One simply can not do everything. Though I try to do as much as I can, especially when on a culinary oriented trip, it is simply impossible to do it all. I had two great opportunities that I had to pass up while I was in Lyon last week.
If any one knows me at all, that person would know that I
really, really love chocolate and that I am a huge fan of Valrhona. Last Tuesday I was invited to visit and tour the Valrhona factory near Lyon. Unfortunately, that was the first day of the Bocuse D'Or, so I opted to pass on the opportunity. I missed the factory and the tour, but I made it up to some extent by enjoying an outstanding lunch of savory and dessert chocolate dishes at the Valrhona booth at SIRHA under the direction of master chocolatier Frederic Bau and with the more than able participation of Valrhona USA chefs Derek Poirier and Alex Espiritu (former pastry chef at The Dining Room at The Ritz Carlton in San Francisco). Who knew that chocolate and seafood would go so well together?
The other missed opportunity was a Wednesday morning visit and tour of the Bernachon Chocolate workshop in Lyon organized by my friend Lucy Vanel. Fortunately I and you can still get a sense of what I missed on Lucy's wonderful blog, Lucy's Kitchen Notebook, where she does her typically great job painting a verbal and photographic description of the artisanal chocolatier. Though I didn't get to visit the workshop, I did visit the retail shop. The chocolates are truly amazing. Now my two favorite chocolate companies are based in or near Lyon.