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We went on a French chocolate factory tour, and I was amazed to see how these delicate things were manually and deftly whipped up by a specialist. I forgot to ask what they are called. What is its official name (if there is one) -- or for that matter, how is it commonly described in French?

My girlfriend and a trusted member here both suggested "des copeaux de chocolat", like the one shown below. But what we saw on site, though nearly paper-thin, was something much bigger and wider, each the size of a page of a book -- something that, when several of them are joined together, forms one giant rose to be placed on top of a whole cake.

When I hear the phrase "des copeaux de chocolat", I cannot help but associate it with "des petits morceaux".

enter image description here

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    Les copeaux de chocolat peuvent être aussi grands qu'on veut, le terme décrit la forme, pas la taille. Un copeau de chocolat est une fine feuille de chocolat enroulée sur elle-même quand le chocolat est encore chaud. Une feuille de chocolat est ronde ou rectangulaire, mais plate, ou a la forme d'une feuille végétale mais ne s'enroule pas sur elle-même. Il y a aussi les pétales de chocolat, qui ne sont pas plats, légèrement courbés mais pas enroulés sur eux-mêmes. – Laure Sep 2 at 16:52
  • @Laure Je vois le copeau de bois, de chocolat, de fromage etc. comme ce que l'on obtient après avoir travaillé la matière avec un instrument tranchant (couteau, rabot par exemple). Travaillé à chaud, pour moi, le chocolat ne donne pas un copeau. – user21018 Sep 2 at 18:17
  • @petitrien On ramollit le chocolat, on le laisse reposer quand il est ramolli mais encore malléable (c'est à dire tiède, question de feeling avec l'habitude), on le pousse avec une raclette, c'est la taille de la raclette qui détermine la taille des copeaux, si elle a un bord de 20 cm, le copeau aura 20 cm de long, et le chocolat - à la bonne consistance (très important) ni dur ni trop mou - s'enroule automagiquement. Avec du chocolat dur tu ne peux faire que du chocolat rappé, c'est autre chose, ça ne sert pas pour la déco mais pour intégrer à une pâte qu'on va faire cuire. – Laure Sep 2 at 18:49
  • @petitrien C'est ça des copeaux de chocolat. On ne peut pas faire ça avec un couteau ou une râpe (encore moins un rabot mais je pense que ça tu le réserves au bois !). Ceux de l'image sont bien réguliers, ils ne sont pas toujours aussi réguliers, aussi roulés, mais plus grands c'est possible si on a l'expérience (ça peut se casser surtout si le chocolat est trop refroidi). – Laure Sep 2 at 19:06
  • That picture in the question shows what is called chocolate shavings, which are copeaux, yes. Making chocolate leaves is different. shavings are made with vegetable peeler. – Lambie Sep 2 at 20:01
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Copeaux can be used for your situation if each piece were irregular in size, as copeaux size and look can vary from any persons opinions, but in any case each pieces would be differents.

Like in your image a copeaux is small for you, but for me a copeaux is like that in size; wood copeaux in the picture, but it can be bigger as you can see.

If big like a page and small in width, LPH’s answer would be a better fit.

enter image description here

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    Copeaux de chocolat can be a lot bigger that the copeaux de bois on your picture. See the ones on that page for example. But I upvoted your answer because it's the most likely on the page so far. I think the word the OP is looking for is pétales though. – Laure Sep 2 at 19:57
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I think that we'll have to speak simply of "(fines) feuilles de/en chocolat" (ref1, ref2, ref3).

  • @Laure Ce n'est pas un synonyme de « copeau » qui est recherché puisque le texte de la question dit « My girlfriend and a trusted member here both suggested "des copeaux de chocolat", But what we saw on site, though nearly paper-thin, was something much bigger and wider, each the size of a page of a book … When I hear the phrase "des copeaux de chocolat", I cannot help but associate it with "des petits morceaux".» – LPH Sep 2 at 19:11
  • @Laure L'auteur a mis cette image pour confirmer ce qu'il comprend par « copeau », ce qui est exact bien que comme le dit une autre réponse ce que l'on trouve ici s'appelle aussi « copeau ». Il dit « aussi grand qu'une page de livre », « pour faire une rose géante ». – LPH Sep 2 at 19:33
  • @Laure Puisque c'est de la taille d'une page de livre et de l'épaisseur dune page (il dit bien « paper thin » c'est une feuille, peut être gondolée pour représenter une feuille d'arbre ou une pétale, mais essentiellement une feuille. – LPH Sep 2 at 19:43
  • Pétales is one I suggested in my comment. – Laure Sep 2 at 19:46
  • feuille de chocolat = a thin chocolate sheet or thin sheet of chocolate. Mais il y aussi des vraies feuilles couvertes de chocolat (chocolate leaves) et également des feuilles (comme sur une plante) de chocolate où la forme est celle d'une feuille en chocolat. Les deux se disent: chocolate leaves en anglais. – Lambie 30 mins ago – Lambie Sep 2 at 20:40
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If it's anything like in the linked video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1kK-EPxtwk), it might be called larmes de chocolat.

