By Malu Lambert
What could be sweeter than sharing gelato? Perhaps keeping it for yourself. Then again, by sharing you get to try more flavours.
So, I took my sweetie along to Italian owned Anytime Trattoria in Long Street, Cape Town. The interior is slick, chic and white with a pervasive scent of Parmesan.
Paolo Tornabene, business partner, restaurant manager and pizza-maker is happy to show us around the gelato ‘laboratory’ upstairs. I expect to see men in white coats injecting mice with hazelnut ice cream. But no, it’s not that kind of lab.
Paolo stands next to his ice cream machine proudly, like it’s a Ferrari. “It’s almost as expensive,” he says winking. “Anybody can make ice cream, but to make really good gelato, you need not only the best equipment, but the finest ingredients.
“Some people complain that our ice cream is expensive,” he says. “But you get what you pay for. You know in Italy we’ve never heard of Gino Ginelli. He doesn’t exist.”
Time to taste. First up is the Italian classic stracciatella. Gloriously creamy and smooth vanilla based gelato that has hot chocolate poured into it while it’s churning. The chocolate flakes crack deliciously when bitten into.
Next is the hazelnut. “People love this flavour,” says Paolo. “We import the hazelnuts from Italy.”
The roasted nutty taste is sublime. And just for fun, we also try the banana flavour. The flavours work in their utter simplicity. Paolo agrees, he thinks that complicated flavouring is often used to disguise inferior ingredients.
“To Italian people, gelato is more than dessert,” he says. “During the summer some people buy half a kilo of gelato and eat it for supper. In fact, it’s a pretty good diet. Try eating ice cream for supper for a month and you’ll see how much weight you lose.”
It’s nearly suppertime. So I take Paulo’s advice and head to an old Sea Point institution—Venezia Italian ice cream parlour. I soon find myself between its lime green walls. This time I must try the chocolate.
I stroll out into the street with deep ebony goo mounted on a sugar cone. And yes, it’s very good. The Venezia experience is retro-beach with sticky fingers. The perfect suppertime (and summertime) treat.