Life’s hard when you’re a chocoholic and you find yourself in the city where a world champion chocolate maker has a shop. Quite how it’s taken me over a year to discover artiste chocolatier Quentin Bailly is beyond me.
But now I have – and something tells me this find isn’t going to help my waistline.
The shop was recommended to Damon by one of his colleagues. He couldn’t remember the name but gave Damon directions.
We needed them – the tiny shop is tucked away on Lille’s Rue des Arts, which isn’t what you could call a destination with high footfall. That said, the shop is across the road from the opera house car park, so maybe the choice of location wasn’t entirely haphazard.
Being opposite a Gur Kebab joint wouldn’t suit it at all.
We dropped by last Saturday. Just window-shopping, you understand.
Of course, the staff weren’t going to let two well-dressed gentlemen escape without sampling a chocolate. It was hell, I tell you.
I tried a Youzouzou, a dark chocolate filled with a fresh yuzu ganache. Damon opted for a Fresh Green, another dark chocolate, but this one as filled with a ganache of Brazilian lime.
We bought a medium-sized box of further ganache-filled delights.
We were also rather taken by the Briquettes du Nord, bars of chocolate fashioned to resemble miniature house bricks typical of the north of France. They are a nod to Bailly’s roots here in le Nord.
Bailly was awarded the title of Champion du Monde de la Pâtisserie in 2013, at the age of just 28. Sickeningly, he looks rather slim in all the photos I have seen of him.
I hope that an occasional little chocolate from his shop won’t undo the work Damon and I have been doing to shed what we call our French weight.
This is the extra kilo or, ahem, two we have put on since moving to France. It must be all the wine, viennoiseries and cream sauces.
“I hope that an occasional chocolate won’t undo the work we have been doing to shed what we call our French weight”
We’ve taken up exercise and have stopped drinking wine two nights a week to counter it. We both hate it, but within just a few weeks we can already see and feel the difference.
Will another elegant Quentin Bailly chocolate unravel all that good work? Frankly, I’m willing to take that chance.
Photos © Quentin Bailly