Dean Owen

5 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

chat Contact the author

thumb_up Relevant message Comment

A Penchant for the Best – Le Chocolatier Extraordinaire

A Penchant for the Best – Le Chocolatier Extraordinaire

The Japanese are, for lack of a better word, obsessed with quality. They have a knack for seeking out the best in the World. They know how to cut through the marketing spiel and identify the pinnacle of craftsmanship.

Whilst the whole World is brainwashed by big marketing budgets into thinking Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin make the best watches, or John Lobb or Berluti the best men’s shoes, the Japanese will seek out the true artisans who dedicate their lives to perfection. Hardly surprising that Japan is often chosen as the first destination to set up shop outside of the home county.

In Japan, the best are celebrated with a passion. Independent watchmakers like Philippe Dufour and Kari Voutilainen and Roger Smith enjoy almost cult status with a fan base much akin to groupies at a rock concert. A trip to London is often a chance to purchase a bespoke pair of shoes from George Cleverley on Old Bond Street.

A Penchant for the Best – Le Chocolatier Extraordinaire

Needless to say that when word got out that a young Belgian of Italian descent was taking the chocolate world by storm, Pierre Marcolini became almost an overnight sensation in the small island nation in the Far East. It helped that the young Marcolini was the epitome of European charm and sophistication, but it was his unique creations that ultimately won the hearts and tummies of the Japanese.

A Penchant for the Best – Le Chocolatier Extraordinaire

Pierre Marcolini was born on July 12th,1964 in Charleroi, Belgium. From very early on, his sweet tooth had almost determined his destiny, and at the tender age of 14, Marcolini decided to become a patissier. Graduating with a diploma in bakery, pastry and chocolate making from the Ceria School in Anderlecht and the Infobo in Uccle, Marcolini took on a job as a pastry manager at a small bakery. This was followed by internships at world renowned Wittamer and Fauchon.

Just shy of his 20th birthday, Marcolini won the Best Young Pastry Cook of Belgium award and 10 years later, the World Champion of Pastry in Lyon.

In 1996, Marcolini opened his first shop on the Avenue Louise in Brussels, and has since expanded into Japan, Paris, London, Monaco, Luxembourg, and Kuwait and Honolulu. Unsurprisingly, outside of Belgium, Japan boasts the most standalone stores with 6 locations.

A Penchant for the Best – Le Chocolatier ExtraordinaireSo what exactly makes Pierre Marcolini so special? Of the establishment, and I am talking “bean-to-bar”, we all love Godiva, Neuhaus, Leonidas, and even non-Belgium chocolatiers like La Maison du Chocolat from France, See’s Candy from the US, and Japan’s native Royce. Many, like Marcolini, claim to control every step of the production process, sourcing only the best beans from countries like Peru, Brazil, Ecuador and Madagascar. But it is Marcolini’s delicate and unique marriage of flavours that stands above the rest. If you get a chance to sample some, I suggest you start with their signature Palets Fins. These are small chocolate squares with a thin filling of liquid caramel flavoured and scented with ingredients like fresh passion fruit, orange flowers, or pistachio, and even apple. Place one square on your tongue and let the warmth of your mouth melt the chocolate until the liquid caramel oozes out. Trust me, mind will be blown!

A Penchant for the Best – Le Chocolatier Extraordinaire

Be sure to order a cup of hot chocolate. Almost a meal itself, this rich, but smooth cup of deliciousness will be like no other cup you have ever experienced.

As you can imagine, consider me as one of Marcolini’s groupies. I even named one of my dogs after the man!

Introducing Como, Capri, Monza, and last but not least, Marcolini.

A Penchant for the Best – Le Chocolatier Extraordinaire

Dean Owen is Co-Founder of Quimojo, a revolutionary new concept in Global Campus Recruitment.

Pictures courtesy of Pierre Marcolini

thumb_up Relevant message Comment

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #8

Haven't come across it before. Just watched the trailer on YouTube. I'll keep an eye out for it, when I'm looking for old movies. 📽 #8

Dean Owen

5 years ago #7

Reminds me of that Aussie flick from way back, The Coca cola kid.

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #6

Child labour is reportedly a common problem with coffee also, Dean Owen, and, I understand, in the sugar cane fields of El Salvador. If you come across "Belching out the Devil" by Mark Thomas, it's well worth a read. The sub-title is "Global Adventures with Coca-Cola". 📙#6

Dean Owen

5 years ago #5

Only through a window of a Japanese patissier in Tokyo. It would be nice to see where the cocoa beans come from too, but I fear the industry really needs to get to grips with slavery and child labour that appears rampant in the supply chain for big corp manufacturers like Nestle and Mars, especially in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #4

Tell me, Dean Owen, have you ever in your travels seen the conching process in operation? Eating chocolate is not enough for this melancholic engineer. I must really make an effort to see the roasting and conching processes in action. #3

Dean Owen

5 years ago #3

Thanks Catalina, I do love my dogs (2 Italian greyhounds and 2 whippets). Do try Pierre Marcolini if you get the chance (in London, Brussels, or if in Tokyo I will fly over and treat you!)

Dean Owen

5 years ago #2

I remember the Noosa Chocolate Factory from my Singapore days. They opened up in the Esplanade and the whole country went wild for their chocolate fondue. Interesting article, and glad you shared it. Goes against everything we were taught growing up.

Ken Boddie

5 years ago #1

You got me at quality control, Dean Owen, and then a double whammy when you mentioned chocolate. 🕵 ☕️ The wife and I are often seen these days either sipping a locally conched chocolate drink (typically from the Noosa Chocolate Factory) or purchasing from the local Lindt retailer. Unfortunately we don't have anything that comes close to the exotic menu to which you refer in your post, but you did bring back memories of our time in Brussels a few years back. Perhaps you are also aware of the very real 'feel good' characteristics of chocolate?

More articles from Dean Owen

View blog
4 years ago · 2 min. reading time

Talking Hands

I turned towards my buddy. He made a twisting moti ...

4 years ago · 3 min. reading time

Mixed Tape

Jenny, Natalie, Ashley · I was a teenager once. A ...

4 years ago · 2 min. reading time

Peculiar Customs of Weird and Wonderful Japan

Yes it is March 14th, which means that chocolate s ...