Passengers waiting to catch their trains in Paris’ Gare de Lyon on Tuesday (March 17) indulged their sweet tooth at a traveling exhibition on chocolate that took place in a vintage train.
The Chocolate Train, as it’s called, spans four cars of an old passenger train that will visit each major Paris train station this week, allowing passengers to take a trip through the vast history of chocolate and its production process and highlighting France’s passion for the sugary confection.
Vincent Le Poitterin, director of Trains Expo, which puts on three to four traveling exhibitions a year in various TGV (high speed) and regular trains, said the third incarnation of the Chocolate Train shows just how nutty French people are for the brown stuff.
“The connection is that French people adore chocolate. We’re the fifth largest country in terms of chocolate consumption in the world. So were really excited to be able to both present the history of chocolate and then allow the largest amount of people, of Parisians, to taste all these chocolates,” Poitterin said.
The Chocolate Train also features a live demonstration of the creation of chocolate sculptures along with multiple opportunities to taste the creations. Renowned French chocolatier Yves Thuries is available to speak to chocolate fans about his passion for the medium.
“What we wanted with this exhibition is to show a bit, starting with the cacao bean, the producing countries, with all the different roasting and conching operations, meaning operations that allow for the production of chocolate starting from the cacao bean. We wanted to show the whole chocolate production process until the end, show a bit of what it means to be a chocolatier in France,” Thuries said.
Thuries, who hails from the south of France, was twice given the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France title for his work with chocolate and confections. He said that although his career has evolved to include pastries, ice cream and sorbets, his first love will always be chocolate.
“I’ve been working with chocolate for 50 years, of course it’s my profession, it’s the profession I learned at the beginning. But chocolate has transformed me as and when I discovered it, gradually when I started working with it. I found it more and more interesting. It’s a job, it’s a product that is mythic, and when you start working with it I think you’re seduced. For me, in any case it’s a product that seduced me as soon as I started working with it,” Thuries said.
The Chocolate Train will be travelling from station to station this week, visiting Gare d’Austerlitz, Gare du Nord, Gare de l’Est and finishing at Gare Saint-Lazare on Sunday.