Key Dates :
1968 : Born on the 9th of May in Angers, France
1975 : Inauguration of the Chocolaterie Benoit by her parents
1992 : Received her Master in Economic Sciences
Works 4 years in Human Resources
1997 : Takes the reins of her family’s business
2003 : Receives the “Young Talent” Award
2004 : Opens a second shop/tea house in Angers
2005 : Receives 1st prize in the “ganache” category at the Chocolate fair
2007 : Opens a 300 square meters laboratory in Angers’s surroundings
2009 : Opens a first shop in Paris in the 4th district with her sister Véronique
2010 : Receives the “12 best chocolatiers of France” prize
2014 : Receives the best chocolatier Award
Receives the “Epicures Argent 2014” prize for her creation of Caramandes®
2015 : Opens a second shop in Paris in the 6th district with her sister Véronique
2016 : Receives the Medal of Merit from the French Government
Receives the Bronze prize of “Femme Chef d’Entreprise Grand Ouest”
Receives the Gold Award from the Academy of Chocolate of London
It all began in 1975 when Gilbert Benoit and his wife opened a chocolate and confectionery shop in the rue des Lices.
They made their chocolates just over the shop with its spectacular and mouth-watering window displays. Their three children grew up in this chocolate environment, helping out occasionally in the shop and laboratory. Although the firstborn son learned the craft of chocolate making straight away, the younger girl and her older sister distanced themselves for a time from the family business to pursue their studies. For Anne-Françoise, who intended to have a career in human resources, the separation was short-lived. Angers and chocolate-making called her back and she warmed to the idea of running the business.
Equipped with a master’s degree in economics, Anne-Françoise worked for a time as an intern with Parisian chocolatiers before taking 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, the president of the Club des Croqueurs de Chocolats (Club of Chocolate Munchers), and 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 at 33 rue Saint-Aubin, specializing particularly in macaroons and crunchy chocolates. The following year, at the Paris Chocolate Fair, she walked away with 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 Paris 4 and opened the first Parisian branch in the rue Saint-Antoine. She nevertheless focuses mainly on ensuring the quality and excellence of Benoit chocolates. To prove it she was elected one of the 12 best chocolatiers in France by the 2010 chocolate guide published by the Croqueurs de Chocolats club, the Express style and the Chocolate Fair. In 2014, it is now the Award of the best chocolatier that she receives by the Club des Croqueurs de chocolat during the chocolate fair. Anne-Françoise’s passion, innovative spirit and know-how continues to express itself through an original creation : The Caramandes®. The craze and the success of this specialty give way to new opportunities for the company on a national and international level. It is in this context that in November 2015 a second shop, Caramandes’In, entirely dedicated to Caramandes®, opens in Paris’s 6th district, rue de l’Ancienne comédie.
Anne-Françoise now exports her creations, especially the famous Caramandes®, as far as Japan and the United Arab Emirates.