The humble and sweet Owner and Baker, Mari Angeles Rubio, was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Ever since she was eight years old she had a dream of becoming a chef. At 19 she moved to Miami to study culinary arts and food service management with a concentration in event planning. Following that, she moved to southern Italy to work at a hotel for six months. She then graduated from JWU. Still unsure of what she wanted to do, she went back home for the holidays and baked up a pecan pie. It was such a hit she started to sell them to her friends and family. When she moved back to Miami and couldn’t find a job in event planning she decided to try her luck selling her famous pecan pie. Lucky for us, they were a hit here too. In 2013 Mari opened Casa Gioia (which translates to “house of joy”) and began her business selling from her home. She started small, selling only three types of mini pies, pecan, lemon and coconut macadamia. One year later she needed to relocate to an industrial kitchen, and two years later to a second commercial kitchen in Doral. At a ripe old age of only 26, Mari has cooked for CNN reporters during the Republican debate in Miami and for the Roca Brothers and their staff from El Celler Con Roca when they visited Miami last year (they run the #2 restaurant in the world!).
The goods are truly artisanal and unique. Her signature items are her bites. They are small squares of buttery shortbread crust filled with the likes of coconut and macadamia nuts, chocolate and dulce de leche, pecan, guava, and lemon meringue, my personal favourite orange brûlée, as well as others. A box of 6 bites is $12, or a box of 12 for $24. You can even order a 9-inch tart in one of these flavours. The presentation of the bites come in a beautifully prepared gift box. The bites are small but so satisfying, a perfect couple of bites – rich in variety, flavours and presentation. Mari also does a great cookie collection. The top honors go to the chocolate chip Nutella, topped with a sprinkle of sea salt. Just heat them up in the microwave for ten seconds and voila, pure heaven. A close second is a tie for the cookies and cream shortbread and the rosemary and pecan shortbread. Casa Gioia also turns out various flavours of bundt cakes, I loved the banana cake with a cinnamon glaze. They also do brownies, bars, and a seasonal collection.
Each of these high-quality desserts deliver a broad depth in flavours – they are sure to impress.
Don’t despair with the Doral location, they deliver!! For $15 you can enjoy these dynamic desserts. They also make beautiful hostess gifts. Or Mari can bake for a party or wedding. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire.
She has become a local treasure for us “sharing joy one bite at a time” – you will become hooked.