Creative Gatherings #2 - Unexpected

The chefs at L’École Valrhona gathered over a number of days to draw inspiration from trends in fields such as architecture, fashion, design and painting. They gave their imagination free rein as they discussed and shared ideas. The aim of the event was to bring a whole new dimension to your desserts and chocolate bars, to redesign pastry and even to dream up new sweet courses for restaurants. The participants’ only rule was to provide you with very simple tips and ideas which you would be able to use in your kitchen with total ease.

For this second issue of Exercises de Style entitled “2. Unexpected Delights”, our chefs wanted to transport you to the places you least expected - and what a journey it turned out to be! In this new world of imagination, flavors are surprising, appearances deceptive, forms intriguing and desserts can become anything you want. Gourmet dining becomes a delicious game, a voyage of discovery and, above all, an enchanting experience.

With these recipes, our pastry chefs invite you to step off the beaten track, spark customers’ curiosity and astonish them with an experience like no other.

Here there are no predictable or boring desserts, only creations as unexpected as they are divine. Your customers won’t find them anywhere else, and they won’t forget them either. What could be better than seeing their eyes widen with curiosity, before a smile of amazement spreads across their face? You can rest assured that they’ll be back to introduce these gorgeous desserts to their friends.

Be inspired and surprised by Unexpected Delights as you explore our chefs’ ideas and the different steps that will turn them into a reality. Check out all our tips and techniques to create out-of-this-world desserts.



Our pastry chefs have dreamt up a festive yet unexpected New Year’s dessert for you. At first glance, it’s a chocolate dessert with a simple, elegant look – but that’s only because it hasn’t yet revealed the treasures within!
A surprise is hiding in this round dessert’s center: A festive stash of gourmet candies. Made up of chocolate ribbons and bonbons inspired by the streamers and confetti symbolic of New Year’s Eve, this unexpected delight guarantees that your customers won’t be able to resist.
It’s simple to make and a perfect idea for friendly group gatherings. Make sure you offer it to your customers – It will stir up quite a sensation during festive parties. Because it’s a two-in-one product, it encourages extra sales in addition to the dessert itself. It is also a totally original and unique way to use chocolate in a dessert.

See the Surprise Dessert recipe here



Step off the beaten track with a product that plays with flavors, textures and colors. These crisp, crunchable chocolates make for irresistible coffee breaks.

Edible chocolate reeds are a fun and friendly new way to share a box of chocolates. Each guest can snap into the collection of “reeds”, amazing everyone in turn.

There’s every flavor you might want: Dark, white, milk and Dulcey, sprinkled with spices, tea and more, so that you can provide a surprising and unusual taste experience. Each chocolate stick is a discovery in itself.

Their shape is inspired by nature and they give a taste of chocolate at its purest.

To ensure they have a raw, natural look, the sticks are not made in molds. They are simply piped out and sprinkled with fine ingredients just before they set.

These chocolate reeds help your range stand out, giving your customers a recognizable product with an original twist in terms of the shape, flavor and tasting experience they bring. They will be thrilled to give their loved ones a gift that’s anything but a simple box of chocolates.




Who among us hasn’t dreamt of putting away their ubiquitous verrine glasses, however appreciated they undoubtedly are by gourmet diners? This offbeat version of the dessert is guaranteed to surprise. Easily transportable, fun and customizable, it’s an event in itself!

Why not swap your verrines for a much more playful container and give customers a fun tasting experience.

Our pastry chefs have designed these Tantalising Tubes as kits with a reusable transparent container, a surprise dessert and a range of toppings from which to choose.

Panna cotta, light mousse and even whipped ganache are poured into spherical molds and frozen. The dessert is then inserted into an opaque edible balloon hidden deep inside. It is sold in transparent Tantalising Tubes packaging.

Once the customer has bought their kit, they can choose their toppings such as coulis, streusel and even chocolate crispies. Your job is to advise them about which flavors go well together. You can vary them to suit the season and your customers’ tastes. The more options, the more fun your customers have!

Then comes the moment of surprise: Customers pierce the balloon in their Tantalising Tube, discovering an amazingly creamy dessert with their own added ingredients.

By offering your customers a Tantalising Tube, you’re making them both the creators and spectators of a fun, bespoke dessert.

See the L’École Valrhona’s panna cotta recipes here and make your Tantalising Tubes


Offer your customers far more than just a dessert and transform the end of a meal into a creative, unforgettable moment. Your customers are artists, and you’re going to prove it!

Here’s how, with a simple idea, you can astonish your guests with a real “event” dessert that they create themselves.Here’s how, with a simple idea, you can astonish your guests with a real “event” dessert that they create themselves.

Our pastry chefs have designed a deconstructed dessert on a painter’s palette. On this base, a whole variety of ingredients are set out for customers so they can complete their dessert themselves using ganaches, streusels, confits, sauces and so on. They can slice it up, create it and compose it like an artist. Whichever way their inspiration takes them, the results are always harmonious and balanced.

You might provide some stock ingredients alongside a selection which varies with the seasons and time of year to inspire your customers all the more.

Our chefs have developed this recipe as a perfect complement to the trend for interactive desserts. Your customers will enjoy an experience like no other with an ultra-personalized dessert.

In the end, each dessert is unique.

Make sure you show them all off on your social networks! Once it’s on your menu, this unexpected dessert will undoubtedly become a real asset for your business.

See the Gourmet Paint Palette recipe designed by the pastry chefs at L’École Valrhona.

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