A question for you fact fans: Which US State eats the most ice cream per capita? Those of you who answered Alaska have another flake in your 99. That's right, not tropical Florida or sunny California but the chilly Last Frontier. I mention this as the Ewing's face seemed to crumple slightly at the prospect of gelato on a bleak and windy winter's day. True, cold weather and ice cream do not seem like natural bed fellows, but for me there is something strangely appealing about ice cream when it gets chilly. (really, when isn't a good time?)
Down a grimy side street in Soho, almost opposite Boca de Lupo, (from which this is an offshoot) things don't seem immediately promising. But we were soon tucked up in the warm, happily digging into our ice creams while listening to the hiss and whirr of the coffee machine and admiring the array of homemade cakes lining the counter.
First up was my choice: one scoop of the ricotta, coffee and honey. This is a homage to Crema del Pastore, (shepherd's cream) served at Il Gelatauro in Bologna, and is made from ricotta, eggs, honey and ground coffee beans. I liked this: it was light, not too sweet and creamy without being cloying. The flavour was quite delicate though, so I'm pleased I tried it on its own.
The Ewing went with a two scoop of Burnt Caramel and toasted pecan and Bonet (chocolate with coffee, egg yolks, rum, caramel, amaretti biscuits and vanilla). Bonet is traditional Piedmont desert, like a dense mousse, usually served in the winter. Here they have turned it into an ice cream and it was lovely, chocolately, alcoholic and very rich. The Caramel was also good, slightly bittersweet with the crunch of nuts. As you can see from the picture these ice creams were a lot softer than mine. At first I thought it might be the alcohol, but I'm not sure the Burnt Caramel had any booze in it? Although it was on the soft side the ice cream was still perfectly smooth, with no unwelcome ice crystals.
Speaking of ice crystals, one place they are very welcome is in a granita. Gelupo is known for it's range of seasonal granitas and I was determined to leave room to sample them. First up was the burnt almond: this was intriguing as it managed to be both creamy and icy at the same. With a subtle ameretti biscuit flavour and a gentle nuttiness this was definitely one to try.
While the Ewing enjoyed a well made cappuccino I tucked into my second granita (sour cherry) . I enjoyed this but it was a touch too sweet for my tastes, although the Ewing thought it was just right. Apparently you can order this half and half with their Blond Almond granita for a 'Bakewell Tart'. Like a high class slush puppy, the granitas were great and I would certainly be back to try the Fragola Grape or Espresso on a sticky Soho summer afternoon.
As well as the ice creams there's an array of homemade cakes, muffins and sandwiches and a small, but interesting deli at the back of the shop. Here you can buy freshly made pasta, sauces and sausages from Boca de Lupo as well as a range of Italian groceries, coffee pots, cook books etc. The delicious looking ultra-spicy N'duja and the goose ragu are at the top of my shopping list for the next visit.