From old books to sheep in Jordi Roca’s gastronomic perfumery

By Maribel Arenas Vadillo |

Bogotá (BLAZETRENDS).- The self-styled Catalan “last man” Jordi Roca needs a pinch of deodorized butter to convert the smell of inedible pieces, like the pages of an old book, into essences that, through the palate, shake the memory of the diners at Celler de Can Roca.

“I learned about the ‘enfleurage’ technique from perfumers, which consists of putting a deodorized fat on a surface that has an odor to capture that odor, then stretching it and obtaining an essence,” explained the youngest of the three Roca brothers in a interview with BLAZETRENDS in Bogotá, where he was invited by BBVA Colombia.

As a result of this crazy game imported from the perfumer’s union, he devised a dessert presented in the form of earl gray tea cream mille-feuille accompanied by ice cream madeleines (muffins), caramelized butter tiles and rice paper printed with fragments of the book. “In Search of Lost Time” by Marcel Proust.

“When people try it they say ‘it sounds like a lot to me, but I don’t know what.’ So we give them an old book so they can smell it and what happens there is magical,” said Roca after assuring that it is a “gift” for them to see how “many people get emotional, cry or get their hair on end” when taste that dish.

Test to personalize experiences

Convinced that people perceive the world in a more visual, auditory, olfactory or kinesthetic way, the confectioner advanced that they are currently working to offer their customers “the most personalized experiences possible”.

To do this, they will prepare a survey with “very specific” questions that will help to develop a profile of each client in order to “be able to reach the heart of each person from a privileged knowledge” that allows “going more to emotion”.

In this sense, Roca explained that while visual people are analytical and “accurate”, the olfactory ones respond to a “more visceral” and “emotional” personality, and the kinesthetic ones, to a “more empathetic” one.

Renew the family legacy

The love for cooking of the Roca brothers (Joan, Josep and Jordi) was forged between the pots and stoves of Can Roca, an establishment run by their parents in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Girona (Catalonia).

The essence and soul of that kitchen understood as a way of “sharing and caring”, according to the pastry chef, is maintained, although wrapped in a more “intellectual” and “sensitive” “form” and “expression”.

“When we make a new dish we give it to friends, colleagues, team members and our parents to try. If our parents have a dish with avant-garde customization, but they recognize flavors, we are doing well because we are very interested in maintaining those roots, ”she added.

In this sense, the incursion of social networks into gastronomy was another of the factors that transformed Roca’s imagination, who decided to start sharing his recipes and methods of preparation to generate in diners “a recreation in which they can finally live what you have understood, internalized and absorbed” through an Instagram video.

In this way, followers of the confectioner will know how to delight in every detail of proposals such as the “Lactic Dessert” that includes a “perfume” of sheep’s wool to smell while sliding the spoon over a plate reminiscent of the cowbells that hang from cattle necks.

Roca and the irreverence of its ice creams

Passionate about ice cream and bringing fun, irreverence and transgression to sweets, one of Roca’s most ambitious projects is Rocambolesc, an ice cream parlor that offers ice creams in the shape of fingers, telephones and even noses made by hand with 3D moulds.

Defender of a “cone diet” based on “eating many (ice cream) cones” from his ice cream parlor, the pastry chef confessed to BLAZETRENDS his desire to expand this establishment already present in Girona, Madrid and Houston (USA) to “other markets”. USA).

Asked about the possibility of opening a Rocambolesc space in Colombia, Roca did not rule out the idea, adding that his proposals would constitute a “feast of flavors” inspired by the magical realism of the works of the writer Gabriel García Márquez.

The entry From old books to sheep in Jordi Roca’s gastronomic perfumery was first published in BLAZETRENDS Noticias.

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