Step into the Fascinating World of Chocolate!
Valrhona’s Cité du Chocolat opened on 24 October 2013 in Tain l’Hermitage, next door to our original chocolate factory. Located on the historic site of our original chocolate factory, the Cité offers the general public and professionals a behind-the-scenes look at fine chocolate. During a mouth-watering, eye-opening journey through the Cité, you will discover all the secrets of how chocolate is made, as well as the depth of our expertise and that of our customers; Whether you’re a gourmet enthusiast or simply love chocolate, an amateur or a professional, come and savor a magical experience with this most exceptional of ingredients! From the cocoa bean to the creations of top chefs – come and explore, smell and taste chocolate in all its forms.
During the tour, test your senses with a variety of activities. Identify smells. Search for aromas. Try to recognize chocolate’s textures through sound and touch. Go travelling with interactive chocolate journeys and reproduce chefs’ skills on our interactive touch screens. Will you be able to draw on all your senses and discover the world behind a chocolate square?
During your tour, be surprised by the aromas, flavors and tastes of chocolate in all of its forms. After smelling and admiring the “chocolate curtain” as you enter the Cité, you’ll learn how to compare two dark chocolates and two milk chocolates with our interactive tasting booths. These tastings will reveal the secrets of what goes into each color of chocolate.
The chocolate factory lifts the lid on each step of Valrhona’s production process, allowing you to sample some original surprises with amazing flavors. On this tasting trail, chocolate lovers will feel their taste buds and nostrils come alive as they learn more and more about chocolate making.
THE CHOCOLATE AND COCOA PROFESSIONS
Find out about the professions and diverse expertise behind our chocolate.
TRAVEL TO THE COCOA PLANTATIONS
Enjoy an immersive journey to the cocoa farms – an exotic, enthralling world where ancient skills are perpetuated. Accompanied by Valrhona’s sourcers, discover the farming profession from cocoa tree to bean. Discover the first stages in our chocolate supply chain, where precision and know-how are essential in obtaining exceptional chocolates.
DISCOVER THE CHEFS’ AND ARTISANS’ PROFESSION
Our customers’ “kitchen labs” are surprising, captivating places where chocolate is crafted into delectable creations! To thrill the taste buds of gourmets and everyday chocolate lovers, they dream up ever more inventive recipes using single origin chocolates, as well as our delicious blends. The skills of master pastry chefs and chocolatiers are revealed by Frédéric Bau, founder of Valrhona’s École du Grand Chocolat.
WHY A CITÉ DU CHOCOLAT?
The Roots of the Cité
From “chocolate nights” to the Cité du Chocolat. The idea of the Cité du Chocolat was born in 2006 after many Valrhona-led educational events, including “Nuits du Chocolat” (1987) and, most notably, the “Destination Chocolat” exhibition (1992).
We staged this exhibition in several locations across France, including the Palais de la Découverte and the Musée Guimet in Paris, as well as in Marseille, Bordeaux and Strasbourg. Over 500,000 visitors traveled the world to come and learn how we select the finest bean varieties from over dozen countries to offer you exceptional chocolate.
Later, our presence at Salon du Chocolat events worldwide showed us that an instructive approach to chocolate was very popular with the public. Such enthusiasm gradually encouraged us to open our doors to the public.
Over the years, we were frequently asked by professional customers and gourmet consumers to visit the factory. Given that tours of food factories have become subject to increasingly tough constraints, and also that product quality and personal safety are among Valrhona’s top priorities, letting thousands of visitors into our production facilities is simply not possible. However, we wanted to invite all those with a passion for chocolate into our world, and so decided to create a chocolate discovery center on the historic Valrhona site, right next door to our factory and boutique.
Valrhona has been based in the centre of Tain l’Hermitage since the company was first established over 90 years ago. Nowadays, we also have a second, larger production facility on the edge of town. When developing the Cité, we felt it was vital to base it on our historic site and so truly show the world our heritage.
In 2006, we developed our exhibitions, with the aim of introducing the greatest number of people possible to the fascinating world of chocolate.
The exhibitions are designed to truly involve the visitors, encouraging them to draw on all their senses and interact with the various attractions on offer.
THE TASTE, THE CRAFT, THE CHOCOLATE
The Cité du Chocolat’s motto is “The taste, the craft, the chocolate” (“Le goût, le geste et la matière”).
The Cité is designed to let visitors into the virtual heart of the Valrhona factory and hear from the men and women who make our chocolate.
To build the Cité, we purchased two buildings next to the factory and then demolish them to create a new 2,000m² site to host the Discovery Centre. The exhibition design was created in 2008, and after seven further years of research and development, the Cité du Chocolat opened its doors in October 2013.
Today, more than 100,000 visitors have already explored the Cité!