Behind the Brand: The Story of the Confectioners

Behind the Brand: A Tale of Two Confectioners
February 27, 2023

How a Paris confectioner founds a luxurious chocolate store in London.

On either side of the Seine are the branches of the Maison Boissier, as they’re sheathed in gold Maroon Glassis and fruit-flavored bonbons in spherical ornamental packing containers, and tins of pastel pink or mild blue are offered to passing Parisians and vacationers. Throughout the Channel, in London’s Royal Arcade on Outdated Bond Avenue, store sells crowns of darkish chocolate and dusted truffles by Marc de Champagne in spherical, pink and white rectangular tins with Charbonnel et Walker written in fancy gold lettering. The historical past of those two institutions is one shared and maybe visually apparent, given the similarities of their packaging. One hatched from the opposite, their longevity displays our style for nice handcrafted chocolate and confectionery and testifies to the creativity of the makers who produce them.

Maison Boissier storefront in 1929 © Charbonnel et Walker

the beginnings of hemorrhoids;

Pierre Belisaire Boissier (1810-1890) arrived in Paris from the town of Poirieu in western France, aspiring to make his mark on the earth of confectionery.

To begin with, life within the capital was troublesome and he was sleeping below a ladder, however his perseverance paid off and by 1835, he achieved his objective of founding a Maison Boassier. It started as a kiosk on Boulevard des Capucines, and later turned a store at No. 9, earlier than mushrooming alongside the principle avenues of the “stunning arteries of Paris”.

Boulevard des Capucines in 1870, the place Maison Boissier started © Charbonnel et Walker

The confectioner turned identified among the many elite for its fruit taste ballsclean and spherical as marble; for him lozenges Flavored with mint, rose and jasmine. The pineapple model referred to as “le bonbon des theatresFor it was customary to eat such sweets as to suck them in in the course of the interval; so is he Maroon Glassis. Victor Hugo was certainly one of many writers who praised the standard of Maison Boissier’s merchandise in purple prose: “Because of Boissier, my doves, we fall fortunately at your toes. The sturdy are conquered by bombs, the weak by sweets.”

Boissier luggage from 1894 © Charbonnel et Walker

With such an illustrious following, it has grow to be a Boissier custom to call a brand new dessert in the beginning of the yr in honor of theatrical or literary success from the previous 12 months. The 1863 “Slambo” is called after Flaubert’s novel of the identical title, which in 1890 turned an opera by Ernest Reyer. It’s a tongue-shaped petit 4, lined with cream and sugar and generally sprinkled with chopped pistachios on each ends.

In 1879, Marie Duplessis, muse of La Dame aux Camélias creator Alexandre Dumas-Fils, took a few of Boissier’s sweets to the stage. The corporate didn’t need higher publicity, and within the archives in its catalogs there are sweet luggage made from satin, embroidered with the phrase “Opera”.

Boissier bonbons in a blue field © Charbonnel et Walker

Delights Field

Boissier lozenges And balls It got here in luggage and packing containers and was a marvel of expertise and artistry that lasted into the reign of Boissier’s successor, Cyrille Robineau. Shocking as it might appear at present, Maison Boissier’s packaging took the type of elaborately adorned miniature cupboards made from papier-mâché or tortoiseshell with mother-of-pearl inlay, meant to be stored as souvenirs after consuming the confectionery jewels inside. Light-weight, these containers even have locks and keys, indicating the associated fee and luxurious standing of the delicacies they maintain. And that was not all: silk luggage for sweets had been made and expert animators had been commissioned to design promoting designs.

Boissier’s wood sweet field from 1856, lined with papier-mâché © Charbonnel et Walker

Charbonnel Walker

Mademoiselle Virginie Eugénie Charbonnel (1848-1926) discovered her commerce at Maison Boissier, rising by the ranks to grow to be chairwoman, and it was most likely right here, in Paris, that she met her future companion, Minnie Walker from Jersey.

In 1875 the 2 girls arrange their very own store in London, which they known as Charbonnel et Walker. The long run King Edward VII inspired 27-year-old Virginie to make the courageous transfer overseas: He advised her it might be the primary Parisian store within the British capital. The brand new enterprise was marketed as: “Parisian confectioners and bonbon makers”; Ex-premières de la Maison Boissier de Paris’.

Virginie Eugenie Charbonnel © Charbonnel et Walker

To begin with, Virginie and Minnie ran their enterprise from the place they lived at No. 5 Clarendon Mansions on modern Bond Avenue. Virginie targeted on making chocolate, whereas her companion targeted on designing and creating luxurious packing containers and reward luggage. One of many first candies Virginie considered rolling out was a darkish chocolate crown, which is an attention-grabbing alternative given the monarchy’s turbulent historical past in France, although it might have been a nod to the aforementioned Prince of Wales. The Plain Crown (No. 1 numbered chocolate within the present Charbonnel et Walker Heritage vary) is made out of a recipe of darkish chocolate, blended marzipan, whiskey and hazelnut candies. Different favorites from 1875 are English lotions of rose and English violet (numbers 4 and 5 within the present assortment) with smooth fondant facilities and crystallized petals on prime.

