I still dream of Italian gelato on the regular. I have zero regrets for eating up to three a day while on vacation last year. In fact, I regret not having eaten more of it. Since then, gelato has been notably absent from my life. Sure, on the odd occasion, I’ll buy a store-bought brand but, let’s be honest, there’s rarely a discernible difference between store-bought gelato and ice cream. In my heart, I long to find the perfect gelato a little bit closer to home.
This weekend I tasted some damn good gelato, which got me wondering if I am missing out on all sorts of hidden gelato gems in and around this city. And so, I’ve decided that I will boldly dedicate my summer to finding great gelato here, in and around Vancouver. Okay, I’m not actually going to devote my entire summer. My waistline certainly doesn’t need that, plus I’ll eventually be working again. It’s more like if I see a gelato place, I am going to try it. That’s half-assed dedication at its best! Along the way, I will document the good, the bad and the ugly.
Today I’ll start with the best find I’ve found so far. Granted, I’ve eaten minimal gelato so far in the city. I used to live by Mario’s Gelati so I went there on occasion. Despite what many others think about it, I don’t like their gelato (gasp!). I find its texture to be quite grainy with ice crystals when what I want is silky creaminess. I blame mass production. I’ve also gone to the locally famed La Casa Gelato, which now boasts 238 flavours. I haven’t been in at least a decade, at which time they had a paltry 120 flavours I think, but I remember not being blown away and thinking their fame had more to do with quantity and gimmicky flavours (wasabi gelato? really?) than quality. But there are so many more places to taste. And taste I shall.
As I mentioned, this weekend I found some brilliant gelato. It had all the hallmarks I personally look for: intensely creamy, boldly flavoured, interesting flavour selection, and made on the premises.
It looked better before I ate half of it and before it started to melt in the sun. What you can gather from this picture is that I lack the self control to wait even 30 seconds before starting to devour gelato. Truth.
Where: Dolce Gelato, White Rock
What I Had: A firm believer in never having just one flavour, I opted for Foresta Nera (vanilla with chocolate, nuts and booze-soaked cherries) and Meringa (heavenly meringue gelato, with massive meringue shards and chocolate).
What stood out: Oh my god, I could have eaten those meringue pieces forever. I have no idea how they stay crisp in a sea of dairy, but they do and it is wonderful. The cherries in the foresta nera were heavenly as well, incredibly flavourful. I shouldn’t have to say things like ‘they tasted like real cherries’, but most cherries in ice cream bear little resemblance to real fruit so I will explicitly proclaim that these tasted like legit cherries!!!! I had a hard time selecting flavours here as there were so many that looked unique and delicious. In particular, I’m sad that I didn’t get to try the Casatta (candied orange peel, nuts, chocolate and orange liqueur) because it looked amazing and like something I would have seen in Italy. I opted against it because candied orange usually isn’t my jam, but in hindsight I think I may have missed out on something different and delightful. In other words, I will return and I will devour more flavours.
Until next time, here’s hoping you find a place to get your gelato on.*
*and if you know of a place in my general ‘hood, please send me recommendations!