I must admit, I didn’t always understand chocolate bread. When I would see it in bakeries in the US, nestled next to savory rosemary olive loaves and breakfast sweets like cinnamon rolls and croissants it seemed like a bland choice, almost like a treat for someone who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth. When my dad told me he had developed a thing for chocolate bread the last time he was in Paris, it dawned on me–maybe I would really like it too. What if I had been missing out on the most amazing pastry in the case all these years? I resolved to do some research and try it out when I got to Paris.
I’ve been spotting intriguing loaves around town, but none more pretty than the dark, shiny one at at Liberté, a new bakery near the Canal Saint Martin in the 10th Arrondissement. When I first spotted this bakery on a quaint corner I did a double take, attracted by the sparse, mostly glass facade that allowed you to see inside. When I peered in the window my eyes were immediately drawn to the waxy loaf of chocolate bread. I resisted the urge to indulge at the moment but I put it on my list of treats to try. I decided today was the day so I road my bike to the bakery this morning and took my time scanning the pastry case.
This bakery is a refreshing change from the typical Parisian boulangerie. It’s industrial and modern with concrete walls and ceilings, tubular lighting and and a long marble counter. The all-open kitchen allows you to see pastry chefs hard at working piping teardrops of custard onto tarts and putting the finishing touches on architectural layered cakes. I debated ordering a number of things, as I always do, but I ultimately settled on the chocolate bread and an almond venoisserie. I took my treats to the canal. The bread had been wrapped in paper and when I opened it I was immediately hit full in the face with the scent of rich cocoa powder.
I took my first bite and was pleased by the texture. The outer layer was unmistakably bread-like with a bit of chew but the middle had a light and airy, almost cake-like, consistency. In addition to the chocolate dough, there were bits of dark chocolate and white chocolate throughout that melted in my mouth as I chewed giving another textural element and a sweet burst of flavor. Needless to say, with an almost triple whammy of chocolate, this is definitely a treat for chocolate lovers. I think, for me, chocolate bread is actually a bit rich for breakfast. The portion at Liberté is generous, I could scarcely finish a third of it, but ofcourse, as the day wore on I found myself taking pulls here and there. I’ve savored the chocolate punch every time–definitely not a boring choice at all.
39 rue des Vinaigriers
Paris, France 75010
01 42 05 51 76