Premiere Cru is the term Chocolat Michel Cluizel and some other chocolatiers use for their estate-grown chocolate. Abbreviated as “1er Cru”.
In the 1980s, French chocolatiers responded to rising global competition by creating a new marketing message aiming to promote the “genuineness” of French chocolate. Some of the terms they used in this marketing included “vintage” and “grand cru“. The Grand Cru designation signifies that the beans in a bar all come from a certain country or region.
Since the introduction of the Grand Cru, a new classification has arisen, that of the Premiere Cru, which designates that the cocoa in a bar is sourced from a specific area, such as a plantation, within a country or region. A Premiere Cru chocolate is typically considered to be of higher quality than a Grand Cru. This contrasts with the corresponding use of the terms in the wine market, where a Grand Cru wine is esteemed more highly than a Premiere Cru.