Robineau Patisserie and CafÃ© in Darlington on eating chocolate at Easter
PUBLISHED: 15:05 25 March 2013 | UPDATED: 21:20 05 April 2013
Easter is the time when all good intentions go out of the window. We talk to one of the region's top chocolatiers about some of our favourite chocolate treats. Words by Sue Campbell
Jane and Frederic Robineau are surrounded by temptation that few
of us could resist.
They are the founders of Robineau Patisserie and Caf in Darlington, County Durham, and as chocolatiers of the highest order, Easter and the Easter holidays are a busy time.
Frederic, a Master Patissier from the Loire Valley in France, and Jane, who hails from Barnard Castle, saw a gap in the market and opened their shop on West Auckland Road in 2007.
I asked Jane what were the most popular Easter treats. Its a tough question. As we are the only chocolatiers within many miles our handmade Easter eggs fly out of the door. We use superior milk chocolate with a 38 per cent cocoa solid content which has a greater depth of taste, far beyond normal milk chocolate, and our darker chocolates have a 64 per cent cocoa solid content.
Jane explained what made them different from the rest and in particular from what you find on the supermarket shelves.
When we design them we make sure that there is an Easter egg used within the design. For example our Chocolate Racing Car, the car body is made by using half an egg shell with a hole cut out to create the seat and egg shaped driver.
Because of the intricacy, supermarkets cant compete they would never last the lorry journey all bundled up in big cardboard boxes.
Brand new this year is a Chicken Hut a bar of chocolate brushed with a green glaze to represent the grass, with an upright egg mounted on top with a little hole cut out for the chickens and a chocolate ladder for a little yellow fluffy chick to get in and out. And also new is a hazelnut praline egg and a sea salted caramel milk egg.
Regulars come back year after year, with some who shopped with Robineaux the day they opened still coming back for more.
Jane said: We have lovely customers who we have come to know. We know their families, we know there favourites and some regulars live down south and visit relatives regularly in the area. They ask if we will ever open a branch in Essex!
Surrounded by so many goodies, do they have a favourite? Frederics personal favourite is choux pastry filled with vanilla crme patisserie dipped in crispy caramel; a smaller version of a croquembouche.
Janes is hazelnut chocolate praline torte. I am addicted to the hazelnut praline base and its crispiness combined with the dark chocolate ganache and peaks of white chocolate Chantilly cream.
Jane says business is booming. The Robineaux used their joint 45 years of experience to the maximum to create a caf which has offerings from breakfast and lunch to afternoon teas.
Customers have asked us from the very first day we opened if we had a caf in the back. The answer was no, but after being asked hundreds of times we thought this was the next move rather than buying another shop.
So, temptation morning, noon and night a chocoholics heaven.