Filed under: Dining
Shortly after Robert Linxe opened his first store in Paris, he was dubbed "The Wizard of Ganache." Small wonder the company he founded, La Maison du Chocolat, is a Luxist Readers' Choice nominee in the best truffle category.
Born in the French Basque region, Linxe learned his profession of chocolatier in Bayonne, before perfecting his art in Switzerland. He founded Maison du Chocolat in 1977, taking up residence in the basement of a Parisian building formerly used as a wine cellar on the prestigious Faubourg St. Honoré. Back then, there were very few shops of its kind; chocolate was more of a seasonal delicacy than a year-round staple. A master artisan, he selected this location specifically because it provided ideal conditions to preserve chocolate---much like wine. He installed his laboratory in the basement and worked there for more than ten years.
By 1987, Linxe's shop became such a hit with the locals that he was able to open a second shop. Three years later, he expanded to the U.S. with a location on Madison Avenue in New York.
Gallery: More from Maison du Chocolat
La Maison du Chocolat sets itself apart from other chocolatiers in a number of ways, perhaps none more important than the incredible detail paid to the component parts of its chocolates. Linxe's company combs through plantations in South America and Africa; they study not only the cacao beans, but various vintages and the differences between them. This respect for ingredients, subtlety of balance, richness of taste and palette of flavors is why La Maison du Chocolat's creations are so distinctive and considered the great classics of chocolate.