On June 1 San Pellegrino released the 2015 list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, ranking some of the top eateries across the globe. Why a sparkling water company is considered an authority on restaurants is beyond me, but when it comes to knowing the best of the best in the culinary industry, these guys are the go-to experts.
While some restaurants took a hard fall from grace, others rose to the top of the food chain. Noma, Chef René Redzepi’s infamous Copenhagen eatery that has received the top honor for the past four years, was bumped down to the number three spot. Having recently returned from a semester abroad in Copenhagen, I wasn’t thrilled by the news, but I certainly understood why it might have happened (not everyone likes to eat twigs and ants for dinner). While you might be thinking, “Great! Now that Noma got bronze the prepared food section at Whole Foods can finally get the recognition it deserves!”, the top spot was actually snatched by El Celler de Can Roca, a modern Spanish restaurant tucked away in the city of Girona in the Catalonian region of Spain.
The glass-walled, 55-seat contemporary restaurant is the culinary baby of the Roca Brothers: Joan the chef, Josep the sommelier, and Jordi the pastry chef. This holy trinity of Spanish cuisine started El Celler de Can Roca in 1986 with the goal of creating a space that was dedicated to the avant-garde, while still being faithful to their familial traditions and memories. Their credo is apparent in every aspect of the menu the brothers constructed over the past thirty years, including one of Jordi’s most famous creations, the Milk Dessert.
First conceived in 2006, the dish features a sheep’s milk ice cream sitting upon a pool of milk caramel, topped with a sheep’s milk curd-cheese foam, a sheep’s milk yogurt, and your ordinary, run-of-the-mill “milk cloud” for good measure. Now, I have absolutely no idea what a milk cloud is, but the popularity of the dish shows that most customers are unfazed by the strange explanation. When the dish was first created, the the restaurant envisioned a dining experience that would impact patrons’ moods through food. Jordi’s Milk Dessert is no exception, with the mere explanation of the dish causing my mouth to water while boosting my BPM to a dangerously high rate.
However, don’t book your plane ticket just yet, as the Roca brothers’ restaurant is completely booked way into the foreseeable future (I’m talking August 2017 here, people). Luckily, there is another way you can taste some of Jordi’s delectable creations without having to wait for an open reservation: The young pastry chef also owns Rocambolesc Gelateria, a whimsical ice cream shop described on its website as a place meant to “be a window to the cuisine of El Celler de Can Roca, to invite the public at large to come taste ‘what’s cooking’ in the restaurant; this is a place to experience the sweet sensations of El Celler.” There you can even buy a take-home kit full of the very same ingredients used to make Jordi’s Milk Dessert, although there’s no guarantee that your milk cloud will come out as fluffy as Jordi’s. That, my friends, takes practice.
Feature Photo Credit: El Celler de Can Roca