I’ve walked past La Gelatiera so many times. But always the wrong time of day. Usually early evening when I’m wandering around the area before meeting a friend for supper in Covent Garden. Therefore not the right time to eat ice cream. I’ve read about its award-winning gelato though; it’s always listed as one of the top gelaterias in London (and in London we have some pretty fabulous ice cream parlours these days!), so it’s definitely been on my list of places to go.
I was meeting my lovely friend Lucia for a drink before going to the theatre. We were going to see Patrick Marber’s Don Juan in Soho starring David Tennant and the also wonderful Adrian Scarborough (and it was as brilliant as I’d anticipated). Lucia and her husband David go to the theatre a lot and for the last year or two Lucia has taken to sending me a list of what they’ve booked for the next 2-3 months and if there’s anything I fancy too, I book my own ticket. It’s been a wonderful way of broadening my London theatre experience and has taken me out of my long-standing comfort zone of booking tickets regularly at the National Theatre, but not going to other theatres much.
Summer made a sudden and welcome appearance in London a couple of days ago. Winter clothes have been cast aside, summer clothes donned, suncream lathered across faces and, it has to be said, we Londoners go slightly crazy whenever there’s a hint of the Mediterranean here. Lucia, being Italian, thought we couldn’t possibly sit in the basement café at the National Portrait Gallery as originally planned. With the sun here, we had to be outside and eat gelato! She suggested La Gelatiera as it was close to the theatre and had, she told me, excellent ice cream.
I arrived first and watched the queue grow so decided to join it as we had limited time before the play. The American couple behind me asked if it was good. I said I hadn’t been before but had heard lots of good things about it. They’d noticed there was a group of Italians queuing behind them and thought that was a good sign. When it comes to gelato, Italians really do know what’s best. Lucia soon arrived and gradually the queue moved into the tiny café.
I spied a fabulous-looking coffee machine on the counter.
Victoria Arduino have been making coffee machines since 1905, originally in Turin. We didn’t want coffee – but I must go back! Soon, as the queue moved forward, we could see the gelati and start to decide what we would choose.
The gelato is made daily with seasonal organic ingredients and the flavours on offer change regularly. There were some very interesting ones: Dark Chocolate & Chilli, Basil & Chilli, Macha Green Tea, Sicilian Pistachio, Sea Salted Caramel, Eton Mess and more usual flavours like Raspberry, Fruits of the Forest, Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate. There’s a good choice but not an enormous choice. And this is a good thing, I think; a sign of the freshness of any flavour you choose and that they really do make the ice creams daily.
We both had medium cups (£4.50) with 3 flavours. I had Dark Chocolate, Fruits of the Forest and a gorgeous unusual one of Honey, Rosemary & Orange Zest, which was wonderful. I loved the hint of rosemary with the sweetness of the honey and bright freshness of the orange zest.
It was all wonderful. The chocolate was like thick melted dark chocolate with a gorgeous creamy consistency; the forest fruits deep in flavour. No wonder La Gelatiera has won so much praise.
Lucia had the same honey and rosemary gelato with Pistachio and Mango Sorbet. They were really generous portions. Our Italian supper! I’ll to have to change my timing sometimes when heading to Covent Garden. I have to go back to La Gelatiera and try more flavours … and as they constantly change the flavours, I’ll have to just keep going and going!