The Roca Brothers Are Opening a Chocolate Hotel in Girona This Fall
The Roca Brothers are three of the most revered chefs on the planet. Joan, Jordi, and Josep Roca, who were featured on an episode of Chef's Table in 2018, have led their Girona restaurant El Celler de Can Roca to international greatness, making it a longtime fixture on the World's 50 Best Restaurant list and a two-time Best Restaurant in the World in Restaurant magazine. While the brothers—Josep, the sommelier; Jordi, the pastry chef; and Joan, the chef—have been cautious about expansion, with just four locations of their ice cream shop Rocambolesc and no other restaurant concepts outside of El Celler, they have an exciting new venture in the works. In a recent group interview at their restaurant, the brothers offered details on the part-hotel, part-chocolate factory concept they are planning on opening this November.
The 15-room hotel, located inside a renovated historic building in Girona, will feature chocolate very prominently. In fact, there will be a chocolate factory attached to it, and spaces where guests and visitors can buy and taste chocolate on the first floor. Jordi Roca's hope is that the hotel will smell like chocolate, which sounds pretty magical. There's no restaurant planned for the hotel, but there will be breakfast and, of course, really good chocolate. (Another perk of staying there will be close proximity to El Celler de Can Roca.)
"In this project, chocolate has adopted a very prominent role," said Jordi, via a translator. "We rediscovered the manufacturing process of chocolate. I’ve been able to travel to very remote places where very specific varieties of cocoa are grown and harvested, for example the Peruvian Amazonian or the Colombian jungle. We’ve been in contact with ancient tribes who have been growing and harvesting cocoa for hundreds of years. We’ve been identifying the genetic qualities of these cocoa fruits; we’ve picked the best ones; we’ve experimented with the fermentation times; and we’ve picked six different varieties, and in each product we’re going to specify the region that the cocoa comes from, the year its been harvested, and so on. So every time we produce a batch of chocolate, it’s going to be different from the next one."
The brothers first announced plans to open the Girona chocolate factory in 2017. While Jordi, as pastry chef, has taken the lead on this project, the brothers are always working in tandem.
"We’ve expanded very naturally, always wanting to make our individual dreams come true," said Joan. "Family is kind of the umbrella that makes all of this come together. We’ve been working under the same roof as our families, and family is the element that articulates all of our projects."