Les Halles de Lyon – Chocolaterie Bernarchon – Brasserie L’Ouest de Paul Bocuse in Lyon
The MBA Luxury Brand Management Food & Wine students completed their academic program with a practical insight of French gastronomy as they went to Lyon to visit the famous Halles de Lyon de Paul Bocuse in order to discover its history as well as the variety of the regional specialties. After this first visit, students were invited to Bernarchon Chocolaterie where they were given an exquisite lesson about the production of fine chocolate. They even met Pascal, a chocolate maker and cocoa expert who proudly revealed to them the secrets of all the process of fabrication used by Bernarchon to turn raw cocoa beans into delightful chocolate cakes and candies.
Bernarchon is indeed one of the few and last chocolate factory to produce its own chocolate from cocoa beans imported from ten different areas of the world (Latin and South America such as Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Brazil). Bernarchon Chocolaterie is part of the gastronomy of Lyon and is well-known for the famous Président chocolate ganache cake made in honour of former French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. Moreover, the fact that Jean-Jacques, grand-son of the chocolaterie’s founder Maurice Bernarchon, has married Paul Bocuse’s daughter Françoise, the names of Bernachon and Bocuse are also the most renowned in French gastronomy.
To conclude the visit, the student had the pleasure to enjoy a full range of Bernarchon chocolate, such as the very famous Palais d’Or, a dark chocolate ganache covered with real gold leaf.
Last but not least, the morning ended with a lunch in the Brasserie de L’Ouest, one of the four brasserie restaurants that Paul Bocuse launched all over the city.
Visit at the Bon Marché and La Grande Epicerie in Paris
Back in Paris, the day after the study tour in Lyon, Mrs Black, gastronomy expert, took the students to visit the worldwide known Parisian store Le Bon Marché where they were given a deep insight of its architecture, which has not been changed since its creation in 1852 when Paul and Justin Videau went into a partnership with the Boucicaut family.
Mrs Black also introduced the specific characteristics of the creation and exclusive positioning of Le Bon Marché as well as its business and management organization from past to nowadays. For example, the idea of department store caused a revolution in the retail sector and fashion industry in the last century. Aristide Boucicaut even had the idea of building the Lutetia Hotel located on boulevard Raspail near Le Bon Marché so that the high society feminine customers could stay next to Le Bon Marché and enjoy shopping even more.
In the second part of the day, Mrs Black took the students to La Grande Epicerie. Every day, twenty chefs come to La Grande Epicerie at 1am to prepare all the food that is sold ready-to-consume in the store. They went through the different culinary corners, starting with the Pastry’s Laboratory with the famous “Gateau” representing Le Bon Marché. Then, next to the Luxury corner, they enjoyed the different kinds of truffle at the truffle tasting bar, before going through the Italian corner and the new “La Marée” area. Students also discovered that La Grande Epicerie hosted the biggest choice of bottles of water in the country (the most expensive one being sold for €60!). Last, they discovered the Wine and Spirits’ level offering affordable wines as much as the most expensive Cognac (Louis XIII priced at €2,400) and the most expensive champagne (Orfèvre Cristal Roederer offered at €18,000).
According to students, visiting Le Bon Marché and La Grande Epicerie and having the opportunity to learn what goes on behind the scenes provided a deep understanding of what Paris can offer in terms of gastronomy and exclusive brands, both in the fashion and food industry.