I visited Choc o’ Rock one Thursday evening, a rainy moody day when my sweet tooth was desperately searching for a remedy.Rena was sitting behind her wooden desk listening to Chopin Nocturnes and wandering out of the window. She smiled widely and welcomed me inside her own, very personal hideaway.
A sweet girl that used to work and travel a lot, as a production manager for festivals and concerts, decided to set up her own business, her pastry lab in order to “retire” from the “excessive contact with the world” and be able to rule a tiny kingdom of pastries, chocolate and happiness.
The place feels and smells like home, the oven bakes and frames on the wall with pictures of her newlywed grandparents, years ago and of her favorite Frida Kahlo on the other side, nod that everyone is pleased with Rena’s decision to go a step further. It was a goal that couldn’t have been accomplished without the aid and the support of friends and a dream that wouldn’t have come true if Rena wasn’t such a great advocate of a self-managed economy by which someone could effectively direct his own activities and feel truly satisfied with his personal achievements.
She serves me a generous piece of banana chocolate cake on a vintage plate, and a hot cup of green tea and we sit outside at her Berlin inspired table bench. She wanted her shop to have it’s spot on the pavement where customers, friends and family could rest, enjoy one of her treats, have a cigarette or a little chitchat like people in Berlin, her favourite city, do.
Behind the door a Japanese girl on a poster smiles us gently, a face that Rena salutes daily and reminds her the times when she was travelling the world with bands and “custodies”. Now the trips are less but she keeps her wandering spirit alive when preparing sweets and trying recipes from various countries around the globe.
We enter Rena’s lab and continue our conversation over a bowl filled with her secret mixture for fleur de sel, dark chocolate cookies. I become the sorcerer’s apprentice for a while and help her roll the dough in round shapes. She affectionately puts the first baking sheet in the oven and we wait impatiently for the result.
My visit turns into a tasty journey when she insists to try one of her favourite treats, the so called “alfajores”. A creamy Dulce de Leche holds two soft shortbread cookies together in a combination that “explodes” in your mouth. It’s a recipe from Argentina she explains, that has it’s origins in the Arabic world and has also become popular in Spain, Peru and in the countries of Latin America.
In the world of Choc o’ Rock you always get the right portion of sugar and an exaggeration of deliciousness. It’s a world where chocolate sings the hits, the flour plays the bass, the butter beats the drums and Rena, with a previous experience, manages and tours her own band that rocks a pastry bowl and its rumor travels from palate to palate.
Choc O’ Rock / The Pastry Lab: 105 Voutsina Street , Cholargos
tel: 211 012 25 12
find Choc O’ Rock on Facebook here
(photography and words by Gertrude, post created especially for teapot.gr)