Mexico City, Mexico
Just like the name of his well-respected boutique stores, Tout Chocolat, for Luis Robledo, pretty much everything is chocolate. From his eye-catching bonbons and perfectly rounded cakes to his award-winning recipe book and chocolate-sprinkled career, the Mexican pastry chef lives and breathes chocolate. So it is fitting that the 45-year-old chocolatier from Mexico City has been awarded the title of Latin America’s Best Pastry Chef 2019, sponsored by República del Cacao.
Robledo’s pastry career goes back more than 20 years to 1998, when he took a position under renowned French chef Daniel Boulud at his flagship restaurant, Daniel, in New York. While many chocolatiers and pastry chefs have a romantic tale of helping their grandmother in the kitchen as young as three or four, Robledo’s history is more straightforward. His chosen vocation wasn’t born of a lifelong desire to create desserts – he had simply been living in New York and a restaurant was the only place where he could find a job. It just happened to be one of the finest restaurants in the city, and he soon fell head-over-heels in love with the profession.
Still in New York, Robledo went on to take the Professional Pastry Arts course at the French Culinary Institute, winning an award for his performance. In 2000, he moved to Paris to further his pastry knowledge by working at top restaurants such as Le Pré Catalan and La Table du Baltimore. It was in France that he began working specifically with chocolate and was tutored as a chocolatier at L’école du Grand Chocolat.
After three years in Paris, he returned to New York and took a position at the Four Seasons Hotel, where he created a line of chocolates for guests and VIPs, to great critical acclaim. In 2006, he finally moved to Mexico City, opening the first Tout Chocolat shop, which now has three branches. He has travelled all over the world, winning the Mexican leg of the World Chocolate Masters in 2010 and 2012 and going on to compete at the global championships in Paris in 2011 and 2013. He has also written the Larousse Chocolate cookbook, a complete compendium of recipes such as blackout cake with earl grey and caramel bonbons, as well as the history and significance of chocolate in Mexican culture.
Tout Chocolat, which has its eye-catching flagship in fashionable Condesa as well as two shopping centre branches on the outskirts of Mexico City, is a one-stop shop for all of Robledo’s immaculate creations. His bonbons are almost too beautiful to eat, with a range of 35 different items to make up the most coveted chocolate box. Individual dark chocolate ganache comes in squares with fillings such as tonka bean infusion or a touch of mezcal with sea salt, while semi-circular caramels are filled with mandarin, orange and yuzu or spices such as cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. Cacao comes from Mexico to Madagascar, Guatemala to Ghana, and there are more savoury chocolates with fillings such as toasted cilantro or pine nuts.
Aside from its vast range of bonbons, Tout Chocolat also sells colourful macarons and every kind of cake. But Robledo’s love of cacao is partly because of its versatility – he likes using it in savoury dishes, such as a foie gras tart with hazelnuts, dark chocolate and truffle.
Locals flock to Tout Chocolat from Mexico and beyond, whether in search of a special gift or simply to enjoy a cup of V60 coffee with a freshly baked croissant or canelé. Everything here is made with the precision and expertise possessed by the most talented patissiers. Through his travels across Latin America and beyond, Robledo has also earned the respect of his peers, becoming one of the most esteemed pastry chefs in the world.
Ámsterdam 154, Colonia Hipódromo Condesa, Mexico City, MexicoVisit Luis Robledo 's Website