Mountains of French biscuits, truffles and caramels, lollipops, calissons, nougats and of course, chocolate olives (roasted almonds covered in dark chocolate); all displayed in a warm and cozy general-store fashion – La Cure Gourmande.
This amazing concept was born in 1989, in Balaruc-les-Bains, a town in the South of France. These traditional French sweets and biscuits (typical of Provence), are made in ‘workshops’ in France and sold through their stores 54 to date (6 in Paris). The company first spread through key locations in Europe, including Belgium and Spain, then UAE, Asia and most recently, North America.
I recently met with the company’s business development manager, Mathilde Chamouton, at Toronto’s Ritz Carlton, where I had a chance to sample delectable nougat and Madeleine’s, and talk about La Cure Gourmand’s expansion plans in North America.
The first franchise shop this side of the pond is in Montreal, at Place Montreal Trust and the flagship store in New York City. The plan is to open a franchise in Toronto in the 2016/17 time frame. La Cure Gourmande is in the process of setting up a distribution centre in the province of Quebec to serve its expanding Canadian operations.
According to Chamouton anyone wishing to open a franchise must go through a vigorous selection process, once approved there’s a thorough training program which includes a visit to the ‘workshops’ in France, a look at the packaging and a visit to the North American flagship store in New York.
Most of the confections are displayed in great mounds and bins, with some already boxed. The packaging is beautiful, they have old-styled ‘cookie-tins’ in various sizes enabling the patron to pick-and-choose their favorite delicacies. These make perfect gifts, as a matter of fact in New York they are very much in demand as client and corporate gifts.
All in all, the stores are beautiful and the products can be purchased with beautifully decorated boxes and tins, made in France in the old fashioned style.
For more information about La Cure Gourmande visit the North American site: www.lacuregourmande.com