Going to Lyon and not visiting Bernachon is like ignoring the Mona Lisa painting from the Louvre museum. Bernachon, which has a long history in chocolate, is today cited among France’s top chocolatiers. It offers its guests an unforgettable experience with their chocolates made from the best cocoa beans in the world. We brought Bernachon, the oldest chocolate shop of France, to our cover in our new issue and listened to Bernachon’s legendary story from Third Generation Representative Philippe Bernachon.
Bernachon was founded by Maurice Bernachon in 1953 in Lyon. Now the brand is entrusted to Jean-Jacque’s children Philippe, Stephanie and Candice, representatives of the third generation of the family. The master of Bernachon’s unique delights is Philippe Bernachon. Philippe Bernachon, who first engaged in trade away from his family heritage, later opts to become a chocolatier, describing this situation in the words of “passion passes from father to son.” The successful name tells the story of Bernachon, who has been Lyon’s best chocolatier for years: “Behind every great legacy, there is always one person’s passion, their decisions, their unwavering principles and carefulness. Just like my grandfather Maurice Bernanchon. Always striving for perfection, Maurice Bernachon engaged in all the dining areas at the beginning of his career while one day he met chocolate and they become an inseparable duo afterwards.”
Bernachon generation that carries on the business that started with the passion
After Maison Bernachon was established, it quickly gained prestige in Lyon. Then, thanks to the articles published in the New York Times, its reputation rapidly spreads abroad. Thus, Bernachon is the first brand that comes to mind when it comes to chocolate. The goal of the 3rd generation, which inherited this legacy, is to produce unique chocolates that taste like their grandfathers and follow in his footsteps. Françoise and Jean-Jacque’s children Philippe, Stephanie and Candice continue the Bernachon culture with different tasks. Philippe manages the laboratories called ‘hidden chocolate factory’ in the back of the store. Meanwhile, Stephanie carefully guides everything to ensure sales. Finally, Candice takes care of the restaurant and tea room with her mother Françoise.
The Bernachon brothers are systematically moving things forward among themselves and working devotedly to pass Bernachon’s reputation to other generations. Philippe most recently added a new Bernachon store in Paris in October 2019. This new store, where includes only chocolate, is enough to make Parisians happy.
The world’s best cocoa beans from afar
Working with an international cocoa bean importer that contacts local producers around the world, Bernachon’s chocolates consist of 10 different types of cocoa beans, all with different taste and density. Quality cocoa beans from faraway lands have been obtained and developed in the same place for 60 years. Philippe Bernachon explains the secret of signature chocolates by saying: “Many processes, from the selection of cocoa beans to the production and even the packaging of each chocolate, are done by hand and with precision and care in keeping with the principle of excellence of my grandfather Maurice Bernachon. My grandfather was a visionary. He became prominent by producing a different recipe from his colleagues. Chocolates with different and unchanging tastes are Bernachon’s signature. My grandfather Maurice Bernachon chose 8 or 10 varieties of cocoa beans from many different countries to create this. Of course, weather conditions and good harvest were also important to him. Therefore, we never do business independently. We continue his legacy by staying true to even the smallest point. Therefore, Bernachon flavours will continue to be transferred from past to present with the same taste and texture to future years.”
The flavour that has not lost its reputation for years; Le Président cake
The Palette d’or, which uses natural cream from Isigny and Chuao chocolate bar, which is made from Chuoa’s finest cocoa beans, is the favourite flavours of Bernachon, which always uses natural products in its chocolates and cakes. In addition to the praline hazelnuts they use in their chocolate, they also produce their own caramels. Another favourite of Bernachon is the Le Président cake. Philippe Bernachon tells the story of the iconic cake, Le Président, by saying: “This cake created in 1975 by my grandfather Maurice Bernachon at the presentation of the Medal of Honor given to Paul Bocuse for French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing. Le Président cake, which has been a favourite of Bernachon since then, continues its reputation from the past.”