Today's article is the third in October's three-part series on France's Rhone Valley. When one thinks of French chocolate, the name Valrhona is at the top of the list. Valrhona is synonymous with quality. Revered by Michelin star chefs around the globe, Valrhona chocolate is made in the Rhone Valley. Take another look at the name: Val - Rhona, short for Vallee du Rhone (or Rhone Valley in English). The chocolate is named after the region in which it was first made more than 100 years ago.
In 1922 pastry chef and candy maker Albert Giuronnet opened a chocolate shop in Tain Hermitage, a thriving small wine town located on the Rhone River. Attentive to quality, Monsieur Giurronet insisted on roasting his own cocoa beans. It didn't take long for his chocolate products to become well known and he became the supplier for the best pastry chefs in the Rhone Valley.
Fast forward 100 years: Valrhona's chocolate empire remains in Tain Hermitage a croissant's toss from the Rhone River. Today, it's a large high-tech factory with a visitor's center called the Cite du Chocolat (City of Chocolate). Within this complex is the Ecole du Chocolat (School of Chocolate) where professional chefs from around the world flock to learn about the wonders of cooking with Valrhona's expansive portfolio of high-end chocolate products.
Wine-Knows will be visiting Valrhona's Cite du Chocolat next September to tour the facility. A word of warning: there will be many samples for tasting! We have a few vacant spots remaining on this trip which also visits Champagne, Burgundy & Provence.