17 April 2012

Italian Ices, Gelati and Cycling

I have long felt that Italian Ices are the perfect refreshment for a bike ride on a summer day.  As we've had summer-like weather here in NYC (even warmer than Florida!)since the end of last week, I've been slurping them down. 

I usually go with one of the classic flavors--lemon or cherry--especially when I stop at the Lemon Ice King of Corona, which has made my favorite Italian ices for as long as I can remember. (Hey, I knew about LIKC before The King of Queens "discovered" it!)

LIKC is what some would call "old school":  While they offer ices in a dizzying array of flavors, including watermelon, bubble gum and spumoni, they don't do gelatos or sorbets.  They make all of their ices themselves, and their fruit flavors actually have bits of fruit and are flavored with the fruits, or the juices from them.  

On the other hand, I've found another place that makes wonderful "traditional" Italian ices, as well as the creamy ones-- and gelati and frozen yogurt-- a bit off my commute route:

Pesso's is located in Bayside, in a quiet residential neighborhood.  The owners are very friendly and obliging, and they--like LIKC--will let you sample any flavor.  In fact, at Pesso's, if you ask for their newest flavor, they will insist on your sampling it "just to be sure you like it."

Today I sampled--and ordered--the most unusual gelato flavor I'd ever heard of:  olive oil. Yes, you read that right:  olive oil gelato.  

I didn't know what to expect, but I can still say that it's not anything I could or would have expected.  It had a lighter, creamier taste--more like a really good vanilla or cane syrup ice cream.  I didn't taste the olive oil when it was in my mouth.  However, a few minutes after I finished a small cup of it, I could taste the olive oil, ever so slightly.  And, it left that smooth but not slimy after-texture a really good virgin olive oil leaves in the back of your mouth.

I would definitely order it again.  The only thing about it, though, is that I wouldn't mix it with other flavors, as I would with, say, a fruit ice and chocolate or vanilla sorbet. About the only things I can image combining with the olive oil gelato are nuts, specifically almonds, pistachios or walnuts.  

Now, I rather doubt that olive oil gelato will be on the training table of the Italian national cycling team any time soon.  But I would welcome it at the end of a long, hot ride.  


  1. Olive oil is certainly an unusual flavor.

  2. Steve: It is. And that's exactly the reason I asked for it: I'm an adventurous eater. Fortunately for me, I liked it.

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