best chocolate in Mexico City

As I alluded to in the post about Las Alcobas in Mexico City, I was thrilled to spend time and taste the range of chocolate products from Chef José Ramón Castillo, the creative force behind Que Bo! Chocolatería Mexicana Evolutiva. Literally translated, “Que Bo!” means “How nice!” or “How cool!” in the Catalan language, and I have to tell you .. you will definitely find a visit to any Que Bo! chocolatería to be very cool. Where else will you find brightly-coloured chocolates shaped like lipstick ends?

chocolate-lipstick

You can get small lipstick-shaped chocolates or large ones at Que Bo! in a variety of exotic flavours.

jose-ramon-castillo

Chef Jose Ramon Castillo is the highly creative mastermind behind Que Bo Chocolateria.

my search for the best chocolate in mexico city ended here

Castillo is a leader in the development of a sophisticated new and improved Mexican chocolate which he proudly calls the evolution of Mexican chocolate. I was impressed to feel the silkiness of the chocolate in my mouth, and taste the vibrancy of the all-Mexican ingredients that make Que Bo! chocolates world class. For this very reason, I am planning a return trip to Mexico this fall to continue my exploration of the evolution of Mexican chocolate.

confit-figs

The chocolate-dipped Confit Figs at Que Bo! are simmered in molasses, cinnamon, and sugar.

My favourite confection at Que Bo! is the Confit Figs dipped in 85% cocoa from the Michoacan state. This delectable chocolate treat is far more than figs dipped in chocolate. The massive Mexican figs are marinated in a mixture of molasses, cinnamon, and sugar simmered under low heat for 15  minutes. The figs are then dried for three days and enrobed in the deep dark delicious chocolate. I was told they will keep for up to a year, but we ate the last one I’d brought home from Mexico after three months, and I would hesitate to keep them any longer than that for maximum quality and flavour.

You’ll also find a delightful range of exotic flavours in Que Bo! fresh chocolate bonbons that undoubtedly cater to women, as 90% of Que Bo! customers are women. “We only think about women here, and there is nothing so female as lipstick. So our chocolates are shaped like lipsticks,” says Chef Castillo, who is 39 years old and has been working with chocolate since the age of 26.

Some of my favourite “lipstick” flavours include the hot pink Guava blended with an 85% cocoa, and the bright orange Mango blended with chilli and salt. The chocolate shells are painted in the mold, and then filled with a dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, Kosher, certified organic, vegan Mexican Supreme Quality ganache that will send your taste buds into outer space!

Que Bo! also makes the Oaxaca Collection that includes tamarin and grasshoppers that are processed the same way worms are processed for use in tequila. I have to tell you. I didn’t particularly care for that one! But I do love and respect how Castillo has created a marriage of art, culture, and culinary fascination in his chocolate creations like no other chocolatier I have met in my eight years of chocolate travels to 16 countries to date.

best-chocolate-mexico-city

The Que Bo! chocolateria in Polanco is small, but chic.

I visited with Chef Castillo in his Polanco location, but he has a total of five shops. One in each of these neighbourhoods: Polanco, Mercado Roma, Centro Histórico, San Ángel, and Coyoacán. With any luck, I will become a Mexico City expert, and eventually visit them all!

For all the reasons I have mentioned, I was happy to include Que Bo! Chocolate on the list I wrote for National Geographic Traveler featuring the 10 Best Chocolate Shops in the world.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

60 Responses

  1. I absolutely love getting behind the scenes tours of things (especially food!) when I travel! Last fall I got to take a tour of the kitchen in a big hotel in Chicago and it was fascinating to see how everything worked! This looks like a great experience!
    Julie recently posted…Be Inspired: Travel Tales #1My Profile

  2. Susan cooper
    Twitter:
    says:

    What a cute and clever idea. This is a smart man, making chocolate in the shape of and colors of lipstick for his female clients. Lord know we ladies love our chocolate!

  3. I love the idea of the lipsticks! What a great marketing tool:) And he sure knows his audience! Your description of the figs absolutely made my mouth water…wow!
    Jacqueline Gum recently posted…Skin… Where’s The JusticeMy Profile

  4. Chris
    Twitter:
    says:

    Wow, wonderful to see him use a real fusion of local ingredients to make some truly Mexican chocolate!

    How much heavier is your luggage (on your way home) with all of the goodies you pick up when travelling?
    Chris recently posted…Galapagos: South Plaza to Black Turtle CoveMy Profile

  5. Phoenicia
    Twitter:
    says:

    This man is a genius! Lipstick shaped chocolate and chocolate dipped figs!

