Chocolate Purveyors 16- Jacques Dahan
Chocolate Purveyors is a blog series where we connect and discuss everything chocolate with both makers and enthusiasts. This discussion is with Jacques Dahan the President of Michel Cluizel.
Michel Cluizel is a French Chocolate Manufacturer since 1948. For three generations the Cluizel family has evolved amidst fragrances of chocolate. With the help of skilled cacaofèviers, confectioners and chocolate makers, the family carries on with their tradition, where everything started in Damville, Normandy.
Do you remember your first experience with real chocolate? What was it?
I was very young, probably 3 or 4 years old during the holiday season. Many years ago, chocolate was a "luxury" and as a kid, we only had chocolate around Christmas time and Easter. My dad used to buy in advance few large boxes that, of course, he'll put in a "safe" place providing us with one chocolate bonbon at a time. My favorite was a "buchette" like a mini twig in nougatine (croquant- covered with almond bits and dark chocolate).
How is the chocolate culture in North America compared to Europe?
I have been here for over 25 years and have seen a drastic change in chocolate consumption in America, yet, most American consumers still buy with their eyes and not their palate. A beautiful label, an interesting shape and/or color will outsell an incredible taste...
What type of experience can someone expect tasting Michel Cluizel Chocolate?
Since 1948, the Cluizel family has been working hard on providing consumers with the "best" taste possible for our chocolate bars as well as finish products like truffles. Many chocolatiers claim the same thing... very few deliver. Our Single Estate chocolates are truly unique and we carefully select each time, beans that will provide a completely different experience while very close in cocoa content.
Do you prefer hot chocolate or coffee in the morning?
Let's be honest. In the morning I really need coffee first... but I don't mind following Michel Cluizel's custom, having a hot chocolate in the evening before going to bed!
How much does packaging matter in craft chocolate?
As I explained previously, In France much less than in the USA.
What is your process?
Being a "middle size" company we process small batches compared to the industrial giants. However, we are equipped in our facility in Damville (France) with the finest equipment that provides quality and safety.
What chocolate are you eating from other makers these days?
Being very curious and chocoholic, I am opened to almost every tasting. Sometimes pleasantly surprised and sometimes... much less.
Do you have a personal favourite terroir to work with?
I like "rounded" chocolate, not overly acidic. For me today, Mokaya (from the Chiapas region in Mexico) truly corresponds to my taste.
For someone trying Michel Cluizel Chocolate for the first time, what chocolate would you give them to try?
As I do before providing a tasting, I will first ask them what they like... because what's most important for me is not to "impose" a bar of chocolate on someone but guide them toward the profile that fits the best their taste buds.
Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring chocolatiers?
As Michel Cluizel's once told me: "Be true to what you like and do the best you can. Not everybody might like your products but every one will acknowledge and respect your passion"
What does the future hold for Michel Cluizel?
A very chocolaty one. Lol!!
We want to thank the Michel Cluizel marketing team for making this happen and for Jacques taking the time to participate in our interview.
To get started with craft chocolate, start with our Kekao Box. We search the world for the finest chocolate bars and bring them right to your doorstep monthly. From rich dark Peruvian chocolate bars to new start-up chocolate bars on the come up, you never know what you'll get inside the box! Each month we will curate 4 to 5 premium specialty crafted chocolate bars.
If you want to just try a couple of bars, check out our online chocolate store.
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