Saturday, August 16, 2008

Gelato Grotto, Palm Beach Gardens

If I gain a pound or two this week, I have only myself and the Food Network to blame. I stayed up last night watching that big galoot Guy Fieri on his show, 'Diners, Drive in's & Dives'. I don't particularly like the man either with his banal, contrived catchphrases, 'off the hook', 'that's money' or the latest 'out of bounds'. Look buddy, you're not Jamie Oliver and you never will be so get another gimmick already. Anyhow I put that particular irk of mine aside as last night he drove into an amazing gelato place so off I drifted to sleep dreaming of the stuff and today I had to be indulged in one of my favorite, if occasional, treats.

Gelato Grotto is simply the best 'ice cream' around here and believe me after two babies who had me craving nothing but ice cream for 2 months solid I am something of an expert. Carvel (can't beat the soft serve), ColdStone Creamery (fantastic cheesecake flavor with a frozen strawberry mix in) were all consumed in vast quantity with delight BUT at Santa's Grotto I could eat ANYTHING and be happy. It is all exemplary, made and presented with professionalism, care, cleanliness and - dare I say - love. It shows. The menu trumpets the fact that gelato is lower in calories than ice cream and that may be so but you'd never know to taste it. Its as creamy and soft as it is flavorful. Every flavor (and I've done some serious tasting!) is a completely intense representation of the ingredients contained therein. The hazelnut is a pure, nutty rich cream; the pistachio is delicate and fragrant and the strawberry is like a mouthful of creamy smooth fruit.

It's not the cheapest ice cream in town. The prices start at around the $4 mark for a single scoop but the quality is evident in every satisfying lick. I've had cassata in Rome and stracciatella in Napoli and I can tell you that this is as good as any gelato you'll find in Italy or anywhere else. If you want quality over quantity and this is no bad mantra, this place is for you. (and me!)

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