fèves de cacaco dans les mains de l'artisan

The cocoa tree is a tree like no other, originally grown in ancestral cultivations and soils. The care and know-how that transform beans into cocoa and then into chocolate bars are a goldsmith’s secret. Using skilful techniques derived from long traditions, great alchemists continue to unlock the secrets of cocoa pods and transform their seeds into gold.

The role of a “dream smuggler”, which Stéphane Bonnat and Jean Sulpice fully embrace. The former transforms the pod into chocolate, to be used by Jean in his recipes. One of few transformed ingredients that do find their way into the chef’s creations. In both trades, the goal is the same: to sublimate high-quality raw materials and make them accessible through unrivalled expertise. And let’s be honest: if indulgence were to be represented, it would certainly come in the form of chocolate.
machine de la famille Bonnat pour le chocolat
fabrication de chocolat, chocolat liquide

These small, simple tiles, whose mere presence is enough to evoke desire and take us back into childhood, are a singular material for chef Jean Sulpice. An opportunity to express, with great creativity and sensitivity, his own definition of the word “pleasure”. This endeavour is constantly renewed by the endless possibilities and associations that chocolate continues to inspire. It’s not as a cook, but as a craftsman that one can reveal all of its flavours, both literally and figuratively.
Stéphane Bonnat, chocolatier

Chocolate has the unique ability to summon childhood and its memories, to bring back long forgotten flavours. But far from sparking nostalgia for a lost time, it is all about experiencing the present moment. The genius of Marcel Proust - whose taste for chocolate should be remembered more than for his madeleines - lies in his ability to bring back moments of grace from the distant past. Stéphane Bonnat, Jean Sulpice’s partner and an exceptional chocolate maker in his own right, originates from a long family tradition and likes to remind us that his chocolate is “the most efficient and cheapest time machine on the market”.
Stéphane Bonnat cultivates this spirit of exploration, just like the seven generations of master chocolate makers before him. It is in the heart of the Amazonian forest, after a long and arduous journey with various means of transportation, that he was able to visit local growers very regularly since the age of seventeen. In contact with producers who maintain their small plots of land, often from father to son, he elaborates with them, in close collaboration and with respect for people and their land, what will constitute the excellence of tomorrow’s chocolate. This is a long-term endeavour that is in keeping with a tree’s long life and in contradiction with the immediacy of financial markets. No intermediary interferes between Stéphane Bonnat and the chocolate’s journey. From breaking the pods to drying the beans, from roasting to grinding, and from conching to moulding and giving the product its final shape, all stages are carefully controlled and constantly refined.

It is this passionate, uncompromising and quality-driven approach that has brought chef and chocolate maker closer together. Because Stéphane and Jean share the same concern for high standards, and a certain kind of appetite for performance in their field. From understanding the terroirs to mastering all the stages of transformation for Stéphane Bonnat. From inspiration to serving based on a mix of taste, instinct, creativity and seasonality for Jean Sulpice. Stéphane contributes his intensity and fine chocolate, while Jean shares his ideas and taste combinations to sublimate the blends.
artisan chocolatier qui manipule des fèves de cacao
"The care and know-how that transform beans into cocoa and then into chocolate bars are a goldsmith’s secret."
fabrication de tablettes de chocolat
Jean Sulpice en cuisine, photo noir et blanc

From this encounter were born some incredible sweet and salty dishes such as the “flambé chartreuse on chocolate shell” (chartreuse flambée sur coque de chocolat), but also the “chocolatheque”, available at the inn’s shop. Unique chocolate bars that bring together the beautiful, the good and the true. The beautiful, because the colours that wrap these delicacies are an invitation to tear them open. The good, because these tiles are both a journey through time and an immersion in the flavours of the equator. And the true, because these unique tastes, which oscillate between sweetness, bitterness and complexity, deliver remarkably authentic notes.
For Jean Sulpice, whose signature style is based on nature, associating tansy, meadowsweet, hogweed, wild thyme, and more recently buckwheat, pumpkin seeds and juniper with Stéphane Bonnat’s grands crus seems like an obvious choice.
But above all, the Sulpice-Bonnat combo is a landscape. In the foreground you can see Alpine nature, full of reliefs and contrasts, made up of game, forgotten vegetable and wild herbs. Echoing this is the singularity of primordial terroirs where the sounds and colours of the Amazon, the Caribbean and Africa mingle. Flavours with unique and inimitable character whose strength and personality reflect the specificity of each origin. You’ll taste the richness of the soil, flavours of the earth, mountains and rivers, but also the subtlety of nature’s tastes and shapes. It is this mixture of similar yet contrasting worlds that confers its singularity to products and finished dishes.

Propelled into a place and time halfway between childhood and enigmatic flavours, chocolate is and will remain the “food of gods”. A call to pleasure and a beautiful way to indulge. More than ever, Jean Sulpice lives and works by the motto of Maison Bonnat: “What is good for the palate does not harm the soul”.
dessert chocolat et persil, du chef étoilé Jean Sulpice
"And if indulgence were to be represented, it would certainly come in the form of chocolate."
Jean Sulpice
fèves de cacao et carreaux de chocolat
Rédaction : Christophe Dumarest | Photographie : Franck Juerry
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