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The Great Gelato Tour May 18, 2008

Posted by cbuchanan in Uncategorized.
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I love to travel, and I love ice cream (or most anything sweet, really), so it’s no surprise that I eat copious amounts of gelato when I’m in Italy and Spain. But what about our Magic City’s gelato offerings? How do they stack up?

Yes, we actually do have gelato in Birmingham. I’ve identified about seven places in town that claim to have the sweet treat. (Gelato generally has less air whipped into it than ice cream, and it’s more dense and melts faster. The ingredients and process of making gelato are slightly different as well–resulting in fresher, more powerful flavors.) This summer I plan to visit all of them to see just how good it gets here.

Gelato stop #1 was Angels Cake & Confections in Crestline. Once I unglued my eyes from the amazing array of chocolates and cakes in that little shop, I found a nice selection of gelato flavors–about 12 to 15, with plenty of fruit gelatos (which I tend to prefer) and a couple of flavors you just don’t see at every ice cream shop. The people there happily let me and my friends sample several flavors, and they told me that they use several pounds of fruit to make their fruit gelatos, and the base ingredients for the other flavors come straight from Italy. I tried the honeydew melon and coconut flavors together (in Europe, you always get two scoops–that way you can try two flavors), and they were spectacular. The honeydew was a great fruit gelato, with a vibrant, fresh, summer-perfect flavor. The coconut was quite a treat as well–very rich and creamy. My friend’s lemon gelato tasted just like the kind I’ve had in Italy. I can’t wait to go back to Angels to try the other flavors, especially the mint and the vanilla caramel. I’ve also heard that at certain times of year they’ll have mango and blackberry flavors. I think my brain just melted at the delectable thought of blackberry gelato.

By the way, Angels also makes a stunning caramel cupcake. I couldn’t resist buying one to take home on my way out the door. They’re located across from Surin on Church Street in Crestline, and they’re open till 8:00 on Thursday through Saturday nights.

In case you’re wondering, here are the gelato spots I’ve found/heard of so far: Angels Cake & Confections, Soho Sweets, Crave Chocolatier, Rocky’s Pizza (seriously), Iz Too, Whole Foods, and Culinard’s bakery at the Innovation Depot. Let me know if you know of any others!

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