    To me dark chocolate is the ultimate luxury – rich in taste and velvety in texture.
    Phoenicia recently posted…A good self image or vanity at it’s best?My Profile

  6. Jeri
    Twitter:
    says:

    Que bo! How cool (and beautiful) indeed! The confit figs sound divine.
    Jeri recently posted…#Publishing: Compiling a Literature AnthologyMy Profile

  7. Doreen, I dread reading your posts because I’m always beset with a terrible craving for chocolate afterwards! And now I have to plan a trip to Mexico to get it! I think you should send samples to your mailing list subscribers. 😉
    Meredith recently posted…A Chair Reborn of Chalk Paint and a Drop ClothMy Profile

  8. Yay! It’s great to see one of my favourite places in DF profiled here! For all the many reasons that I love living in Mexico, chocolate is definitely up there near the top 🙂
    Katja – globetotting recently posted…My Family Adventure: Trailing Grandparents in BangladeshMy Profile

  9. Karla
    Twitter:
    says:

    Hey Doreen, lipstick shaped chocolate perhaps if its that good, they can inspire a lipstick company to create a chocolate flavoured lipstick. I wonder how that would be ? If you get to review one, let me know.
    Karla recently posted…Comment on Top 10 Reasons to Stay at Circle Hostel Baler by Katja – globetottingMy Profile

  10. Donna Janke
    Twitter:
    says:

    Que Bo! certainly has an interesting and appealing collection of chocolate, both in flavours and shapes. I think I’d like to try the mango blended with chilli and salt.
    Donna Janke recently posted…First Fridays in the ExchangeMy Profile

  11. I love the artistry of artisanal chocolate, some of which just looks too good to eat! What a clever man to make delicious gourmet chocolate that looks like lipstick. If he comes up with a calorie free version, I’ll be on the next plane…
    Michele Harvey recently posted…Serious Food Waste Occurs Due to Confusion over “Sell-By Date”My Profile

  12. Tami
    Twitter:
    says:

    I love chocolate, but didn’t realize it could be made to look so beautiful, too! That creates a problem though: Do I display it, or eat it?? 🙂
    Tami recently posted…BAJA Road Trip and CampingMy Profile

    • Hi Tami and thx for your comment.

      Yes, this has happened to me on many occasions. But you really can’t keep these fresh chocolates. The QueBo! ganaches should only be kept for 3 months max. Remember … there are no preservatives used in most artisan chocolate, so it is meant to be enjoyed and eaten sooner than later.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…best chocolate in Mexico CityMy Profile

  13. Ken Dowell
    Twitter:
    says:

    Is it unusual that the customer base is predominately women or is that true of chocolateurs in other parts of the world? And, I have one other question. I always associate Mexican chocolate with a spicy taste. Is that true of what Castillo calls the new and improved Mexican chocolate
    Ken Dowell recently posted…Things to Do in Colorado When There’s No SnowMy Profile

    • Thx for those very thoughtful questions, Ken.

      It is very common for most chocolate shops to have a female customer base of at least 80%. We women really LOVE our chocolate!
      And yes, Mexican chocolate was originally made with infusions of chillies, cinnamon, and vanilla–which all grow in abundance in Mexico. But the new Mexican chocolate introduces many more exotic flavours. Chilli can still be found among them, but it is not the star. It is the cacao itself that is the star. 🙂
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…best chocolate in Mexico CityMy Profile

  14. So creative and looks delicious! The closest Mexican chocolate I’ve had was Abuelita the hot mexican chocolate haha but I would really love to try authentic mexican chocolate. They looks so good. Ok excuse me while I go wipe off the drool off my face
    Lieurene Tran recently posted…Sea Trekking at XcaretMy Profile

  15. Lenie
    Twitter:
    says:

    Doreen, I love the lipstick chocolate. Must be fascinating to watch the process from the chocolate being painted in the cups to the filling poured in. All sounds so yummy. Clever man, targeting the female audience. Everyone knows women are nuts about chocolate.
    Lenie recently posted…Consignment Shops: Buy-SellMy Profile

  16. This sounds so yummy!
    I love the idea of the lipstick chocolate. The guy is smart, what a great marketing tool LOL i.e female audience.

  17. Chocolate? Well, YES, thank you! lipstick chocolate is such a clever idea. This place must smell wonderful!
    The Educational Tourist recently posted…Travel outside your comfort zoneMy Profile

    • Hi Natalie. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to the workshop of Que Bo! where the chocolates are actually made, so there wasn’t that strong, intoxicating smell you get in chocolate shops where the goodies are made on-site. That truly is the ultimate experience. Paul A. Young’s shop in London literally had me bowled over from the smell of fresh chocolates being made on-site. That really does add to the experience.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…best chocolate in Mexico CityMy Profile

  18. Such fun to read these chocolate stories! It’s a joy to be around someone who loves what he is doing so much and shares that love through gorgeous chocolate works of art!
    Rose M Griffith recently posted…It’s Our Parents’ FaultMy Profile

