MARIA THEREZA’S STORY
Maria Thereza Alkmim, the culinary artist behind Leclanté Lace Cakes, took her first cooking course at the young age of ten. By then she was already a constant presence in her mother’s kitchen, trying recipes and experimenting with ingredients.
This passion for all things culinary was inherited from her great grandmother, who was a professional caterer in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, the family’s home town. Clotilde Pires Rocha, born in 1888, provided professional-quality catering for Brazil’s first airline in the 1930s and 1940s. Her desserts were mainstays at official government events at the Palácio da Liberdade in Belo Horizonte, and at weddings for the region’s high society. Today, Cordon Bleu Paris-trained Maria Thereza continues her family’s line of culinary professionals.
The chocolates, truffles, and pastries teenage Maria Thereza made as gifts were so popular that high school friends began placing orders. Confectionery and baking were her fascination and first love, and she realized this was the career path she wanted to pursue.
She enrolled in the international gastronomy and culinary arts program at UNIVALI, taking courses to become proficient in the world’s most important culinary techniques. Returning to Belo Horizonte, she attended Nutrition University at UNIBH where she expanded her knowledge of nutrition and became an expert in the essentials of food handling in accordance with Brazil’s strict guidelines. During these studies, she carried out two years of research into regional and international markets, analyzing opportunities and niches.
Baking had always been her first love, so in 2011 she went to Paris where she completed the Cordon Bleu pastry course. With the advanced techniques she mastered, she refined the recipes for treasured traditional confections and created authentic variations with new flavors. In March 2012 she opened a patisserie and showroom in Belo Horizonte offering 50 sought-after pastries and confections, including the signature Leclanté Lace Cake collection. Her hand-crafted products quickly won acclaimed for their delicious natural ingredients, meticulous techniques, and exquisite visual presentation.
Today she supervises a highly-trained team of confectioners who produce her proprietary products in Brazil and now makes them available in the United States. Minor variations that sometimes occur in a cake’s weight or the tint of the sugar lace only reinforce the fact that each one is handcrafted using Belgian chocolate, premium natural flavor concentrates, and pure ingredients from the world’s most treasured sources.