The Chocolate factory/THE PRODUCTION PROCESS

THE HEART OF THE CHOCOLATERIE DE PUYRICARD

Our manufacturing workshops are set amid several hectares of wooded parkland in the village of Puyricard, at the heart of the Aix countryside. In addition to our 3500 m² production workshop, we also have a 1200 m² commercial building (dispatch department, public relations, sales department, conference room).

THE PRODUCTION WORKSHOP

Our production workshop is divided into a number of areas, each kept separate from the others to maintain their respective specialities :

The moulding area - successive filling and demoulding to meet the requirements of “progress”. This qualitative hygiene strategy is based on the principle that healthy products must not come into contact with “contaminated” ones.
The moulding technique involves filling a mould with chocolate and then turning it over to let the excess chocolate run out. This leaves the shell. Then the chocolatier hand fills his moulds with a filling (praline, ganache, etc.). Finally, he covers the mould with a thin layer of chocolate to seal it. In moulding, liquid or fondant fillings can be added. This is not possible with enrobing.
Here at Puyricard, we refuse to go down the mechanisation route as only our Master Chocolatiers can gauge the thickness of the shell. This means that we can produce a crisp chocolate shell which contains a smooth filling.

The “paste” workshop where we make our fillings: ganaches and pralines. This is also where we produce all our caramels and nougatines and pasteurise our crème fraîche.

Enrobing and dipping : Unlike in moulding, the fillings are made first. They are chopped and then dipped, or enrobed in dark or milk couverture chocolate. Then, before it sets, the chocolate is decorated with a whole almond, a design made with a fork, a cocoa bean... each type of chocolate has its own style of decoration.

The Palets d’Or workshop : The front of every Palet d’Or is decorated with real 22 carat gold and the back bears a fork mark. This is an authentic gold and silversmiths’ workshop where everything is in place to ensure gold and silver leaf of a consistently high standard.

The truffle workshop is unique in that it is an enclosed space, away from the other workshops. This is necessary to ensure that the cloud of cocoa powder which hangs in the air here does not impair the other chocolates.

The confectionery workshops : this is where our calissons, macarons, marshmallows, riads and biscuits are made. 
The confectionery workshop doors are only ever opened with great care to prevent the escape of chocolate’s worst enemies: the moisture produced when blanching almonds, the heat generated by baking biscuits, and also the aromas of biscuits and marshmallows.

The ice-cream workshop is, of course, unique in that it is the only place where we use refrigeration. In addition, the hygiene requirements for ice-cream are different from those for other products - boots and masks must be worn. This workshop is totally enclosed and inaccessible, like an operating theatre, when ice-cream is being made.

A good Master Chocolatier produces 20 kilos of moulded chocolates or 120 kilos of enrobed chocolates a day. Moulded chocolate accounts for 70% of Puyricard’s output, which makes for a rather “uneconomical” - but wonderfully delicious - production process.

WHAT GOES INTO OUR FILLINGS

Ganaches : A mixture of hot chocolate and a dairy product such as crème fraîche, milk or butter. The crème fraîche, which we pasteurise ourselves, is mixed with the liquid chocolate. The butter is beaten vigorously until it becomes light and fluffy and then it too is mixed into the liquid chocolate.

Pralines : A mixture of sugar and roasted and ground nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, etc.). Butter and liquid chocolate are then added to create a smooth filling.

Caramels : a sweet mixture of sugar and water for traditional caramel, salted caramel, nougatines, nougat...

Almond pastes : A mixture of Spanish almonds and Provençal bitter almonds for the taste, with added sugar.

Alcohol : For liqueur chocolates.
Our alcohol-flavoured chocolates contain prestigious brands (Grand-Marnier, Poire Williams, Triple Sec, etc.) - but in very small amounts, as the percentage is usually below 2% of the finished product.