This Filipino couple built a chic chocolate cafe using local ingredients from Leyte

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MANILA, Philippines – Walk past this swanky chocolate cafe on the second level of The Podium and you might think it’s an international brand of chocolatiers from Europe, just like me. However, that’s not the case – Pâtisserie Le Choux-Colat is proudly homegrown and 100% local, and this French-inspired dessert spot actually started out as a humble Instagram bakery, only delivering during the pandemic. .

LOCAL BRAND. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Choux-Colat was founded by husband and wife Chef Ely and Jiannina in February 2021. After training in Canada, award-winning Filipino pastry chef Ely returned home armed with the skills and drive to create a repertoire of fine desserts inspired by the techniques classic French dishes and her love for familiar Filipino ingredients.

CHIEF ELY. Photo courtesy of Choux-Colat
STORE DISPLAY. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Chef Ely first ensured that most of his ingredients would be grown and hand-picked locally, and that he would support local communities at the same time. He has partnered with farmers to help him develop his farm, Elfortunella Farm, in Leyte, where he sources his cocoa beans sustainably and calamansi from, among other things, indigenous ingredients used for its French confections with flavors of cultural inspiration.

Start small, grow fast

Chef Ely and Jiannina started the same way many online home businesses did during the pandemic – only online, for delivery only, and with only a handful of handcrafted hero items for sale. As of February 2021, only Chef Ely’s chocolate and coffee creme brulee entremets were available, but rightly so – these have always been (and still are to this day) his popular best-sellers and his most popular desserts. more decadent.

CHOCOLATE DESSERT. Photo courtesy of Choux-Colat

We tried the beautiful and sophisticated Chocolate Entremet, which was both sinful but not overly sweet. The magnificent multi-textural creation is made of a fluffy chocolate sponge cake on a crispy wafer crunch, hazelnut praline and creamy milk chocolate, covered with a silky 64% dark chocolate mousse and encased in a mirror of glossy, near-perfect dark chocolate. glaze adorned with 24k gold leaf accents.

This must-have dessert is a chocolate junkie’s paradise and is available in full size (P1720) or miniature size (P450). We also tried Chef Ely’s chocolate bonbon on top – the crunchy chocolate exterior encloses a silky smooth chocolate explosion inside.

MINIATURE CHOCOLATE DESSERT. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Because demand for his sweets skyrocketed, Chef Ely was pressured to add other desserts to the menu, such as travel cakes and artisan chocolate bark. Choux-Colat also began appearing at weekend food fairs and began selling in person. A year later, it was time to expand a bit more – this time, to build Choux Colat’s first physical store in a mall.

A French-inspired taste of home, in the flesh

Pâtisserie Le Choux-Colat’s first physical store opened to the public at The Podium, Mandaluyong City on July 8, still managed by Ely Chef, Jiannina, and her dedicated staff.

HUSBAND AND WIFE. Photo courtesy of Choux-Colat

The quaint cafe is set up so that passersby can get a close look at the freshly made confections through a glass display case and watch Chef Ely and his sous chefs expertly prepare and garnish various in-the-flesh dessert creations.

CHIEF AT WORK. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Seating capacity, however, is very minimal — there are only two tables and a small bar available for a few diners in the dining room; however, Jiannina said they plan to expand the restaurant space soon.

FRONT. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The brand’s chic French elements are reflected in the stand’s designs and branding. Chef Ely worked with a team – architect Tricia Perdigon, designer Cal Tavera-Katigbak and engineer Romel Laquian – to create an inviting space that draws inspiration from both French Art Deco and elements of Filipino design. You will notice the solihiya chairs, paired with marble coffee tables and gold accents.

SEATS. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Besides the chocolate entremet, be sure to try the Choux-Colat Voyage Cakes, a small but compact cake bar that looks like a pound cake, topped with different ingredients. Among my favorites was the Carrot Cream Cheese, a moist, moist carrot sponge cake topped with a smooth white chocolate cream cheese (not your typical, sweet, artificial cream cheese frosting), sweet carrots ice cream and crunchy milk chocolate praline for a welcome crunch. If you’re a fan of simple yet satisfying carrot cake, this is a goodie.

CHEF’S PLATE SAMPLES (MANGO AND CARROT CAKE). Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

As a lover of citrus desserts, the refreshing Bavarian Calamansi is worth trying – it’s a bit calamansi-flavored pound cake garnished with confits calamansi and coated in white chocolate. My favorite part of this dessert was the caramelized, candied and tangy slice of calamansi plus – I could have eaten more!

DESSERT SAMPLES. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler
TRAVEL CAKES. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Another sweet-tart dessert that any mango lover would enjoy is the lovely Mango Magnifique (P1,720), made with fresh mangoes from the Philippines and layers of mango mousse, mango jelly cubes in a vanilla diplomat cream , a vanilla citrus sponge cake and a streusel crunch, and on top is a white chocolate mirror glaze.

A Filipino favourite, the Tablea Nut Brittle is an ode to indigenous cocoa, featuring tablea chocolate sponge cake, salted nut caramel and a decadent tablea chocolate cream. With Chef Ely’s desserts, every element is well done and well thought out, resulting in exquisite desserts that look like they belong in a Parisian bakery but taste like they were elegantly prepared at home.

For more tablea goodness, Choux-Colat’s Tsokolate Traditional (P180) artisanal hot drink is a must-try — it’s rich, creamy, and just the right balance of bitter and sweet.

TRAVEL CAKES. Photo courtesy of Choux-Colat

Other flavors of the Voyage Cakes cake filling suitable for chocoholics are Chocolate Rocher (fudge cake with hazelnut crispy feuilletine, chocolate truffles and chocolate praline); Almond praline (vanilla pound cake, almond praline and whipped chocolate ganache); and another one of my favorites – the Banana Chocolate, which has a moist banana sponge (like a really good banana cake), topped with white chocolate streusel, banana ganache, and dark chocolate ganache .

Each Travel Cakes costs P180 per piece and P990 for a box of six flavors.

CHOCOLATE BARK. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Don’t leave without bringing back at least one gram of artisanal Choux-Colat chocolate bark! They’re crunchy, thick, smooth and perfect if you need a quick dark, white or milk chocolate fix with a bit of crunch. Premium, store-exclusive items are available in 75% Tablea Dark Chocolate Almonds, Milk Chocolate Praline, White Chocolate Cookies & Cream, and Dark Chocolate Wafer flavors.

MENU. Photo by Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Besides the traditional Tsokolate, other drinks on the menu include Tsokolate Signature, Espresso, Americano, Cappuccino, Café Latte, Flat White and Tablea Café Mocha. It’s nice to enjoy a cup of hot brew and a pastry in the store, but it’s just as handy to pack a cake for a special occasion or some pastries in case a sweet craving strikes at home. . – Rappler.com

The Pâtisserie Le Choux-Colat is located on the second floor of the Podium. Customers can still order for delivery via the brand’s Facebook, Instagram or online form.

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