  19. Doreen — another winner. Did you find him or are chocolatiers now seeking you out because you’ve become the chocolate expert. I’ve never associated Mexico with chocolate. I guess I’ve been influenced by all the Mexican restaurants in the U.S. where it’s all rice and beans and burritos!
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Engage Employees as Brand Advocates on Their Mobile DevicesMy Profile

    • Hi Jeannete: Great question. I hook up with chocolate makers in one of 3 ways. Either they approach me, as they’ve come across my site or social media presence. I approach them, because someone has personally recommended them, or I’ve found them via social media. Or, as in this case, the local tourism person suggested I check out Chef Castillo, as his chocolate is remarkable and he is a television personality to boot! I’m sure glad she pointed me in his direction, as he’s completely changed my opinion of contemporary Mexican chocolate.
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…best chocolate in Mexico CityMy Profile

  20. You might be one person who truly loves chocolate more than me. AHAH I have never seen so many chocolate stylings since I started reading this blog
    Kimberly Erin recently posted…12 Travel Songs that InspireMy Profile

  21. Robyn
    Twitter:
    says:

    Yum yum yum yum YUM! I a huge chocolate fan and this looks like a fantastic experience! You really have cracked the jackpot when it comes to insider tours! The lipstick moulded chocolates was a great idea, (though as if women need any persuasion when it comes to eating chocolate ;))

  22. Elizabeth
    Twitter:
    says:

    Wow! What amazing chocolates! Very original. The fig looks amazing! Maybe the only thing women like better than lipstick colours is shoes- have you found anyone that does shoe-shaped chocolates on your travels?
    Elizabeth recently posted…Exploring the Natural Beauty of BarilocheMy Profile

  23. Oh these treats look marvelous Doreen! I used to travel to Japan fairly often on business and the #1 treat my clients asked me to bring was dark chocolate dipped mango. I rarely eat chocolate myself but gotta admit the combination of chocolate and mango is a real winner even for me.
    Marquita Herald recently posted…Why We Usually Fail at Self-ImprovementMy Profile

  24. Jason B
    Twitter:
    says:

    Looks like you had a great time in Mexico City. That chocolate looks delicious.
    Jason B recently posted…States I’ve Been ToMy Profile

  25. Ah and my chocolate cravings are sparked again! Every week Doreen ;). Not that I’m complaining in the slightest :). This place looks wonderful… especially the figs! You did well to last 3 months i’d say… I don’t think they’d have made it home if it was me!

    Gabby
    Gabby recently posted…Why the Wild Ones are Richer than MostMy Profile

  26. Catarina says:

    What a creative and attractive way to design chocolates! And the shop looks great too. If I go to Mexico City I will definitely visit Que Bo!
    Catarina recently posted…Ever heard of emerging generosity?My Profile

  27. Still love that chocolate flower – so delicate looking…and delicious looking too! Love when you see ‘culinary arts’ in action and find some place that truly blends art with cuisine/culinary skill. Incredible!
    Carolann – One Modern Couple recently posted…The ‘Gentle Monster’ of Korea’s Fashion SceneMy Profile

  28. This is not chocolate – this is a work of art! So talented (and tasty!)
    Gemma Two Scots Abroad recently posted…See Ya Sunshine Coast – POTF #11My Profile

  29. You are now in Mexico!!! Wow! Though I’ve never been, I read about Que Bo before and have heard so many good things about it! Can you please come to South America and bring me to your chocolate adventures? I’m in anytime!!!
    Trisha Velarmino recently posted…The Consequences of Having An Overstaying Schengen VisaMy Profile

    • Hi Trisha and thx for your comment. No, I was in MX a few months ago, and will be back there again next month. Lots to explore in that magnificent country!

      Re South America, please subscribe to my site and search the archives. You will find many posts on Ecuador and Peru. I think Peruvian chocolate is among the best in the world and have been there twice. Cheers!
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…best chocolate in Mexico CityMy Profile

  30. Kia
    Twitter:
    says:

    I always have the problem with pretty candy that I a in between “eat it all NOW” and “I can’t eat it, it’s to pretty”. This is the perfect example 😀
    Kia recently posted…What’s in my Bag: Traveling by Bus & TrainMy Profile

  31. Sanket D.
    Twitter:
    says:

    Gee, I’m not really into chocolate, and even I felt really enticed by some of these pictures. So yum!
    Sanket D. recently posted…Blogger Of The Month – The Shooting StarMy Profile

    • Well, Sanket, I’m glad that my photos have enticed you! Chocolate is really quite an intoxicating thing. Perhaps you just haven’t had the opportunity to find the right chocolate for you. Keep trying different ones. You will get lots of ideas and suggestions here. Cheers!

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