Restaurants / Openings

Famed Spanish Restaurant Brothers Choose Houston For Their First U.S. Desserts Mecca — Rocambolesc Brings Real Magic

A Chocolate, Ice Cream and Pastry Wonderland

BY // 04.26.22
photography Joan Pujol-Creus

Charlie and his chocolate factory have nothing on the exciting new chocolatier and gelateria Rocambolesc, which just opened in Houston’s Uptown Park development. The color-splashed magical-looking outpost — the first Rocambolesc on United States soil — is a Spanish import created by the famed Roca brothers (Joan, Josep and Jordi). The brothers established their family’s acclaimed restaurant El Celler de Can Roca in Girona (Catalonia), Spain — the recipient of three Michelin stars, and also twice voted best restaurant in the world by Restaurant magazine.

Jordi Roca and his wife Alejandra Rivas have partnered with the Barcelona-born Roger and Torras families (who run two of the best Spanish restaurants in Houston, BCN and MAD). Together, they’re bringing Houston delectable chilly treats such as oven-baked apple gelato topped with caramelized apples and spears of shortbread; and frozen yogurt with a milk caramel sauce, and guava jam surrounded by an ethereal cloud of cotton candy. Just to name two of the six indulgent soft-serve gelato flavors and myriad toppings.

If you follow the pastry world, you’ll recognize Jordi Roca as one of the best pastry chefs anywhere. He was voted the world’s best by Restaurant magazine in 2014 and starred in an episode of the 2018 Netflix series Chef’s Table: Pastry.

The gelato at the new Rocambolesc in Uptown Park comes in fantastic flavors like coconut violet.
The gelato at the new Rocambolesc in Uptown Park comes in fantastic flavors like coconut violet.

In Jordi Roca’s skilled hands, both at his Spanish restaurant and here at Rocambolesc USA, he creates confections that are both stunning chemical reactions and curious surrealist-looking sculptures. Take Jordi’s self-effacing “nose” popsicle, made with strawberry and rosewater frozen in a 3-D mold that takes the shape of his own generous beak. Or the coconut-and-meringue milk pop shaped like the torso of a man with a “touch” of pheromones added. His panet, a brioche bun filled with gelato and toppings of your choosing, is pressed to order in a machine that simultaneously toasts the outer crust while keeping the interior cool. It’s simply a marvel.

The house-made chocolate creations, from bars of dark and milk chocolate to orbs of silver, gold and copper-hued truffles, are playful, too. For example, the tasty golden bonbon features a creamy milk chocolate center with bits of hazelnut and “sparkling” candy (think of the sensation of Pop Rocks) that creates a fizzy sensation on your tongue before and after your first bite.

As Jordi is afflicted with a rare neurological disease that affects his voice and throat, Rocambolesc USA strives to create employment for people who also have neurological differences. Committed to raising public awareness through those job opportunities and supporting their career potential, Rocambolesc partners with organizations that specialize in educational programs and training for people with IDD, such as The Center for Pursuit and The HUB Houston.

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Rocambolesc is located at 1101-10 Uptown Park Boulevard, (281) 501-3499. It is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 10 am to 9 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 10 pm (closed Mondays and Tuesdays).

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