They sparkle in the shop window like precious jewels, delicately wrapped in cocoa-coloured diaphanous cellophaneabove, emblazoned in bold lettering: La Maison du Chocolat. La Maison in Paris could well be regarded as the Herms of the chocolate world. Company founder Robert Linxe was one of the world's first chocolatiers and pioneered the approach of bringing the production principles of a haute cuisine kitchen to the world of chocolate making: selecting only the finest ingredients, attention to detail during production and a highly aesthetic approach to presentation. A few years back, when I was apprenticing haute cuisine at the Ritz Escoffier Cooking School, Mr. Linxe taught his famous chocolate course there and I had a chance to meet him. However the days of the independent Linxe chocolatiers are over; today La Maison is part of the Eufipar Group which also controls Valrhona Chocolate and the dairy concern, Bongrain. Thankfully the quality of La Maison has not changed and they continue to this day to produce rich and heavy chocolates. When in Paris, do not miss to step into La Maison du Chocolat at the Rue du Faubourg St-Honore and treat yourself to a piece of the finest chocolate or truffle that can be had.