Kariokes, The Traditional Chocolate Cake That Landed A World Record For Greece

Xanthi, a city in northern Greece, is home to confectioners responsible for assembling the world's largest karioka cake, as certified by Guinness World Records. The successful 2016 culinary feat was held in a sports center, and after the title was established, attendees were able to sample a piece of the massive chocolatey sensation. Also known as carioca, kariokes are most commonly found in flattened, portable sizes that can be enjoyed on the go. With this dessert being so rich in texture and flavor, it's no wonder that Greeks decided more is more. The winning chocolate monstrosity weighed in at close to 845 pounds and required 24 sets of hands to put together. Despite its demanding size, the Greek bakers took a traditional approach to creating the behemoth.

Originally made to repurpose holiday cookies and cakes, kariokes are crescent-shaped chocolates made of texturally satisfying bites of walnuts and crunchy biscuit crumbs. While Xanthi is known for its sweets and patisseries, kariokes have become a regional specialty. The decadent recipe was first created by local baker Giorgio Papaparaskeva in 1926. Papaparaskeva's bakery has been making the same chocolate since the 1940s, and landing a job at the bakery has become something of a badge of honor.

A clear winner, regardless of size

Even if you can't make it to Greece to sample this chocolate delight firsthand at one of the many patisseries, it is possible to try your hand at making kariokes at home. Though you may not set out to claim any gastronomic titles, the classic recipe can serve you well if you enjoy mouthfuls of chewy chocolate. Instructions for Greek cariocas call for fine-quality chocolate melted with butter and flavored with vanilla, sweetened condensed milk, and cinnamon. Walnuts and biscuit crumbs are included in the mix, and bakers often add cognac, cocoa powder, and honey to taste. For those who prefer easy cleanup, the recipe can be made in one pot and doesn't require an oven to bake.

The texture of kariokes can vary from soft, chewy mini cakes to crunchier morsels to savor. The ratio of nuts and biscuits added to the mixture can be adjusted depending on a baker's preference. After the nutty chocolate mixture is rolled and flattened in between plastic wrap, the mound is left to chill and harden in the freezer. Once it is solid enough to slice, individual hunks are dipped into melted couverture, a smooth specialty chocolate that contains cocoa butter. For a presentation that could be straight out of a Thracian sweet shop, you can wrap pieces in aluminum foil for easier transport and enjoy. Regardless of whether or not a record has been recorded, biting into one of these chocolate treats feels like a win.