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December 2023

Gilles Croset

“Grand Cru” chocolate

“From tree to chocolate bar, responsibly and sustainably.”


First apprenticed in Haute-Savoie, then a chocolatier in Geneva, this cheerful, enthusiastic individual who bustles about hessian bags from the other side of the world, machines custom-built for the workshop and the laboratory at the Maison Duplanteur factory in Grasse, is fulfilling his dream day by day: making 100% organic 'grand cru' cocoa bars. The Grail for Michelin-starred chefs and the joy of artisans! “The adventure began in 2015 when I met Dominique Flavio (the man who keeps an eye on things), the firm’s founder and owner, an international trader in fair-trade cocoa beans, and I realised that it was possible to make ‘Grand Cru’ cocoa. That is, without mixing different imported beans (as most chocolatiers do). Maison Duplanteur has enabled me to create an exceptional product based on the ‘bean to bar’ principle – bars where expert artisans take charge of every stage in the chocolate-making process, using beans from the same plantation to create a refined marvel with a subtle taste recognisable by the region in which it was grown! Here, 60 kg sacks of raw organic cocoa beans arrive from Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and Madagascar... They need to be sorted, roasted, crushed, ground... My job is to produce pure liquid cocoa, which I store in ‘bars’. It's a favourite with chefs, who use it to create amazing, natural pâtisserie. Thanks to Maison Duplanteur, I now work with chefs from top restaurants like Mirazur, La Place de Mougins, L'Oasis, Terre Blanche, Caffé César, Mas Candille, Cap Estel... The big new thing,” adds the artisan, “which is also very popular with chefs, is Majambo bars – an exceptional product made from an Amazonian bean that is a cousin of the cacao tree. Its fruit is rarer and can fetch  five times the price of cocoa”. Desserts have a future!


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