  • Ok, only... what I have in mind is about 20 to 30 times as wide as each piece shown there. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Sep 2 at 14:02
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    Copeaux is indeed a way better word to mean it ! – stbr Sep 2 at 15:00
  • @stbr The problem I have with "copeau" is that it is something you get with a sharp cutting instrument, kind of a shaving. I don't think this is what is meant here where you model the chocalate before it's hardened. – user21018 Sep 2 at 17:47
  • @petitrien Precisely. No sharp cutting instruments were used there. As you said: "you manually model the chocalate before it's hardened". – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Sep 2 at 18:26
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Complément fait après ma réponse initiale


Au départ pour moi des volutes de chocolat c'étaient des sortes de triangles plus ou moins grands, assez proches des pétales. Voir sur ce blog consacré aux diverses décorations en chocolat la fabrication de volutes. Et une fois sur le gâteau ça donne ceci.

Mais il semblerait que les professionnels appellent volutes des constructions plus volumineuses qui peuvent prendre des formes et des tailles différentes, le point commun étant la forme courbe ou arrondie et d'après les divers exemples que j'ai vus le mot s'appliquerait bien à ce qui est décrit dans la question.

Du plus simple, au plus élaboré, jusqu'à la tarte caramel beurre salé « sublimé par des volutes de chocolat noir » de ce pâtissier qui montre divers exemples de réalisations avec des volutes.


Three words words could fit your description, copeaux, tuiles and pétales. You are excluding copeaux for what - in my opinion - is the wrong reason: size. Copeaux de chocolat can be as big as you wish and physical constraints allow. Proper copeaux are made from melted chocolate that is spread onto the worktop and grated with a spatula (or knife blade, which I think is more difficult) when starting to thicken but still warm so that the pieces will roll onto themselves. The longer the spatula (or knife blade) the longer the copeaux.

This picture shows what I consider to be medium size copeaux decorating the top of a cake. And here is a recipe.

Whatever the size, copeaux roll onto themselves. You can make all sorts of decorations with chocolate copeaux including the petals of a flower.

If the decorations you saw did not roll onto themselves then I would not call them copeaux. They would be more like tuiles en chocolat. Tuiles en chocolat are also made from melted chocolate that is shaped while still warm. You pour blobs of melted chocolate onto a non stick paper sheet on your worktop, spread the blobs as thin as you wish, or can, and then slightly roll the sheet and keep it into place until the chocolate has cooled. The bigger the blobs, the bigger the tuile (and the more difficult it is to make).
Here's a recipe and what it looks like.

A pétale de chocolat is a tuile that has been shaped as a petal, maybe not so regularly round, but the making process is similar.

Here's a video (0:41) of a cake being decorated with pétales de chocolat. Small ones, I admit, making big ones might be a challenge to the layman.


If anyone thinks this should be on Seasoned Advice, then I'll gladly delete my answer. I just felt I had to expand a little as there seems to be a confusion between chocolat rapé (OP's picture, or here) and copeaux de chocolat.

  • Laure, much of this would be clarified by using the word shavings for copeaux. They are called shavings precisely because you shave them off a sheet of chocolate just like wood shavings are shaved off a piece of wood. Yes, the verb scrape is also used. As you point out, copeaux is the right word here for shavings, of course. – Lambie Sep 3 at 18:44
  • @Lambie I do not want to argue (in general I mean, not specifically with you) about the use of the words in English. The point here is to use the proper terms in French.*Copeaux de chocolat* are not what some people on this page think they are - including OP. Copeaux de chocolat are shaped out of melted chocolate whereas chocolat rapé is scraped off a bar of solid chocolate. Copeaux are bigger than pieces of chocolat rapé. What they are called in English is not the problem under discussion here and would only raise more confusion. To be continued on chat. – Laure Sep 3 at 19:33
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    I understand all that but I think you were right to say that copeaux is right and I was giving the English because everyone is talking about copeaux in the middle of English text. Why not use the right word in English? As for rapés, that too has a name in English: grated, as in carottes rapées, grated carrots, so grated chocolate. Personally, I think using the wrong English words just confuses things even more...from my reading, the copeaux are not made from completely melted chocolate. They are made from chocolate sheets that have been warmed a bit, then scraped with a knife or peeler. – Lambie Sep 3 at 19:38
  • @Lambie As you can see on this video (different link than the one if my answer since it didn't convince you) in order to spread the chocolate into a sheet you have first to melt the chunks of chocolate. I can't have used the wrong word in English since I do make a point of using the French technical words since OP is looking for a French word. – Laure Sep 4 at 9:30
  • Alain Ducasse l'explique clairement par écrit: academiedugout.fr/glossaire/…. I never said you used the wrong word. I said you were right. The generic term for what the OP wanted. Now, there are tons of other terms,too. – Lambie Sep 5 at 17:17

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