Paco Torreblanca

Credit Brambilla-Serrani

Credit Brambilla-Serrani

Torreblanca

Torreblanca Cero, C/ Alt de Guisop 1, Elda (Alicante) +34.965.388224

Paco Torreblanca is considered one of the most important and innovative pastry chefs in the past 30 years. Born in 1951 in Villena, in the province of Alicante, Spain, he trained as pastry chef almost by chance, thanks to his father’s intuition.

A Republican militant, Paco Torreblanca’s father was sentenced to many years in prison at the end of the Spanish civil war. Here he met another militant, from France, who arrived in Spain to join the resistance: his name was Jean Millet and he was a great pastry chef. Once out of prison, Paco’s father sent his then 13-year-old son to Paris, to work with his friend Millet and leave behind the Spanish dictatorship.

So Torreblanca had the opportunity to learn the art of pastry making from one of its most prestigious interpreters, who was then the president of the French Federation of Pastry Chefs, and the founder of the French School of Pastry Making. Millet raised him as if he were his own child, and sent him around Europe to acquire experience in the best workshops of the continent.

In 1978, having returned to Spain, he opened his pastry shop with his wife Chelo, in a small town close to Alicante called Elda. The name of the pastry shop, Totel, is a transliteration of a Japanese word that means “the light of something new”. Torreblanca soon stood out, especially for his desire to revolutionise the concept of chocolate, experimenting many blends of cocoa and spices or ingredients typical of the Mediterranean diet. So much so, he explored the possibility of replacing cocoa butter with extra virgin olive oil.

During his long career he received endless awards. For instance, he was nominated best pastry chef in Spain in 1988 or best pastry chef in Europe in 1990. He also trained many other chefs, and opened the Escuela Torreblanca, where his son Jacob, also teaches – just like his father, he’s also a national and European pastry making champion. There’s also a line of products for Ho.Re.Ca. under the Torreblanca brand and three shops for private clients: the first one in Elda, from which everything started (now called Torreblanca Cero), one in Alicante and one in Valencia.

His passion for sweets is perfectly summed up by this famous statement of his: «Culinary art goes beyond the joy of flavours and becomes art for the eyes. The result is ephemeral sculptures, born to die in our mouths. They express themselves through the texture of sugar, the colour of caramel against the light or the shape cream acquires on the plate. Chocolate becomes the most beautiful stone and, carved or chiselled, becomes a magnificent sculpture. It’s as we could savour the Venus de Milo if in a dream ».

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Niccolò Vecchia

Journalist, based in Milan. At 8 years old, he received a Springsteen record as a gift, and nothing was the same since. Music and food are his passions. Author and broadcaster at Radio Popolare since 1997, since 2014 he became part of the staff of Identità Golose - twitter @niccolovecchia