Can genius strike twice? A question I pondered as I stood before an inviting but nondescript building on quaint Carrer de Santa Clara in Girona. Looking beyond the stone threshold, candy-cane swirls and pops of orange, yellow, red and blue bounced back at me, luring me with the intoxicating promise of instant joy and the smell of sugar. Did I come to Girona for the history and the tradition? Absolutely. But admittedly the promise of dessert was top of mind and my quest to seek out Girona’s most mythical ice cream would indeed be a priority. But not just any ice cream. The kind of ice cream that only the Brothers Roca of El Cellar de Can Roca can dream up in deliciously divine swirls. With the number one restaurant in the world, it is by no coincidence that the same thrilling sense of imagination and curiosity has been carried over to Rocambolesc, the Roca brothers’ playful foray into the sweet and frozen arts.What I found at Rocambolesc, beyond the whimsy and the fun, was a serious laboratory of flavor, where everything is a calculated balance of natural, inspired ingredients that are meant to dance together in ways both unexpected and sublime.
With a revolving selection of freshly-churned, natural ice creams and a bar of zany toppings on offer, choice is both your friend and your foe. If you’re feeling adventurous you can let the very congenial ice cream experts on hand recommend a fanciful concoction, or you can be the architect of your own gastronomic destiny by choosing your ice cream flavor and preferred toppings. I placed myself in the capable hands of the experts. Soon a cup overflowing with decadently rich chocolate ice cream bejeweled with chunks of moist, cakey brownie and swathed in a ribbon of fudge was placed carefully in front of me.After gleefully gobbling down my first ice cream wonder, I happily went back for another – Light as air cotton candy delicately set atop a pillow of silky, yogurt-flavored ice cream, slightly tart and milky, gilded with caramel. I then proceeded to help myself to a completely greedy portion of my husband’s icy treat, a quenching carrot ice cream caressed by guava swirls and apricot bursts. Pure heaven. As I walked away in a haze of sugary contentment, I answered my own question: Indeed, genius can strike twice.