The town of Tain-L’Hermitage is especially famous for the vines that surround it and their Côte du Rhône wines: Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage… But it is home to another treasure: Valrhona chocolates! To discover them, you must stop by the Cité du chocolat. Discover our good reasons for planning a family visit, as soon as the museum reopens.
Delicately placed on the saucer of your espresso sits a small black and gold square. Great restaurants around the worldaccompany their end-of-meal coffees with this small square containing a Valrhona chocolate. Made in the heart of the Drôme, in the middle of the Côtes du Rhône vineyards, Valrhona chocolates have existed since 1922. Here, we work the entire chain, from the pod to the chocolates, in an approach respectful of producers: the company is from elsewhere labeled B-Corp.
Since 2013, at the historic headquarters of Valrhona in Tain-L’Hermitage, the Cité du Chocolat has been established, the first tourist site dedicated to chocolate in France, and one of the few in the world. And this unique museum has no shortage of arguments to interest young and old alike. Here are our 6 reasons to introduce the Cité du Chocolat to your children as soon as it reopens.
Because they will taste
The tone is set from the entrance: the child (and his parents, no jealousy) is offered two squares of chocolate. The opportunity to learn to taste: unsurprisingly in this region so steeped in vineyards, tasting chocolate is a lot like tasting wine! Once the pretty gold paper is removed, we start by observing its color. By smelling it, even before tasting it. Then we listen to it: we break the square in two, to listen to the noise it makes when it breaks. Finally, it’s time to taste. A first half focusing on flavors: rather bitter or acidic? The other half by focusing on the aromas: do we find fruit, flowers…? Your kids will never eat chocolate like they did before!
Because they will understand everything about chocolate making
Of course, we do not visit the chocolate factory as such: but after the visit, chocolate making will no longer hold any secrets for you! We discover the nine stages: each of them is explained in video by an employee of Valrhona who describes his job. Exciting ! A little further on, a workshop allows you to see and taste the chocolate at each stage of its manufacture: the nib, which comes out of the bean; cocoa liquor; chocolate paste, to which we have already added cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla and soya lecithin, and finally the finished chocolate. Ideal for understanding how you go from a cocoa bean to the pretty tablet that is the joy of afternoon tea. The materials, the smells: everything is there.
Because they will immerse themselves in a tropical forest
This is one of the first rooms that you visit in the Cité du Chocolat, and it is perhaps the one where you will spend the most time: the tropical room offers a visual and sound immersion in a tropical forest, in the heart of a cocoa plantation. On all the walls, on the floor and the ceiling, animated forest images are projected. You can hear the birds moving, the insects buzzing, the leaves moving in the wind. Snakes slide on the ground: children can spend an hour trying to crush them with their feet. In the meantime, the immersion is frankly successful and the explanatory panels allow us to understand how men and women harvest cocoa beans.
Because they will have fun and get their hands dirty
Before climbing to the first floor, children will observe how chocolate candies are made using the precious coating technique. All this chocolate which flows to coat the hazelnuts… makes your mouth water! On the first floor, they discover all the trades of chocolate professionals: the pastry chef, the chocolatier, the roofer … Many fun workshops allow them to have fun with chocolate: on a tablet, they must memorize and repeat a Royal recipe chocolate like a great chef. Elsewhere, they will have fun writing their name in chocolate: more difficult than it seems! The little ones benefit from a dedicated play area, L’Ile O Petits. Pastry workshops are planned for 7-13 year olds, by reservation and for around 30 minutes.
Because they can make an all chocolate lunch
The Comptoir Porcelana serves as the restaurant of the Cité du Chocolat. The dishes initiated by the famous pastry chef of the house, Frédéric Bau, integrate chocolate from starter to dessert, for unprecedented combinations. Butternut with pecan praline, dark chocolate duck legs, white chocolate lemon verrine: amazing!
Because they will convince you to go through the store
And frankly, they won’t need to push you a lot! The visit to the Cité du chocolat ends with the large Valrhona boutique, where you can find all the products of the Drôme chocolate maker at preferential prices. Unmissable.