It seems that every week we visit another gelateria. I am in no way complaining. I love a good gelato and I love being introduced to a new den of sin – food sin of course. This weekend Moo and I were lucky enough to see our lovely friends Chi and Alex and their adorable baby Isla. These guys know Covent Garden like the back of their hands and they took us to one of their favourite gelaterias – La Gelatiera.
The shop is lovely and quaint and almost feels like a shack on a beach. The walls are clad with pale blue grey painted wood panels, the floor has dark wood stained panels and the furniture is made of rustic pieces of wood that are a lot sturdier than they look. The best feature of the décor is a glass pane on the floor looking down into the kitchen where all the ice cream, biscuits and other goodies are made. It adds a lovely rustic, home made feel to it and it’s great that you know that everything is made in house and fresh.
The staff were fairly welcoming but a little stiff but they still offered us tasters of the unusual flavours and didn’t mind that between us we basically tried everything so there really isn’t any room for complaints.
We arrived at the shop at around 2pm and as you can see from the picture, several palettes were completely empty and even more were almost finished – it’s a popular place.
Some of the flavours are pretty standard: salty caramel, ameretti, pistachio etc but there were some really unusual flavours such as balsamic vinegar, liquorice and a really spicy chocolate and chilli sorbet. This isn’t unusual for them from what I can understand as they have made blue cheese and walnuts, saffron, roses and pistachio and even Japanese roasted tea in the past. With that in mind, it’s a great place to visit if you want to try something a little bit different.
I tried the balsamic vinegar, liquorice and chocolate and chilli sorbet. The balsamic vinegar was a little disappointing purely because it was very sweet and the vinegar tang was very mild. For some it would be a great introduction to this sort of flavour in a dessert as it isn’t in your face. The same kind of goes for the liquorice. I don’t particularly like liquorice and their interpretation was very mellow and just gave you a lingering after taste of aniseed but was otherwise very sweet. For those who love liquorice this may not have been strong enough for you but for someone like me it’s perfect. The chocolate and chilli sorbet was extremely flavourful, almost too much. It tasted like a block of 80% chocolate and the chilli was very hot. It would be pleasant as a taster but I definitely couldn’t have a whole scoop.
In the end I opted for the salty caramel in a cup. It was far subtler than most salted caramels I’ve had in the past but it was still sweet, savoury and creamy. The texture of the gelato (like all the other flavours I tasted) is extremely smooth, creamy and rich. You can taste the quality of the ingredients and the work that’s been put into it. There’s no crystallisation like you get with so many rushed gelatos and it melts really slowly. I really enjoyed it but the flavour was just a little bit lacking for me.
Moo got the Apple Crumble and he didn’t like it, actually I think his words were “I didn’t like any of it at all”. I tried a little bit of his gelato and the apple was very tart, it had chunks of crumble in it and it wasn’t overly sweet. The quality and texture was still amazing and I personally thought it was good.
It’s a tiny bit more expensive than some of the other places we’ve had gelato recently and compared to Gelato Mio the portions are smaller. But when you consider that it’s in the heart of Covent Garden and that they had almost sold out of most of the gelato by 2pm on a winter’s Sunday, you can understand why they’ve inflated the prices slightly.
They do offer biscuits and cakes and even good quality hot drinks so if gelato isn’t your thing there’s plenty to choose from – and it all looked delicious.
Overall I enjoyed it. I certainly appreciated the work that had gone into making a good quality gelato but I was disappointed with the slight lack in flavour. I would return to try some of their wackier flavours and their Japanese pan cake but not for any of the flavours I tried. And it’s low fat (according to their website).