Inside a commercial kitchen in Kendall, Mari Rubio bakes dozens of confections, such as Nutella-infused cookies and guava cake, to deliver across Miami-Dade County. Rubio, who is behind the local dessert business Casa Gioia, dreams of opening a storefront, but she is concentrating on growing her delivery service first.
This Friday, July 7, and Saturday, July 8, Rubio will pop up at Small Tea with a batch of her best-selling desserts in hopes of increasing her visibility among locals. Find her there from 4 to 7 p.m.
"It's a great way to try to introduce myself into different markets," she says. "Through this, I am going to be able to give people a different angle on what I'm capable of."
Rubio's pastry company, whose name is Italian for "house of joy," specializes in a hodgepodge of treats, from pies, cookies, and cakes to guava crisp squares and dough rolls stuffed with ingredients such as pumpkin jelly or chocolate mousse and chocolate hazelnut brittle. The desserts exude a mom-and-pop feel, made with fresh and homemade ingredients — including jellies, creams, and sauces — and no preservatives.
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At Casa Gioia's Small Tea pop-up in Coral Gables, enjoy three desserts each day. Sweets that will appear this weekend include personal pies in flavors such as lemon-lime meringue and passionfruit thyme, along with Rubio's signature Ferrero Rocher chocolate roll.
Much of Rubio's business comes from personal orders — both small-batch requests and large-scale catering events — which can be made by email, phone, or on her website, so she hopes her pop-up inside Small Tea will lead to collaborations at other Miami restaurants and cafés.
"The goal is to see how it goes," she says, "and hopefully for it to turn out well. I do a lot of online ordering, but this would expose me in a different way."
For more information and updates, visit Casa Gioia's Facebook.