If you’ve dined at Bistro Barbès in recent months, perhaps during a stretch when the weather hasn’t been meltingly hot, you might have been the lucky recipient of an after-dinner chocolate. If that’s the case, you’ve had a taste of the future.
In the coming weeks, Jon Robbins, the Park Hill restaurant’s owner and executive chef, will debut Temper, a high-end chocolate shop at the pending Central Market in RiNo.
When the thermometer hasn’t been creeping skyward, Robbins has been practicing his chocolate work in the cool environs of Bistro Barbès’ basement. (Those complimentary treats filled with delicate and fresh mint fondant have been the result of these trial runs.) But when the temperature climbs above the melting point of chocolate—anywhere around 90°—well, it’s just too hot.
Robbins, who is French trained, has wanted to open a chocolate shop for years. “Ever since I moved from France [in 2007], I knew Denver would be a great place for a fancy chocolate store,” he says. Temper will finally give him the chance to make that dream a reality. Half of the 600-square foot space will be devoted to production so Robbins, along with Paxton Gross (formerly the pastry chef at Ophelia’s, chocolatier at Concerto’s, and a pastry cook at Frasca Food and Wine) will hand-temper chocolate in front of market-goers.
“Colorado’s dry climate is conducive for such work,” Robbins says. “This is the perfect place to do super high-end chocolate.” Robbins learned the art of chocolate making while training in France and he intends to bring those high standards to Temper. Expect truffles and bon bons and eventually bars in unusual flavors such as blueberry, white chocolate, and blue cheese; or avocado, goji berry, and chia seed. Robbins is even toying with making basil-flavored Pop Rocks and folding them into his treats.
If Barbès’ after-dinner chocolates are any indication of what Robbins has in store for Denver, we can’t wait to taste what’s to come.
Central Market, 2669 Larimer St.
—Photo by Rachel Adams