether, but alas it was too late. As I knew it would be, Fabrice’s shop façade is manly, sexy, modern, hip and screams, “I dare you to look, and not purchase!” Fabrice does not simply make chocolate, he is the Creatéur Chocolatier as written on the store-front. It’s genius advertising. People walk past processing what it means, with a little monologue going through their heads along the lines of, “What in the heck does Creatéur Chocolatier mean? This guy must be full of himself. Well, the place does look chic and sexy. I’ll just pop my head in to see what it’s like.” Bam! No one goes in and comes out empty-handed. Ahh, the power of marketing!
Let me share a little secret with you. I know what in the heck Creatéur Chocolatier means. It means that Fabrice is an innovator who takes classic ingredients and combines them with new flavors to create something special, unique and timeless. He’s the Karl Lagerfeld of chocolate! You will pay as much for one truffle or macaroon as an expensive European cup of coffee, but hey, you are not just paying for the high quality ingredients. You are paying for the mind behind the fabulous creations. No problem you say? Well here is the problem…I love this man’s chocolate. I will have to have more than one piece. I will have to sample the whole damn store to see which one I like best. Then I will feel guilty for not thinking of others who are not with me in France and who need to taste Fabrice’s creations. Then I will buy a terribly expensive gift assortment of chocolates to bring home to share. “Good,” you say? Not good, because I know damn right well that those suckers are not making it off the airplane uneaten. Then the words I will regret for the next year will have to be spoken, “Flight attendant, could I please have a seatbelt extender?”
Whoa, that little daydream (nightmare) scenario played out in my mind as I peered through the window past the perfectly perky colorful macaroons towards the mounds of neatly wrapped dark-chocolatey truffles in the signature blue boxes and it brought me to my senses. Drooling on the outside, strong on the inside, I passed Fabrice without incident…this time. A bientôt, Fabrice. We will meet again!
21, rue du Bourg
Tel: (0) 380 303 888
Fax: (0) 380 355 851
All photos property of Weekend In Paris. All rights reserved.