La Gelatiera, Covent Garden, London
I associate sorbet with fruit flavours, cool and refreshing and ideal for a sunny afternoon or as a light and refreshing course in a multi-course meal. Chocolate is one flavour I did not associate with sorbet… until that is I discovered La Gelateria.
La Gelateria is not, as one would assume, in Florence, Rome or Naples but in Covent Garden, London. Blink and you could miss it as you walk down New Row, a lane that is fast becoming a centre for foodies wanting a quick bite. The tiny outlet is all bare wood and pastel shades. Into the space they have squeezed two tables with chairs, a serving counter and of course the display freezer. All the gelato is made on the premises and you begin to wonder where until you notice a large hole in the floor covered with plate glass where you can watch the goings on in the kitchen below your feet.
They love to experiment with flavours and use only the finest ingredients, often sourced from the Italian regions. Blue cheese and walnut is one of the more unusual combinations and I was surprised how well it worked as a gelato. Also available are some of the more standard flavours such as coffee, lemon and pistachio. Of the more unusual there are black sesame, sea-salted caramel and the previously mentioned chocolate sorbet.
One lick of the chocolate sorbet and I knew I had made the right choice. Using dark bitter chocolate from Ecuador it is not “diluted” by cream and milk but has an intensity I have not experienced before in any gelato here or in Italy. The full rich taste of the chocolate slowly invades the palate with the complex flavours of Ecuadorian cocoa and lingers long after the product has melted away in the mouth. This sorbet so smooth it is like melted chocolate but without the heat.
This is a place to return to more than once.
Where to find them: La Gelatiera at 27 New Row, Covent Garden WC2N 4LA. Nearest Tube: Leicester Square or Charing Cross