Minnie Walker’s contribution included a pink satin reward bag embroidered with flowers and sequins crammed with candies for particular events. As is the case with Maison Boissier throughout the water, the shop has been identified for its cute and cute packaging. One reporter famous: “When bonbonniere devoid of its candy contents, the field would represent both a jewellery field or a handkerchief field…”

Canary Wharf store at Charbonnel et Walker © Charbonnel et Walker

Courtroom case, new sweets and tea room

The partnership between Virginie Charbonnel and Minnie Walker was short-lived. In 1877, Virginie married the wine service provider Samuel Levy, and a yr later determined to return to France. Minnie acquired the rights to proceed buying and selling below the previous firm title. Nevertheless, her ex-partner objected, and sued her to stop her from utilizing it – which she misplaced.

Each girls continued the confectionery enterprise on either side of the canal. In Paris, Samuel and Virginie opened La Confiserie Charbonnel—aka Le Palais des Bonbons—at 34 Avenue de l’Opéra. It was an affair. They commissioned the theatre’s architect, Charles de Lalande, to construct a retailer of gold decorations, frescoes, mirrors, and a grand staircase. “When my clients are available in,” the confectioner declared, “I need them to suppose they’ve stepped right into a fairy story known as Le Bonbon.” Mockingly, when it comes to type, buyer base, and product, La Confiserie Charbonnel discovered itself in direct competitors with Virginie’s earlier employers, Maison Boissier.

Canary Wharf store at Charbonnel et Walker © Charbonnel et Walker

capital success

In the meantime, again in London, Minnie Walker was additionally having fun with implausible success. She had opened a tea room in Bond Avenue and obtained a license to promote wine in addition to working a chocolate store. Its status for luxurious was demonstrated when Leopold de Rothschild married Marie of Perugia in 1881, and Charbonnel A. Walker introduced white satin luggage embroidered with “Leopold et Marie” and crammed with delicacies. Parallel to Victor Hugo in Paris, Oscar Wilde declared in 1890, “The Home of Charbonnel is likely one of the oldest confectioners’ kitchen staff, and on their tables you will see that the latest dessert dishes…”.

Whereas La Confiserie Charbonnel didn’t see the nineteenth century, its predecessors, Maison Boissier in Paris and Charbonnel et Walker in London, have survived. Maison Boissier has stored the distinctive look of its packing containers and packing containers whereas attempting to bridge the troublesome line between custom and modernity. At this time, you promote Maroon Glassis infused with cognac, rum, pear, vanilla or chocolate; bonbon her balls They arrive in all flavors from lime to blueberry, and chocolate petals had been utilized in 2014 to embellish Éliette Abécassis’ gown on the Salon du Chocolat in Paris.

Charbonnel et Walker Boîte Blanche © Charbonnel et Walker

Curiously, London’s Charbonnel et Walker types itself as an iconic British model, with its flagship retailer in The Royal Arcade, Outdated Bond Avenue, not removed from the unique 1875 location.

The candies are made at a manufacturing facility in Poundbury, Dorchester, within the Duchy of Cornwallland, and packed by hand. Among the many firm’s finest sellers are Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles and Milk Sea Salt Caramel Truffles.

Traditionally, the store had a following of kinds: Within the Nineteen Twenties, Noel Coward employed a railway carriage and despatched a footman to London for a field of chocolate almonds, because the Bloomsbury Assortment was identified to be keen on.

In 1970, Charbonnel et Walker had been awarded the Royal Warrant as producers of candies to Her Majesty The Queen, whose coat of arms seems on the packing containers (clearly, this may increasingly change after the demise of Elizabeth II). Maybe most magical of all, there is a chocolate known as Pomponette (No. 25 within the Heritage vary), which is darkish chocolate with marzipan and pistachio puree, named after Virginie Charbonnel’s cat. This, positive, ought to make him the cat’s whiskers.

Scrumptious pink champagne truffles © Charbonnel et Walker

Chocolate Field of Details

1615: 14-year-old Anne of Austria, daughter of Philip III of Spain, made a present of chocolate to her betrothed in France, 14-year-old King Louis XIII. It arrived in a field, which suggests its nice worth.

1760: Based Chocolat Lombart, the primary chocolate manufacturing facility in France. The corporate lasted almost 200 years earlier than it was absorbed by Meunier Chocolatier in 1957. A surviving Louis XVI-era Lompart chocolate field comprises chocolate discs made with nougat cream.

1800: The primary chocolate store opened in Paris was known as Debauve & Gallais on Rue des Saints-Pères (now a protected monument). Debeuf was a former chemist to King Louis XVI who combined medicines for Queen Marie Antoinette right into a paste of cocoa and cane sugar to make them extra palatable. The Queen known as this coin-shaped chocolate pistils;.

1903: Confectioner Anton Rampelmayer based a tea home together with his son Rene on Rue Rivoli. He named her Angelina after his daughter-in-law. Coco Chanel cherished going there and their well-known scorching chocolate, L’Africain, continues to be served.

1998: The Académie Française du Chocolat et de la Confiserie was established to protect the artwork of French chocolate. France welcomed chocolate in its delicacies, particularly pastries. Right here was the place for candies and candies Eclair Born, the latter was invented by the well-known French chef Antonin Careme (1784-1833).

From France At this time journal

Major picture proprietor: Charbonnel et Walker Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles (mild pink truffles with milk chocolate, butter and Marc de Champagne heart) © Charbonnel et Walker

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