It all began in 1975 when Gilbert Benoit and his wife opened a chocolate and confectionery shop in Angers, rue des Lices.
They produced their chocolates right above the shop and always set up spectacular and mouth-watering window displays just over the shop with its spectacular and mouthwatering window displays. Their three children grew up in this chocolate environment, helping out occasionally in the shop and the laboratory. While the eldest son was the first one to learn the craft of chocolate making, the younger daughter and her older sister took their distance for some time from the family business to pursue their studies. For Anne-Françoise, who intended to pursue a career in human resources, the separation was short-lived. Angers and chocolate-making called her back and she quickly warmed to the idea of running the business herself.
After graduating a Master’s degree in economics, Anne-Françoise worked for a while as an intern with Parisian chocolatiers before deciding to take the plunge. That was in May 1997. Initially assisted by her father, Anne-Françoise quickly learned the art and craft of chocolate-making. In 2003, she was awarded the “young talent” prize at the Chocolate Fair by Mr Colaneri, president of the “Club des Croqueurs de Chocolats” (Club of the Chocolate Munchers), and by Mr Linxe, Master Chocolatier and founder of La Maison du Chocolat in Paris. After that, she never looked back, and went on to grow and develop the business.
In 2004, she opened a second shop on 33 rue Saint-Aubin, specializing particularly in macaroons and crunchy chocolates. The following year, at the Paris Salon du Chocolat, she won the first prize in the ganache category with her “Concerto”. To keep up with the needs of her growing company, Anne-Françoise invested in 2007 in a brand new 300m2 laboratory on the outskirts of the city.
She took another giant step in 2009 when she and her sister Véronique Taverne created the “Société Benoit” in the 4th arrondissement of Paris and opened the first Parisian branch in rue Saint-Antoine. Quality and excellence of her chocolates has always been and will always remain the number priority for Anne-Françoise. And you can tell by the fact that she was elected one of the 12 best chocolatiers in France by the 2010 Chocolate Guide published by the “Club des croqueurs de Chocolats”, the Express Style and the Salon du Chocolat. Finally in 2014, she received the ultimate recognition as she was awarded best chocolatier by the “Club des croqueurs de Chocolats” at the Salon du Chocolat. The latest original creation of Anne-Françoise, the Caramande®, is a perfect example of the passion, the innovative spirit and the skills that she puts into everything she creates. The success and craze for this specialty gave way to new opportunities for the company on both national and international levels. It is in this context that in November 2015 a second shop opened, in the 6th arrondissement of Paris rue de l’Ancienne comédie, entirely dedicated to Caramandes®, called Caramandes’In.
Anne-Françoise now exports her creations everywhere around the world, especially the famous Caramandes®, from Japan to the United Arab Emirates.