A family chocolate factory in Provence
The story of Marie-Anne and Jan-Guy Roelandts, founders of the Chocolaterie de Puyricard, is an unusual story.
Although of Belgian origin, it is in the Congo that they made their beginnings in the world of chocolate candy, and it is in the small Provencal village of Puyricard, in the middle of lavender, that they set up their first workshop.
Their son Tanguy and their granddaughter Solène now run the family business together.
The brand, which is synonymous with chocolate excellence and handcraft, has spread from the South East of France to Paris through its network of 21 shops, and is exported abroad.
Find our book of the 50 years of the chocolate factory "Le Vrai Chocolat".
Here's a look back in a few dates at the stages of this undeniable gourmet success!
1958, a wedding and chocolate
The story begins with the meeting and marriage of Marie-Anne and Jan-Guy in Belgian Congo in 1958. In order to have the means to escape from the unstable situation in the country, Jan Guy entrusts his wife with the task of learning the secrets of chocolate.
The young couple started both a family and a chocolate factory.
The first two chocolate candies created by Marie-Anne bear the names of her two daughters : Christelle and Isabelle.
The 60s in the Congo
Marie-Anne's tenacity in learning, and her efforts to satisfy a varied clientele in a country where she is the only one to make chocolate, paid off quickly. She moves away from the Belgian recipes that her training has taught her, to develop her own chocolates, less fat and less sweet. The focus is already on quality suppliers and careful presentation of the boxes. His chocolates are becoming a luxury gift that diplomats like to give to their foreign guests.
The 60s in the Congo
Marie-Anne's tenacity in learning, and her efforts to satisfy a varied clientele in a country where she is the only one to make chocolate, paid off quickly. She moves away from the Belgian recipes that her training has taught her, to develop her own chocolates, less fat and less sweet. The emphasis is already placed on quality suppliers and a careful presentation of the boxes. Her chocolates are becoming a luxury gift that diplomats like to offer to their foreign guests.
1967, direction Puyricard
Despite the success of their business, the couple is forced to leave the country. The village of Puyricard is the place where they decide to start their new life, with wide open spaces and a beautiful climate that will not take them far from the Congo.
An old building materials factory on the plateau of Puyricard will become their first workshop and their first shop. Very attached to this little "corner of paradise", they will made by Puyricard the name of their company. The Chocolaterie de Puyricard was born.
The 1970s : development of the network and products
In 1970, a second store opened in Marseille. The network then expanded with a store in Paris in '78, then in Aix-en-Provence in '79.
In those years, Marie-Anne obtained a recipe for Calisson that she felt was equal to the quality of her chocolate candies.
This inevitable Provencal delicacy therefore joined the Puyricard range in 1975, along with chocolate truffles.
Marie-Anne gives power and bitterness to her recipes, and with her supplier Callebaut, develops a new couverture chocolate, which allows her to create a range of less sweetened chocolates.
1988 : The Plantation
Jan-Guy sets up the chocolate factory at "La Plantation", a landscaped park of several hectares, with a larger production unit. However, craftsmanship and quality of the raw materials remain the key words.
The 90's and 2000's: the recognition and arrival of Tanguy Roelandts, current CEO
The choice of the Chocolaterie de Puyricard to remain on a top-of-the-range production allows it to obtain numerous awards in the world of Chocolate.
Tanguy Roelandts, Master Chocolatier and son of Marie-Anne and Jan-Guy took over the management of the company in 1995 and preserves this precious heritage. The reputation of the Chocolaterie de Puyricard is established, and allows it to shine in the world of culture or fashion with the creation of a Louis Vuitton coat of arms, partnerships with the Cannes Festival or the Easter Festival (lyrical art) for example.
2010, national recognition and new products
The Chocolaterie was awarded the EPV label (Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant - Living Heritage Company), which rewards excellence in traditional craftsmanship. This is the first time that a food-processing company has obtained this mark of recognition from the State.
Tanguy Roelandts stay the guarantor of this artisanal know-how, while widening the range of delicacies offered by the Chocolaterie. His passion for cocoa and his travels in the producing countries led him to create the range of "Pure Origin" tablets whose success is still undeniable today.
He also creates a range of ice creams and sorbets, biscuits with Provencal flavours, and a first Easter egg in organic chocolate.
2017 La Chocolaterie celebrates its 50th anniversary and its revival.
Solène Roelandts, Tanguy's daughter, joined the company in 2016, thus perpetuating the family history of the Chocolaterie. For the Chocolaterie's 50th anniversary, she is in charge of creating a new visual identity for the Puyricard brand, and donating the money to the company.
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