Gelato Update

As I wrote back in July, I have long been on the search for fabulous gelato. So I was thrilled when, on two recent trips, I discovered some incredible versions of this artisanal delight.

Dolcezza

Tanya (of Veggie Love) dragged me into this Argentine gelateria, kicking and screaming. “I won’t have delicious things, I won’t I won’t!” Ok, total lie: It doesn’t take much to convince me to try gelato; simply pointing out the shop is usually all it takes. But once inside, I acted somewhat unusually. Rather than veering towards my usual choices of hazelnut or pistachio, I pointed at something else. “I’ll try the honey avocado,” I ventured bravely. Avocado?? Ice cream!?

Well don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it, folks. That stuff was incredible. I’m an avocado lover generally, and Dolcezza’s gelato brought out the creamy avocado flavor amazingly, well complemented by the honey. It was neither overpowering nor overly sweet. We meant to bring some for our friends working down the street, but by the time we left, the gelato had sent us into such rapture we barely knew our own names…

♥♥♥♥♥ out of 5, for inducing amnesiac effects

Cones

While walking in the East Village of New York City with friends, I spotted a gelato shop on the corner of Bleeker and Grove street, called Grom. We were looking at the mouth-watering menu (caramel with Himalayan pink salt) when a man walked over and stuck his head into our huddle. “You want good gelato?” he asked in a thick New Yorker accent. Not waiting for an answer, he started pointing around the corner, saying, “the best stuff is right up this street, at Cones, right next to John’s pizza. They make it all by hand.”

Now I don’t know about you, but when complete strangers stop me on the street to tell me to go eat somewhere, I go there. Especially when they’re locals. So I dragged my group a block and a half up the street to Cones. Run by a charismatic and chipper Argentinian, the gelato is absolutely out of this world. The hazelnut, in particular, made me weak in the knees. The coconut, sitting in a cup next to a scoop of dark chocolate, made me moan.

♥♥♥♥♥ out of 5. Perfect date spot—the food itself is an aphrodisiac!

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There is a spoon. And it is bent.

Sweet basil and goat cheese with strawberry creme fraiche (Photo by SeriousEats)

Once, when I was on a group trip to Italy, my friends and I decided to undertake a small experiment: Which town had the best gelato? After seriously investigating, sampling, licking, tasting, analyzing, discussing, and evaluating gelati from Firenze (Florence) to Venizia (Venice), we found the most heavenly scoops in the small city of Ravenna. It tasted so good we had trouble walking.

Back home in the US of A, we doubted being able to find those same fresh, creamy flavors. But our home town of Princeton, NJ surprised us. Though it had multiple thriving local ice cream stores already (see Thomas Sweets and Halo Pub), a new one opened: The Bent Spoon, which serves its fare out of Euro-style shallow tubs.

While it would be an appropriate (and catchy) name for a regular ice cream store, The Bent Spoon’s name is actually ironic— rather than the hard, packed ice cream available at other stores in town, theirs is soft, slatherable gelato. Their flavors are equally unexpected— strawberry ice cream with fresh berries in it, chocolate that melts you into ecstasy, and a vanilla so good that Bon Appetit calls it “standout.” They have more unusual flavors as well— including a vanilla with fleur de sel caramel that is unexpectedly addictive.

The icing on the, er, cone, is that The Bent Spoon strives to use as many locally grown and organic products as possible. No wonder it tastes so good; it’s full of sustainability!

At $3 for a small, the pricing isn’t cheap, but hey—it’s cheaper than a gallon of gas, and so much better for the community. Not to mention your taste buds.