As we continue to celebrate International Chocolate Day, we are featuring two recipes from former Club Coupe du Monde Team USA participants.

The first recipe comes from Chef Robert Nieto – a dark chocolate budino with blueberries and basil.

Chef Nieto was part of the 2017 team which also included Chefs Bill Foltz, Victor Dagatan, and Rabbi Saber. The team was coached by Chefs Roy Pell and Christophe Feyt.

About Chef Robert Nieto

Chef Robert Nieto

Chef Nieto, along with his wife Tara, are the owners of Fleur Sauvage Chocolates in Windsor, California.

A native of Texas, Robert “Buttercup” Nieto began his career as a line cook at the Corpus Christi Country Club after receiving his cooking and baking certificate from Del Mar Community College. He has worked at a variety of 5-star hotels including the Bellagio, Paris Las Vegas, and the Venetian as a Pastry Sous Chef. In addition, he worked as the pastry chef at world-renowned Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro and Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, Michelin starred restaurant, Madrona Manor (now The Madrona), and at the Jackson Family Wines in 2012.

fleur sauvage robert

In December 2018, Robert realized his long-time dream and launched his own chocolate company, Fleur Sauvage Chocolates (Fleur Sauvage means Wild Flower in French). In December 2021, Robert and Tara, moved Fleur Sauvage Chocolates into a permanent storefront location (370 Windsor River Rd) in Windsor. Fleur Sauvage Chocolates now has an expanded selection of both chocolate treats as well as Espresso drinks, tea, hot chocolate, and small beautiful desserts.

Over the course of his career, Robert has competed in a myriad of pastry competitions. In 2013, he was selected for tryouts by the Bread Bakers Guild of America to compete in Viennoiserie and Artistic Design. In 2015, he competed at Pastry Live in the Chocolate Bonbons, Plated Dessert, and Championship Showpiece categories. That same year, he also had the privilege of being selected as a finalist for the Valrhona Chocolate Chef Competition (C3).

In 2016, Dessert Professional Magazine selected Robert as one of the Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America. He was a member of the 2017 Club Coupe du Monde Team USA, which competed at the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie in Lyon, France. Robert was also a member of Team USA for the Mondial des Arts Sucre international competition in February 2018 in Paris, France. In December 2019, he competed on and won the Food Network series, “Holiday Wars,” as well as competing on other Food Network shows.

Robert has an extreme love for chocolate – so much so that he has three chocolate-themed tattoos! His motto is “Have a Sweet day!”

Chocolate Budino – aka Italian Chocolate Pudding

A chocolate budino, often referred to as Italian chocolate pudding, is a lusciously indulgent dessert beloved throughout Italy. What sets it apart from a pots de crème, is you do not have to bake it in a water bath. With budino, you prepare the dessert, transfer it to ramekins, and then allow it to chill, eliminating the need for baking.

In the recipe, basil microgreens are listed as a garnish. In case you’re unable to find basil microgreens, you have two alternatives: you can either use the smaller leaves from a basil stalk or take a regular basil leaf and finely slice it into strips.

Another garnish suggested for this recipe is Maldon sea salt. You should be able to locate this English sea salt in the majority of grocery stores, such as Whole Foods. Nevertheless, if you cannot find it, any type of large, flaky sea salt will suffice.

Dark Chocolate Budino with Blueberries and Basil

Serves 8

Powdered Gelatin2 teaspoons
Whole Milk1 1/4 cups
Heavy Cream1 cup
Granulated Sugar1/2 cup
Kosher Salt1/4 teaspoon
Egg Yolks, Large4 each
Brown Rice Flour2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon
Dark Chocolate (70 percent), chopped
We use Valrhona Chocolate
8 ounces
Medium Roast Coffee, Freshly Brewed – Warm1/2 cup
Extra Virgin Olive Oil1/4 cup
Blueberries, fresh1/2 cup
Basil Microgreens1/2 cup
Maldon Sea Salt1 Tablespoon


In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 5 teaspoons water, stir, and then let sit for 10 minutes to bloom.

In a medium pot, combine the milk, cream, 1/4 cup of sugar, and the salt and bring to boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, rice flour, and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, mixing well.  Remove the milk mixture from the heat and slowly pour it into the egg mixture while whisking constantly until thoroughly mixed.  Pour the mixture back into the pot and continue to cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160 deg F on an instant-read thermometer.

Remove from the heat and stir in the bloomed gelatin.  Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl and pour the hot milk mixture through a fine mesh sieve over the chocolate.  Let sit for 2 minutes, then whisk until the chocolate melts and is fully incorporated.  Stir in the coffee, mixing well.

Divide the mixture evenly among eight individual serving bowls and let cool completely.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled. 

To serve, drizzle with the olive oil, garnish with the blueberries and basil, and finish with a sprinkle of the Maldon salt.  

chocolate budino

Robert can be followed on Instagram and Facebook. Follow Fleur Sauvage Chocolates on Instagram and Facebook.