Winning the ribbon: Are there better pate de fruits in the world? Maybe, but we’re happy to stop right here. Photo
by Matt Chun.
La Maison Du Chocolat Pâtes De Fruits: A Fruit in Every Pâte
We first discovered La Maison du Chocolat as a young girl who pilgrimaged to Paris for culinary enlightenment. The chocolatier, Robert Linxe, got great press even on our side of the ocean; and we were determined to make our first visit memorable. When we finally got to the shop after a very long walk (that looked deceptively manageable on the map), we rewarded ourselves by purchasing one of everything.
Yes, the chocolate was deliciously dark, the fondants silky and the sophisticated flavors quite unlike anything available in the U.S. at the time. But what captured our fancy most were the pâtes de fruits.* To the unschooled they looked like French relatives of the children’s fruit jellies like Chuckles and the more refined Gimbal’s fruit slices. But they tasted like something quite out of this world. Before leaving town we stocked up on all the pâte de fruits we could manage, unsure that such shimmering gems of intense fruit flavor would ever cross to our side of the ocean.
*Pronounced POT duh froo-EE—not pâté (pah-TAY), which is a different type of food and not made of fruit.
The crossing took ten years, a decade during which every traveler to Paris was made to bring back a few boxes. But finally La Maison du Chocolate opened a New York City boutique on the Upper East Side of New York City, and then another in Rockefeller Center, ensuring a steady supply.
In the interim, we tried all the imported fruit jellies we could find—some even shaped like the pieces of fruit they emulated. But while an improvement over Chuckles, they held no candle to La Maison du Chocolat’s fruit gel squares.
The years since the New York boutique opened has seen the expansion of culinary celebrity, attracting great talents to the kitchen and the candy shop. There is a generation of skilled and innovative American chocolatiers and confectioners who now produce pâtes de fruits. They range from good to very good, but is yet close to taking the ribbon from the La Maison du Chocolat.
These classic fruit slices from Gimbal’s Fine Candies are oceans away from Pâtes de Fruits. But they're still delicious, and at one-tenth the price, a cost-effective solution for everyday munching.
The difference is in the intensity of the fruit. With other fine pâtes one is conscious of eating a fruit gel. You sense the pectin and the sugar that go into making it. With La Maison du Chocolat’s version, every bite is a burst of concentrated fruit—as if intense preserves had jelled themselves into neat squares. It’s that distinction that makes us return to these pâte de fruits over and over again. Each of the flavors is a treasure: apricot, blackberry, blackcurrant, mandarin, pineapple, raspberry strawberry and three red fruits (the flavors are sold in a mixed box or bag).
Regrettably, in its English language materials the company translates the product name into the rather frowsy-sounding fruit pastes. Fruit jellies would have been better. But like certain opera scores, some things should have in their original language. The translation kills the poetry these fruit gems deserve.
— Karen Hochman
Updated November 2007
FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to your confection-loving friends.
Large box (top), 1.4 pounds; small boxes (bottom).
77 pounds. Don't be afraid to buy the large box:
these heavenly fruit jellies will disappear fast.
LA MAISON DU CHOCOLAT
Pâtes de Fruits
- .77-Pound Box
- 1.4-Pound Box
Purchase online at
La Maison du Chocolat has two U.S. retail
boutiques, both in New York City:
- 1018 Madison Avenue between East 78th
and East 79th Streets (1.212.744.7117 or
toll-free 800.998.5632). The Madison
Avenue boutique also holds weekly classes
for those who want to learn more about
chocolate. Click here for information.
- 30 Rockefeller Center on West 49th Street
between Fifth and Sixth Avenues (1.212.265.9405
or toll-free 1.877.740.5632).
Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change over time.
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