Find handmade artisan chocolates and pastries in Union City

by | Places, Featured Destinations

Though it may seem an unlikely location, one of the nation’s premier award-winning chocolatiers can be found in Union City, a community of about 3,500 that sits on the Indiana and Ohio state line. It’s a strange pairing, a high-end candy shop in a rural community with an economy focusing on industrial and farming products. Yet in this modest town about an hour east of Muncie, you’ll find Ghyslain Artisan Center & Boutique, where chef/owner Ghyslain Maurais and his wife, Susan, offer luxurious sweets in a former corporate office strip mall. 

Born in Quebec, Maurais originally planned a career in architecture and paid his tuition by working in restaurants. That led him to change paths, and he graduated from the Institut de Tourisme et d’Hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ), considered one of the world’s best in cooking arts and hospitality management education. 

Maurais graduated and became certified in the artisanal crafts of pastry, breadmaking and chocolate, and began his profession in lavish hotels and opulent restaurants. While an executive chef appointment at Dayton’s Hotel Versailles brought him to the Midwest, love moved him to Union City, his wife’s hometown. 

In 1998, the husband-and-wife team began Ghyslain, where connoisseurs of confections and the art of French breadmaking can travel to experience a world-class emporium. The business mainly handles mail orders and corporate gifts, but you can visit the boutique, fragrant with the aroma of cocoa and butter, like an authentic French confectionary.

Behind smoked glass doors are displays of chocolate sculptures and hand-painted truffles filled with Amaretto- or Grand Marnier-infused dark chocolate. Next to them sit petite turtles, featuring an original recipe of butter caramel enveloped in a primary color made of cocoa butter. Each hue represents a nut variety, such as red for pecan, blue for walnut and pastel green for pistachio.

White parchment-lined trays offer other sweet treats with such flavors as banana foster (a purple and gold number, with a rum extract and cinnamon caramel), coffee-lemon (dark ganache with French roast and citrus) or a palette-pleasing surprise of hot chili (milk chocolate with touches of herbs, lime and jalapeno).  

If Ghyslain’s candies aren’t enough, classic French breads are available as well, as are handmade European macarons in a dozen varieties such as cherry chocolate, key lime, vanilla blackberry, lemon poppyseed and pistachio strawberry. 

The boutique is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you plan a visit, be sure to call ahead for any of the French loaves and pastries. Made for Ghyslain’s wholesale customers, the baguettes and pastries can be available for walk-ins after 1 p.m.

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