A Gourmet Saga

In Roanne, master chocolate maker François Pralus took over the company, Maison Pralus, founded by his father, which has become one of the ambassadors of the regional flavours.

By Fédération Française des Associations de Commerçants

Manufactures PralusFédération Française des Associations de Commerçants

Chocolate was introduced in France in the 17th century. It became part of the customs of the Versailles court under Louis XIV, where it was consumed as a drink, before becoming more widely available in the 17th century.

Manufactures PralusFédération Française des Associations de Commerçants

The chocolate industry really developed in the 19th century with the first chocolate factories. Today, the Maison Pralus is one of the most renowned French chocolate makers.

PralusFédération Française des Associations de Commerçants

Maison Pralus 1
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The flavours of childhood   

In 1948, Auguste Pralus opened his pastry shop in the main street of Roanne. His son François remembers the small laboratory behind the store: "he was not only a very good pastry cook, but above all an artist".

PralusFédération Française des Associations de Commerçants

Maison Pralus 2
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As a child, François often took part in the making of cakes with his father's workers. His most famous creation is a brioche with pink pralines, known as the Praluline, which made the brand famous in France and abroad.

PralusFédération Française des Associations de Commerçants

Maison Pralus 3
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The apprenticeship 

In 1988, Auguste entrusted his son François with the mission of perpetuating the tradition of the family brand, whose reputation was growing. At the age of 16, François entered his father's apprenticeship before starting an internship at Bernachon in Lyon. 

Bernachon makes chocolate from cocoa beans. It’s a real singularity, explains François, as "99% of pastry cooks don't work from the bean, but make their cakes or sweets with chocolate that they melt and rework". 

PralulineFédération Française des Associations de Commerçants

Maison Pralus 4
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Later on, he went to work in Brazil for chef Claude Troigros, the son of the Troisgros brothers who were pioneers of the 1970s nouvelle cuisine and have an emblematic restaurant in Roanne. On his return to France, François took over the family business. 

St jeanFédération Française des Associations de Commerçants

Maison Pralus 5
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After a few experimentations, he managed to produce good chocolate made with blends from various countries. "I was finally able to give my father a taste of my first bar, and he told me "it's very good, you can go on". But in 1992, he decided to stop blending various origins for a single chocolate.   

Pralus barres infernales by ThierryBeguinFédération Française des Associations de Commerçants

Maison Pralus 6
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Pure origins

There are many cocoa varieties, several terroirs and also the know-how in fermentation and drying. In 1992, François Pralus was one of the first to launch pure origin chocolate.

Tablettes Pure OrigineFédération Française des Associations de Commerçants

Maison Pralus 7
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Today, la Maison Pralus has 20 bars from 20 different countries: customers can choose the origins they like the most, just like with wine!

Plantation Pralus by Lionel SauguesFédération Française des Associations de Commerçants

Maison Pralus 8
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A taste for travel 

While travelling the world to buy beans, François Pralus began to dream of having his own cocoa plantation. During a stay in Madagascar, he fell in love with the country and decided to create his own plantation in 2004: 17 hectares of cocoa trees are planted in a primary forest. He is one of the few chocolate artisans in Europe to own a plantation. 

Jardin PralusFédération Française des Associations de Commerçants

Maison Pralus 9
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The textile factory 

In Roanne, the manufacture is located in an old textile factory of 700m2 where a hundred tons of chocolate is produced each year. The building is surrounded by a 2,500m2 vegetable garden for employees to bring home fruit and vegetables grown onsite. 

Jardin PralusFédération Française des Associations de Commerçants

Maison Pralus 10
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A next generation  

Cultivating this land was the idea of Hugo, François’s eldest son, who joined the company three years ago to work in pastry making. "In the family, we are very passionate about cooking and gastronomy," recalls François. And this year, his youngest son also decided to train as a baker: "Knowing that my two sons will be able to take over the business makes me really proud". 

PralulineFédération Française des Associations de Commerçants

The Maison Pralus sells chocolate to famous international and French brands such as Pierre Gagnaire, Pierre Hermé... Over the years, stores have opened in Paris, Lyon, Saint-Étienne, Clermont Ferrand.... And even today, the Praluline, which represents 65% of its turnover, is the

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