French chocolatier Gwendall Lasserre's shop and patisserie has been a chocolate lovers' destination in the centre of Schull for many years, but even so it was bold step for him and his wife Claire when they decided in 2011 to take on the well known Courtyard complex which lay the empty in the heart of the town.
A risky enough venture at any time, and it was the middle of a recession...Yet, with characteristic vision, determination and attention to detail, they have developed a very interesting set of interconnected businesses - centred around Gwen's highly successful artisan chocolate business, of course.
Now, at The Courtyard, they have space for a lovely café and a patisserie as well as the chocolate shop, and they can even offer the whole complex as a venue for private parties and events such as family gatherings, weddings or launch parties. No better people to undertake such a challenge, for wherever Gwen sells his exquisite chocolates, people will follow.
Filled with the exotic aroma of quality chocolate wafting in from the workshop, and the eye-popping sight of dozens of chocolate specialities, many of them seasonal, the whole place is a heady delight.
The café is friendly and charming, providing a great excuse to indulge in the wonderful patisserie with morning coffee or afternoon tea, but also delicious savouries such as local charcuterie or cheese platters with salads and freshly baked bread.
A little piece of France in West Cork - simply magic.