Cocoa Valley, snail farming and beekeeping

“The Gourmet Stage” offers you a culinary journey between Chambéry and Grenoble, to discover the making of chocolate in Épagny, the snail farmers of the orchis estate as well as artisanal honey!

To share this moment full of flavors, Nathalie Helal invites the famous culinary blogger Mercotte for a trip from Chambéry to Grenoble. She is the author of The gourmet Savoie of Mercottepublished by Flammarion.

Mercotte, food critic and food blogger, is the guest of “L’ Etape Gourmand” © Radio France

Cocoa Valley and its exceptional chocolate

Cocoa producer in Cameroon, Serge Ngassa is also a chocolatier in Haute-Savoie. The Cocoa Valley farm in Épagny Metz-Tessy is one of the few to own its production chain, from picking to processing chocolates on French soil.

Cocoa beans are imported before being processed with the know-how of a Savoyard laboratory. To develop different chocolate flavors, temperature is used as a manufacturing tool. Hazelnut from Pimont IGP Bio, Bourbon vanilla from Madagascar, non-GMO sunflower lecithin: the products associated with chocolates are of high quality to promise incomparable flavors.

Honey from the Savoy black bee

In the Belleville valley, as in Saint-Martin, Saint-Marcel or Châtelard, Klebert Sylvestre holds no less than a hundred hives of bees. This represents up to 50,000 bees in the summer! This certified organic beekeeper inherited the family passion for beekeeping thanks to his grandfather and his uncle.

This bee lover tells us about the black bee of Savoie. This bee is very resistant, especially to harsh winters, and allows a regular production of quality honey. What do beekeepers fear? The importation of swarms and foreign insects that could harm them.

There is a risk of hybridization between these insects, but the valleys of the dark bee are normally sufficiently isolated.

To ensure the survival of the black bee, a conservatory with a fertilization apiary has been created with the Vanoise National Park, in the Vallée des Encombres in the Vallée des Belleville.

Snails from the Domaine des Orchis

Former bank employee, Philip Heir tells us about his retraining in the field of snail farming. This engineer by training started in 1995 in the breeding of snails in the field of Orchis. Better still, he quickly made a reputation with the best star chefs in the region.

Its specialty is the “big greys”, Helix Aspersa Maxima which are fed with clover, flax, phacelia, mustard or even cabbage.

Since 2006, he has been working in the vineyards and has been producing his first cuvées since 2010.

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