Side Dish
Philadelphia Weekly - May 5th, 2004
Pssst... hey, gelato. Remember me? I'm the girl who had that three-month affair with you in Rome all those years ago - and ended up smuggling an extra 12 pounds of your allegedly low-fat goodness back to American on her inner thighs. There was no one quite like you Stateside - they called themselves gelato, but none could quite replicate your dense creaminess or your intense flavors or seductive Italian pull. That is, until you moved into Capogiro at the corner of 13th and Sansom with your cousin, sorbetto. Damn you, wanton Italians!

Although you don't come cheap, you're worth the lire (well, the euro) in every glorious lick. What makes you so different from ice cream, your American counterpart? Made with milk, sugar and a small amount of cream, you're spun more slowly than ice cream to allow for less air, which creates a luxurious, highly concentrated flavor and a velvety smooth texture - and, surprisingly, fewer calories and less fat (this bonus, I quickly discovered, is negated when you inhale large quantities of gelato after every meal for an entire summer).

At Capogiro you appear in a variety of flavors no ice cream would dare approach. How about prune armagnac, full of prunes swollen with fine French brandy? Or Mexican chocolate, powerfully flavored with canella (pungent Mexican cinnamon), bitter almonds and dried ancho chilies that make the back of the throat tingle. The La Colombe cappuccino is as frothily delicious as its namesake. Blood orange sorbetto tastes as though it were just picked from a tree, while cactus pear sorbetto, a shockingly pink confection, somehow manages to replicate the exact taste sensation of eating a cactus pear, minus the gritty seeds. Flavors change almost daily, depending on what's seasonally appropriate. That's just like you, gelato, you fickle Casanova, to love me and leave me wanting more. Then again, I always have my thighs to remember you by.

- Kirsten Henri