The best ice cream in the world is made in Paris. Of course. And it can be found at Berthillon. Parisians of all social classes know about Berthillon. Parisians of all social classes have tasted Berthillon. Berthillon is one of the rare forms of luxury all Parisians can afford.
The beauty of Berthillon lies in the outstanding quality of its glaces et sorbets. But the Berthillon experience goes beyond the tasty delights they offer.
The Berthillon experience starts with a line. There is no touching a Berthillon cône glacé without standing in line for at least a few seconds or a few minutes. The line gives the Parisian the occasion to choose the flavours and the number of boules. One is usual. Two is for les gourmands.
Anything beyond two is for les Américains.
Once served, it is usual for the Parisian to go for a little stroll on L’Ile Saint Louis with his glace. The Parisian will systematically ask his co-Berthilloner ‘C’est bon?’ His is always ‘super bon’.
The Berthillon experience is vastly enhanced by the localization of Berthillon shops and resellers – exclusively on the Ile Saint Louis. Tasting a glace Berthillon is the only occurrence where the Parisian is happy to behave exactly like a tourist. Outside of that occurrence, it is a disgrace.
There is a form of pride in having Berthillon. Buying une glace Berthillon makes you all at once very gourmet, very distinguished, very in the know, very old school and very rich. Everytime he stops at Berthillon for ice cream, the Parisian will say it to all of the people he meets for the rest of the week. On s’est arrêtés chez Berthillon. Perfect namedropping.
The other Parisians will be jealous: Berthillon is the gift that keeps giving.
With the surge over the past decades of American and more recently Italian (yet French-based) ice-cream chains, Berthillon has a lot of competition.
By opting for a small family owned business which has never branched out or started selling ice cream in supermarkets, Parisians unconsciously know that, buying des glaces Berthillon, they do more than just treating themselves with a petit plaisir: they support a certain form of civilization. A certain idea of the world. A certain idea of Paris.
Useful tip: Come at night: Berthillon, Notre Dame and l’Isle Saint Louis under the Parisian sky is an irresistible combination.
Sound like a Parisian: « Berthillon?! Eh bah ça, va, tu te fais plaisir…»
French sommelier Olivier Magny founded Ô Chateau in 2004. His idea was to share his passion for French wines and to have people from all over the world taste the great wines of France in Paris. And in the years since, Ô Chateau has held over a thousand wine tastings for more than 50,000 visitors to and residents of Paris. Check out their wine tastings, events and tours at www.o-chateau.com.