We were here: October 2018
On entering through Tristan Carbonatto’s doors you find yourself in another world. A wonderfully decelerated world. This could be due to all the senses being awakened. Your nose fills with the delightful smell of cocoa, roasted nuts and vanilla while your eyes catch the sparkles which seem to jump off all the individually wrapped chocolate parcels. The strongest sense though has to come from your taste buds as shop visitors can try samples of each variety of chocolate on sale.
Transparency and trust in one’s own ability
As the Master Chocolatier, Tristan Carbonatto, guides us through the production area which is situated beside the shop he explains, “When I started my business 20 years ago, the range was just about 10 different chocolate varieties. Today it is around 160.”
At the start of his career he was greatly supported by his father while they lived in the center of a small village called Bougy-Villas, between Lausanne and Geneva.
The continued growth of the business meant an increasing need for more space. Tristan repeatedly had to rent rooms in various buildings which on the long term was very impractical. The confectioner therefore decided to establish a new building at the foot of a vineyard in Perroy. Included under this one roof would be a production hall and shop and enough room for the current 15 employees to work in. What is noticeable about the building are the many large windows. “Our customers should be able to see how we work at all times.”
Are you not afraid this transparency could be used to the advantage of your competitors? “Not at all. It isn’t that easy to copy my creations,” Tristan says relaxed, adding with a laugh, “The recipes are all in my head and stored in my safe.”
Made by hand and produced with love
In the meanwhile our tour has led us to what Tristan calls the laboratory, where great work is in progress. On one table chocolate mass is being spread onto large trays while on another at a further stage the hardened mass is being cut into squares using a special tool. Alongside them a steady-handed confectioner is shaping a deer antler which will later be mounted onto an animal body created from chocolate. “These individual orders come in nearly every day,” explains Tristan.
Both private people and companies send in orders to have a unique and exquisite present to give loved ones or special clients. Customers have no limits as to what they want to have created for them, with one exception. “If I don’t think a combination of flavours is good then I won’t produce it.” Tristan tells us about a lady who requested a Roquefort cheese chocolate truffle combination. A no-go for the Master Chocolatier. Thanks to his knowledge and a little help from his charm he was able to convince the lady to opt for something else.
One thing you will not find in this laboratory are industrial machines. Just a whirring copper mixer. “Everything is done by hand here. Sometimes when needed I invent my own utensils,” explains Tristan. Besides the lack of machinery there are also no freezers. “We don’t freeze anything. All our products are daily fresh and don’t contain preservatives or colourings,” stresses the Master.
Fresh ingredients a source of inspiration
And where does Tristan Carbonatto gather his inspiration to develop his range? “A lot of ideas come from my international clientele.” People bring back ingredients from their hometowns to Tristan who then implements them into a new creation. Another source of inspiration are his visits to his suppliers and producers abroad. Tristan does not just buy the ingredients directly from ‘the people he trusts’ he also quite often discovers through them new products. Just recently he found pili nuts from the Philippines which he wants to experiment with in the future.
Back in the office Tristan lets us try fresh pine nuts and almonds which were delivered by a Spanish supplier the day before. “Such ingredients which are produced with a lot of love and passion fuel my creativity and keep spurring me on to try new things.”
The production is and will remain the bosses business
Despite all innovation one thing remains the same, “The quality of all products has to meet our high expectations.” Along with this many aspects such as taste, consistency and texture, to the appearance of the end product has to be right. In order to maintain high quality at this level, Tristan will not give up his active role in the development of recipes in order to work at a desk. “I will remain a hand-worker and won’t become a business man,” the logical consequence: Tristan does not want to open more shops or expand his online business. He even avoids advertising, convinced that “Only good advertising is done by word-of-mouth from satisfied customers.”
For those who want to experience Tristan Carbonatto’s creations with all the senses they will have to visit Perroy at the beautiful lake of Geneva. A well worth visit as only then can you dive into a divine sweet world in which even time seems to go by at a slower pace.
More information: www.chocolatier-tristan.ch