After a full blown kitchen remodel -- I'm prepping a full follow-up post coming soon... I swear it! Just a few more small finishing touches. -- Mr. S and I needed a seriously sweet reward. We winded through the charming pathways, behind the bustle of the 50th and France intersection, to the new addition to our neighborhood, Pandolfi, for a cone of creamy too-rich gelato. We made it just before closing time and tortured the worker behind the counter by tasting every flavor offered. She was so gracious and happy to comply. No matter your selection you can't go wrong, no matter your flavor choice.
The owner did go astray with the decor and confusing merchandising. The store includes a surprising array of cheaply made (not priced) little trinkets and bulk candy. If it were my store I'd focus on the gelato. Bulk candy isn't a bad idea either but the rest is just too distracting and a little unsophisticated for the central product offering (gelato, remember) and the location. I digress...
So, what's the big deal? Ice cream is delicious, custard is a creamy wonderful delight and there are any multitude of permutated concoctions that fall somewhere in between. Why gelato? Gelato sings to me. The colors, out-of-the-ordinary flavors and the eloquent little spoon they give you (begging the eater to slow down and savor) with which you scoop up the fluffy cloud of goodness, take a standard confectionery experience to the next level. There's something else I find fun about gelato. It feels far more classy than any of the 31 flavors or candy bar laden Blizzards. By partaking you're indulging in what feels like a classically Italian tête-à-tête with your dessert.
And then there's the mouth feel of gelato. What makes it so smooth. For those of you who are scientifically inclined here's are the differences between all these sweet treats courtesy of the folks at the TLC network:
Ice cream -- By United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards, a food labeled "ice cream" should have at least 20 percent milk solids and 10 percent milk fat by weight. Premium brands are fattier, typically 14 to 18 percent. Both milk and cream are used. Sweeteners account for another 15 percent or so.
Frozen custard -- A touch of egg yolk is what distinguishes frozen custard from commercial ice cream. Legally, custard only has to contain 1.4 percent egg yolk by weight, but some brands have more. The lecithin in the yolk is a natural emulsifier, imparting a richer, creamier texture.
Gelato -- Gelato hails from Italy, and its name is simply the Italian word for "frozen." Gelato traditionally is made using mostly or entirely milk. Having little or no cream reduces fat while intensifying flavors. Gelato's melt-in-the-mouth creaminess comes from sheer density: It's churned with relatively little added air.
Frozen yogurt -- Frozen yogurt blends yogurt (milk fermented with yogurt cultures) with an ice cream base of milk, cream and sweetener. The resulting dessert is both sweet and tangy, cold and creamy. If made with live cultures, frozen yogurt promotes digestive health by encouraging the growth of "friendly" bacteria in the intestinal tract.
I recommend you finish off this perfect Minnesota Summer afternoon with a cone of your favorite flavor.
Grade: B+ for delicious gelato but distracting ambiance.