Can good chocolate only come from Switzerland, or maybe from Belgium? Definitively not, as Chocolat Bonnat is a true old chocolate producer doing business since 1884. This very traditional producer is located in Voiron, France, in the Isère département, 25 km from Grenoble.
What is so special about this chocolate is that it is one of the only chocolates on the market, produced without soy lecithin. Soy lecithin is an emulsifier made from soy beans (lecithin will also appear under E322 number), designed to guarantee perfect emulsion between fats and water. Soy lecithin can also be produced organically, so most organic chocolate will have some in it as well.
Also, chocolat Bonnat produces their chocolates from very scratch, including working the cocoa bean. This is a very meticulous and expensive process, and requires that you travel down to the cocoa bean fields, to choose the bean best suited for your product. Nowadays only a handful chocolatiers in Europe choose to take up this challenge. Most chocolatiers just buy the already pre-made cocoa mass from Barry Callebaut, a huge company in the chocolate industry (and unfortunately not very eco-friendly, fair trade or sociable). The result is that most chocolates will come from the same industrially produced cocoa mass.
The French organic brand Bonneterre, whose chocolate is produced in Switzerland, are also working without soy lecithin and make great chocolates!
So far I have only been able to taste Bonnat chocolate tablets, but they also make pralines. I believe they use more cocoa butter than most chocolates on the market, giving the product a very special, very rich consistency. One piece is just so indulgent and satisfying, there is no risk you will get fat from eating the whole bar. The bars are packaged really nicely, come in 100g tablets and retail between 4 and 8 €, depending if you get the “normal” ones, or the “Grands Crus d’exception”.
In Luxembourg, you can get Bonnat in Café Knopes, a tiny little Coffee shop in avenue de la Porte Neuve, that do excellent coffees.
If you are still looking for some Christmas treats, or some stocking fillers, this would be the perfect pick!