If you’re like me and subscribe to a north of fifty RSS feeds of food blogs, then you know that ice creams and popsicle recipes are on fire this month.
In fact, this week is purported to be the popsicle week. Although I set up my RSS feed so that I only scroll through the titles, as opposed to the partial or the full post, I succumbed to clicking on alluring titles like “Toasted Oatmeal Ice Cream,” “The Petrovsky Popsicle,” and “Ab-Haveej Bastani – Persian Carrot Juice and Saffron Ice Cream Float.” Clearly, I am attracted to the novel and the exotic.
But there is a purist in me too. The ice cream parlor that transformed me from a flamboyant to a minimalist ice-creamist was il laboratorio del gelato.
Located on the illustrious Ludlow street in New York City (think of Katz and Russ & Daughters), il laboratorio del gelato crafts and sells more than 180 flavors of gelatos and sorbets. Although il laboratorio sources most of its ingredients from local organic farms, what makes il laboratorio special is the freshness of ingredients.
Never have I felt as intrinsically connected to a flavor as I have at il laboratorio. As with most ice cream parlors, you are welcome and encouraged to try out different flavors before taking your final pick. As per usual, I tried out my favorite flavor first: mint. I remember distinctly that I mentally noted that moment as one that I would remember until I die. It felt as though I was on a hallucinogen. The gelato was so abuzz with flavor and depth that I felt like I reached a gustatory satori.
The olive oil gelato did not disappoint either. Although I have been using EVOO as the base of my cooking and salad dressings, I immediately discovered the true potential of olive oil at il laboratorio. Recall a passage you read in a book so beautiful that you read it ten times in a row, or a song that is so perfect that you listen to it on repeat for a week. Had I lived in New York City, I would probably have gone back to il laboratorio on a daily basis until I felt like I truly grasped the flavor of their ice cream.
Upon returning home, I embarked on a journey in search of the best olive oil gelato recipe. Although I did not have top quality EVOO or an ice cream maker for that matter, I still managed to make a disgusting batch of sweet milky ice topped with a layer of oil. Case to the point: fine ice cream is worth the money and the outing. Although it seems easy (all desserts are sweet, thus delicious, right?), the finest ice cream is a labor of love and obsessive research. You can truly taste it.