The Chocolatier Program in France is a unique opportunity to learn from French master chocolatiers. You'll be inspired and come away with an in-depth understanding of how fine French bonbons are developed, produced and presented.
Registration fee (does not include travel to and from France): Cost for this program has not been confirmed but note that the registration fee in prior years has been approximately 3500 Euros, single occupancy, for your budget planning.
Registration will open in the Fall 2019. Would you like to be notified when registration opens for this program?
Registration fee includes:
Exclusive hands-on program at Valrhona's Ecole du Grand Chocolat with certificate and recipes
Workshop and tasting with chocolate connoisseur Chloe Doutre-Roussel
Guided walking tour of chocolatiers' boutiques
Six nights accommodation in Tain l'Hermitage and Paris
Ground transportation includes Paris to Tain l'Hermitage return
The Chocolatier Program in France includes a special program of hands-on training at Valrhona's Ecole du Grand Chocolat, a special tasting of Paris chocolate with chocolate expert, Chloe Doutre-Roussel, and guided visits to Paris' important chocolatiers.
The French have always had a love affair with chocolate. Here are some early milestones in French history as related by Barry Callebaut.
The French got to know chocolate in 1615, when Louis XIII married the Spanish Anna of Austria. They moved to France, introducing the chocolate drink to the royal court. Anna even brought her own maid Molina to France, a beautiful girl who prepared the queen’s cocoa drink.
France had its first real chocolatier in 1659. David Chaillou prepared and sold biscuits and cakes made with chocolate for those who could afford it. It was still too early for real pralines, as we know them.
When, in the 18th century, empiric scientists like Pascal and others laid the basis of modern science, the medical potential of chocolate faded into the background while its nutritious and delicious values gained ground. The recipe for the chocolate drink at the same time became simpler and more purified: cocoa, sugar, vanilla and milk or water became the major players, while musk, amber and medicinal ingredients were left out. In other words: enjoying the taste of good chocolate became more important than its potential for curing ailments of all sorts.
Valrhona, located in the Rhône Valley since 1924, is considered by many to be the finest chocolate manufacturer in France. Their chocolate products supply both pastry chefs and chocolatiers around the world.
**Legend for meals included in your the program:
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
* Itinerary subject to change. Every effort will be made to keep the itinerary as it appears here. However, the final itinerary may vary due to schedules, availability and factors beyond our control.
Independent arrivals at tour hotel in Paris. Hotel accommodation and Sunday breakfast is included.
Sunday: B, L, D
After a workshop and tasting with Chloe Doutre-Roussel, we leave Paris in the afternoon by TGV and arrive in Valence, then on to Tain l'Hermitage. Welcoming dinner in Tain l'Hermitage.
Monday - Wednesday: B, L
Full day of classes with lunch at Valrhona's Ecole du Grand Chocolat. Free night for dinner in Tain l'Hermitage or Tournon.
Thursday: B, L
We leave from Valence by TGV in the morning and return to Paris for our farewell lunch and tour of the chocolatiers of Paris. Free evening.
Friday: B, L
Independent departures from host hotel.
This program is delivered in English.
Program participants and travel companions must be 17 years of age or older. Also note that the program involves a lot of standing for long periods and walking (with bags at times) so good mobility and strength are important. Because we go into small towns, access for the handicapped is minimal.
Dietary Restrictions - dietary restrictions such as allergies, religious tenets or personal health preferences (vegetarian/vegan, non-gluten, non-dairy, raw, organic) can be a challenge when we are out of the major cities into the smaller towns where our program training takes place. If you have dietary restrictions, please be aware that for group meals we may not be able to accommodate you nor will you find specialty restaurants catering to dietary restrictions. Also the chocolate recipes used in the training are developed by the Chefs to be the best examples of their country's chocolate culture. We cannot change the ingredients used in the recipes developed for the program to accommodate dietary restrictions.
Note re shared rooms Ecole Chocolat will pair students wishing to share a room in the order of receipt of their deposit. Please be prepared to pay the single room registration fee if we are unable to pair you with an appropriate roommate.
Want to bring a traveling companion?
Anyone planning to travel and stay with you during the program must be 17 years of age or older and must be registered with us as a traveling companion to accompany you for liability issues. Their registration includes:
Six nights accommodation in Paris and Tain l'Hermitage
Workshop and tasting with Chloe Doutre-Roussel
A guided walking tour of chocolatiers' boutiques in Paris
One dinner, two lunches
Ground transportation Paris to Tain l'Hermitage return
Our minimum requirement for this program to run is 8 students and the maximum is 12 students (traveling companions are not included in minimum or maximum number). You'll want to wait to book your flight to France until we confirm that the minimum number of students have registered.
Prerequisite: Ecole Chocolat Professional Chocolatier Certificate of Achievement or equivalent qualifications.
Are you interested in qualifying for this advanced hands-on program?
The Ecole Chocolat Professional Chocolatier Program is the only program of its kind that allows you to start learning professional gourmet chocolate making in your own home through our part-time 100%-online program.
Chocolatier Program certificate:
Students completing the program will receive an Ecole Chocolat Certificate of Achievement.
"I came on this trip as I love to learn and I was not disappointed. The level of teaching at Valrhona was consistently high and I gained so much from this very hands-on experience. I enjoyed making the various multi-layered bonbons, learning to use an enrober and spray gun and learning various decoration techniques. I was eager to learn about efficiency and up-scaling levels of production, and I felt that this course covered everything I needed to know. The teaching was at a very high level." – Shaoni, 2018 Program
"The France program was an extraordinarily valuable experience, being exposed to the L'Ecole Valrhona Chocolate Lab and having the ability to work hands-on with the specialized tools and equipment the entire time while having an experienced mentor nearby for input was invaluable. I have come away inspired with many new skills while gaining more confidence in my abilities. The entire program was run smoothly and exceeded my expectations." Jolene, 2017 Program
"Being a professional chef and pastry chef I had a lot of joy meeting wonderful people and the level of professionalism from the organizers was demonstrated at all times, showing their expertise and knowledge of chocolate- and bon-bon making. I will definately recommend the course that took place in Paris and Tain L'Hermitage to all industry professionals who's level of French language does not enable them to take part in the French-spoken courses. I would like to add one more important thing - the value for money exceeded my expectations beyond imaginable. I feel very lucky that I was able to take part in this course and I sincerely thank Ms. Pam Williams for organizing such a memorable experience." Laszlo, 2016 Program
In no particular order - try them all!
Check out our Pinterest Board: A Chocolate Day in Paris
Our Ecole Chocolat Graduate Chocolatier Programs only accommodate a limited number of students and are usually full, with a waiting list. As the programs involve a travel component, we need to contact those on the waiting list in enough time so they can make travel arrangements. If you have to cancel, we'll do everything in our power to find a replacement but can't guarantee that we'll be successful. No refunds will be given after 45 days prior to the program start date. Make sure you're totally commited to the program before paying your registration fee. We also suggest that you take out travel insurance when booking your travel to and from the program country, in case of an emergency.
Back to list of our other Graduate Chocolate Programs
Airbrushing bonbon molds.
Finishing the last decorations on the bonbon.
Piping ganache into truffle shells.
Making multifaceted bonbon recipes.
Using a guitar to cut ganache.
Preparing the ganache for enrobing.
Preparing the molds using tape for a line decoration.
Presentation of bonbons made in the program.
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