The famous Roca brothers — the Spanish restaurateurs behind the three Michelin-star El Cella de Can Roca — are opening the first U.S-location of their ice cream shop, Rocambolesc Gelateria, in Houston.
With locations in Barcelona, Girona, and Madrid, Spain, the dessert shop will open in Uptown Park (1101 Uptown Park Blvd Suite 10), and offer soft-serve ice cream flavors like milk chocolate and hazelnut, baked apple, and a plain frozen yogurt flavor. Vibrant Willy Wonka-like toppings, including sparkly colored stars, pop rocks, blood orange and guava jams, candy floss, and shimmering “violet clouds” will steal the show.
Their popsicles also come in intriguing forms, like the shape of a nose, Star War’s Darth Vadar, or a golden hand — a nod to TV series Game of Thrones. The shop also has a fancy version of an ice cream sandwich, the Panet. Using a machine, the ice cream shop seals customers’ choice of ice cream and toppings in brioche (see how the machine, called the Oxymoron Maker, works here).
The store will also sell an assortment of chocolates, bonbons, and take-home tubs of ice cream in at least 18 different flavors. These include espresso laced with Bailey's liqueur, a coconut sorbet with the aroma of violets, a mojito flavor made with real rum, lime and mint, and a carrot sorbet made with mandarin and apricot.
For more than 30 years, the award-winning brothers — chef Joan Roca, pastry chef Jordi Roca, and sommelier Josep Roca — have overseen the critically-acclaimed fine dining restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, which was named best restaurant in the world in 2013 and 2015 by the annual World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards.
Jordi, who was named best pastry chef in the world in 2014, teamed up with his wife Alejandra Rivas for the gelato shop in the Roca brother’s hometown of Girona, and later expanded with other locations throughout Spain. Eater Miami reported in 2015 that the Rocas hinted at a possible expansion to the U.S., but it wasn’t until this year that they made it public — noting Houston as the gastronomic capital of South Texas.
It’s unclear when the gelateria will officially open. The shop’s management group did not state the date in emails to Eater, but it’s clear Rocambolesc is moving in an area with some competition. New York-based ice cream company Van Leeuwen — known for its creative takes on ice cream, which includes dairy-free options — opened its Uptown Park location in August 2021 — less than a five-minute walk away from where Rocambolesc will be located. Araya Artisan Chocolate, a chocolate shop known for its gelato and macarons, is also steps away.
- Cult-Favorite NYC Ice Cream Shop Van Leeuwen Will Bring Two More Shops to Houston
- Roca Brothers, Chefs of Number One Restaurant in the World, Discuss Their Pop Up Dinner in Miami [Eater Miami]
- Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Roca Brothers In Houston
- Oxymoron Maker [Vimeo]
- The 38 Essential Restaurants in Miami [Eater.com]