Born in Paris, Les Charlatans’ founder Jeanne Boucharlat has been working as a graphic designer for 20 years. Through these years, she developed a profound interest in gastronomy, while living in France, Switzerland and Quebec.
That same passion led to the creation of Les Charlatans, back in 2013, a company that specializes in flavored syrups, combining Boucharlat’s attachment to both France and Quebec, where she resides now. She's now launching a new flavor of cucumber and tarragon that will be available at the Baron pop-up store at the 2069, Parthenais St. in Montreal.
Baron: How did you end up establishing Les Charlatans?
Jeanne Boucharlat: I went to France on holiday, sometime in 2013. While in Paris, one of my childhood friends served me a ginger Kir (which is a cocktail comprised of white wine, blackcurrant liqueur and ginger syrup). This drink was so delicious that, when I got back to Quebec, I wanted to make one of my own. It’s when I tried to recreate the cocktail’s syrup that I came up with a lot of new ideas for flavored syrups.
B.: And what are the aromas you decided to produce for Les Charlatans?
J. B.: Well there’s orange and rosemary, pepper and lime, ginger, Chile de arbol and Tonka bean.
B.: How should these syrups be ideally used? What do you recommend?
J. B.: I create and mix aromas based on my own likes and taste. Most syrups can be used in cocktails. Take the orange and rosemary syrup, for example, which can really spice up an Old Fashioned… or even lemonade, by adding it to plain or sparkling water. You can also make savory salad dressings or cake frostings. There are many suggestions and recipes on Les Charlatans’ Facebook page.
B.: Any philosophy or ethics regarding ingredients?
J. B.: I really try to focus on local and fresh ingredients, when it comes to our products. I recently did a lot of tests with local herbs, creating new flavors that haven’t been unveiled yet (but I plan to turn them into syrups soon). Before you add any flavor to it, syrup is usually just water and sugar. In the case of Les Charlatans’ collaboration with Baron, I used cucumbers grown in Quebec.
B.: Is there a particular reason for making a cucumber and tarragon flavored syrup with Baron?
J. B.: I’ve been hoping to make this product for quite a while now. Tarragon is so refreshing and I just felt cucumber had a nice summery feel to its taste… making it the ideal warm season fragrance.
B.: Which foods and drinks should this syrup be used with?
J. B.: I’m currently working on a special cocktail using the tarragon and cucumber syrup. It’ll be served at Culture Cible’s office, during the product’s official launch on may 8th. Know that the syrup could also be used in salad dressings and lemonades.
B.: What’s your target clientele? Do you feel there’s a lot of competition in your market? In Quebec?
J. B.: I’m aiming at customers who really love cocktails. People who aren’t afraid to discover and cook with new and bold flavors. When it comes to competition, some French syrup companies like Teisseire and Marie Brizard are trying to set foot in Quebec, and there are other local rival companies.
B.: Where can we buy Les Charlatans’ syrups?
J. B.: STORES: Alambika (Montreal), Épicerie européenne Inc. (Quebec), La Vieille Europe (Montreal), The Gourmet Warehouse (Vancouver), Le Marché des Saveurs (Montreal), Latina (Montreal), Le Vent du Nord (Sherbrooke), La Boucherie AAA (Montreal East)
BARS: Le HB (Rosemère — they only use the syrups at the moment, but they should be selling them soon), l’Abreuvoir, le Pourvoyeur