Bella Gelateria -
There’s nothing like several straight days of warm, sunny weather to remind me how cool and wet the previous 6 months were. When people told me before I moved here that it would be raining for more than half the year, I thought they were exaggerating. They weren’t. Though I did get used to it after a while. Being the optimist that I am, I tried to find the silver lining in the constant rain clouds. At least it wasn’t as cold as the east coast; at least there weren’t any regular snow storms; and at least my daughter wouldn’t be so tanned by the relentless sunshine that she was constantly being asked if she was a surfer.
But once I was reminded of how nice a sunny day with temperatures in the low twenties was, I realized that my optimism was really a bunch of crap. Who would want rain if they could have weather like what we’ve been experiencing the past few days?
And what better to enjoy on a relatively warm, sunny day than ice cream? And what if the ice cream was of the Italian variety, and what if the gelateria serving it was highly regarded, and what if…
Truth be told, I was excited to be visiting Bella Gelateria but the excitement was solely because I was going to have gelato. It didn’t matter if I was having the gelato at Bella Gelateria or ice cream at Baskin Robbins, it only mattered that I would be having ice cream. Bella Gelateria just happened to be the place that I chose to eat it at. I didn’t have any high expectations because, frankly, I didn’t think that the gelato there would taste that different from any other gelato that I’ve had before.
Bella Gelateria is located on the Cordova side of the upscale Fairmont Pacific Rim building. Judging solely by it’s location, I assumed that the gelateria would be also be a rather high end establishment with a high end interior and charging high end prices. I was partially right. The prices they charge were definitely high but the interior of the gelateria didn’t look as high end as the facade of the building it was housed in. The interior felt like an updated version of an ol’ school ice cream parlor, mixing in oak cabinetry and checkered floors with LCD overhead menus and stainless steel/glass elements. I thought that the form of the interior was very appropriate for it’s function.
I also liked the fact that they asked all customers to order before they answered any questions about their gelatos and sorbettos. This way, the people behind the counter wouldn’t be bogged down by the people standing in front of the counter asking questions and asking for samples. It allowed the employees of the gelateria to focus on giving personal attention to each paying customer.
After my wife and I ordered and payed for our dual-flavoured cups, our server patiently provided us with samples of any of the flavours we wanted to try as well as answering any questions that we posed to him.
After trying a few flavours of their gelatos and sorbettos, my wife and I both decided to pair a richer gelato with a lighter sorbeto for our orders. My wife paired the green tea matcha gelato with the mango sorbetto.
My wife chose her mango sorbetto without having a sample first. She couldn’t resist ordering it because the one of the employees just happened to be cutting up fresh mangos for a new batch of the mango sorbetto, and the mangos looked so fresh, ripe, and delicious. After having a few spoonfuls of the mango sorbetto, my wife commented that the sorbetto tasted just as delicious as the mango looked. She said that it had a very intense and concentrated mango flavour that actually tasted like real mango. She also felt that the sorbetto wasn’t overly sweet. It felt like the sweetness came purely from the fresh mangos themselves.
Once she had a few spoonfuls of the mango sorbetto, she moved on to the green tea matcha gelato. My wife said that the gelato was equally as good as the sorbetto. She offered for me to try some and I obliged. I scooped up quite a large chunk from her bowl and then proceeded to stuff the entire chunk into my mouth. Wow! The green tea flavours were intense. Like the mango, the aromas that I got from the gelato felt like the aromas of real green tea. It was rich, creamy, but not too sweet. It felt like they poured pots and kettles of green tea into their gelato base becuase the beautiful green tea flavours were extremely concentrated. This gelato tasted way better than any of the artificially-flavoured green tea ice cream occupying space in your local supermarket freezer.
The black sesame gelato I ordered was just as intense as the green tea gelato.
Eating the black sesame gelato, it felt like my mouth was bombarded with a million crushed sesame seeds. There were mini sesame explosions occuring all over my mouth with every spoonful that I placed in my mouth. The creaminess of the gelato added to the richness of the sesames. It was a perfect match. I would even venture to say that this creamy black sesame gelato tasted better than any Chinese black sesame dessert. The addition of cream was just what the sesame needed to be elevated from pretty tasty dessert ingredient to a brilliantly yummy treat.
As brilliant as the black sesame gelato was, I thought that the yuzu sorbetto I had was even better. The white, citrusy yuzu sorbetto had flavours as intense as the sesame sorbetto. The difference was that the yuzu flavours lingered on and on and on. After each spoonful was ingested, I could still feel the amazingly fragrant yuzu aromas permeating my mouth, extending up towards my olfactory glands, and enveloping all of my senses. The sweetness of this sorbetto was also just right. It was subtle and submissive. It played it’s supporting role brilliantly, reminding me that I was eating a sweet treat while not giving me any mega-calorie guilt.
The memories of the flavours of the gelato and sorbetto were so intense that I totally forgot to mention the textures of both the gelato and sorbetto. I feel that I must add a few lines about the general texture because it was also done right. Unlike regular ice cream, the sorbetto and gelato did not have texture that was too hard to scoop. Unlike some versions of gelato, the textures of the gelato and sorbetto at Bella Gelateria was also not too soft that they were teetering on the edge of melting. Both the gelato and the sorbetto held their original carved-up shapes throughout the time my wife and I spent eating them. Each could be scooped up without any effort but each only melted when met with the sufficient human body heat that manifested in our mouths. In short, their textures were perfect.
Both my wife and I thought that the gelatos and sorbettos we had at Bella Gelateria were pretty awesome. They were definitely some of the most intensely flavoured sorbets and ice creams that we ever remembered having. We also felt really good after having them because all of the flavours tasted natural. Not once did we feel like we were eating anything artificial. Each flavoured gelato and sorbetto tasted like it’s namesake counterpart, only the flavours in the gelato and sorbetto was amplified and intensified to the power of one hundred.
Would we come back again? Most Definitely. My wife and I have certainly eaten ice cream, gelato, or sorbets that were as flavourful as the ones we tried today, but not all in one place and all at the same time. Usually, there’s one or two flavours out of many that a place gets right. I don’t think we’re ever been to a place that got all the flavours and textures right like Bella Gelateria. We’ll definitely be back to try the other flavours. We don’t even mind paying their higher prices (around $14 for the two small cups we had today).