I'm a certified FREAK for frozen desserts. For over two decades, I kept a notebook with notes on every ice cream, sorbet, and gelato place I visited, as long as they served their own stuff. When I stopped doing that, I had almost 300 listings. So, I have a little history with the frozen goods.
I went into Gelarto on Bainbridge because my granddaughters wanted some. I knew nothing about the place at all. I got the girls and my wife theirs and saw a flavor called Caramel & Figs. Sounded good. I got a medium cup.
The first shocker was that these four bowls of gelato racked up a bill for TWENTY-SEVEN dollars, by a MILE the most I've ever paid for a frozen dessert. Then I tasted the stuff...
This was - also by a mile or MANY miles - the single nastiest, most poorly-made, bland, unimaginative bowl of ANYTHING that I have ever put into my face. Nothing else even comes close. In making ice cream, which I have now done for about forty years, stabilizers are often used to give the finished product a creaminess that it may not otherwise have. I don't know if the Ballard company that makes Gelarto's products, D'ambrosia Gelato, uses Xanthan gum, guar gum, carrageenan, or another natural stabilizer or whether it's just insanely badly made. What I do know is that this stuff coated the inside of my mouth with what felt very much like industrial adhesive. I was literally struggling to get my lips unstuck from my teeth. After we left, I used an entire bottle of water to get the residue of it mostly (not completely. That took over two hours) out of my mouth. Since the stuff stayed on my palate like that, it developed a horrid aftertaste that got worse and worse as it lingered. I eventually tried scouring my mouth with a sparkling soda but the residue even resisted that.
Here's the really sad part: Gelarto sits less than 400 feet from one of the best ice cream shops I have ever found in an entire lifetime of Frozen Dessert Obsession, the sublime Mora Iced Creamery. If we had just gone there, we'd have gotten truly heavenly ice cream, a far better range of flavors, better service, and would have paid - and this is not an estimate; I checked on it - $7.18 less.
I urge anybody who's thinking of visiting this ridiculous place to ask for a taste before you sign the loan papers to buy your party's gelato. It won't take more than a bite. In fairness, I don't know if all the flavors they sell are this bad but the four I tasted all showed the same problem and tasted very flat and dull. Bad gelato, bad service, BAD value
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