Until recently our sojourns usually took us to Naturals Ice Cream, occasionally Cocoa Tree or much less frequently, Canopy at Abad Plaza. The bright lights would beckon from the colourful interiors of another haunt open on M.G.Road that late in the night, Haji Ali, which serves up the most authentic falooda in town, but a cursory check of the whopping number of calories in one serving has so far managed to keep us away! Especially at night!
But now we have a new entrant on the late night dessert scene in the city and we find ourselves veering in the direction of Milano Ice Cream to savor the scrumptiously delicious Gelato that they serve there.
Exactly a month ago to the date, the ever gracious Giancarlo Segalini (who coincidentally turns a year older today too-Happy Birthday!), egged on by his wife Sara, started this gelateria in Ravipuram. Sara has a long standing relationship with Kerala through her Coir and Jute business and when Giancarlo visited our God's Own Country in April last year, he noticed there were no gelaterias here. And thats how it started. Ah a simple and noble thought, which has brought such joy into the lives of us Kochiites!
The quaint little gelateria sitting opposite the new Tanishq showroom in Ravipuram has this deceptively simple chocolate brown hoarding outside that indicates its existence, but take the bait and walk inside and you are transported into another wonder land altogether. Pristine white walls and cute little arches beckon you through the entrance and to the treasure that lies at the end of the narrow hallway, extended by the clever use of mirrors.
The treasure at the luscious end of the tunnel being of course, the luminescent display of the day's freshly made gelato all set for gobbledom, manufactured right there on site by Giancarlo and his master chef, Maurizio, who is as jolly as an Italian chef can only be! White haired, hurly burly and with a belly that boasts of satiatingly amazing food escapades, you like to know that you are being fed by this jovial funloving chef!
But then, how could he possibly not look the part, he after all hails from the Italian province of Parma. Now if Italy is known as the food capital of the world, well, anybody who knows their penne from their fettuccine will know that Parma is the capital of that food capital!
|The wonderful Milano team. (L-R) Giancarlo, Shafiq, Maurizio and Muhammad|
So when you know your Gelato is being made by someone with that kind of pedigree, of course your tummy rumbles louder. But there is a task to be accomplished first. Choosing your flavours. The young men at the counter who do the honours of serving you the gelato, at first glance, seem to be imported from Italy too. After all, the owner is Italian, the master chef is Italian, even the entire sylvan decor of the place is designed and executed by the Italian designer, Paolo Zani. And these fellas standing there with their jet black gelled hair and Mediterranean complexion, not to mention, the bright red Gucci loafers, they gotta be Italian too, right? Wrong. They are Mohammed and Shafiq from Kasargod! Could have fooled me...:)
So Mohammed and Shafiq help you choose your flavours, giving you as many tasters as you want before you nail the deal. Yes this is the bewildering part. On one hand you have the sweetly tart fruit sorbettos that gleam at you with their bright colours, then you have the comforting milk based flavours that are combined with the required crunch and punch to keep you in heaven, and then those chocolate flavours designed to hit your head with enthusiasm. Best of luck with choosing!
I think of the flavours I have tried so far, the purplish pink Fruit of the Forest, a vibrant medley of all things berry, is my absolute favourite. Plus, you get to convince yourself it's healthier because it has less fat than the milk varieties(uhuh...). But if you do choose to go down the more decadent path, then the Chocolate Orange has the right blend of sweet and bitter to keep your mind tingling for a while.
I did like the Milk and Honey one too which had bits of home made meringue sprinkled on top. Another Sorbetto that blew my mind was the Strawberry...intensely strawberrylicious as it gets...YUM! As you can see, I can go on and on. Am looking forward to seeing the new flavours that this team brings forth over the days, as they get more familiar with the local produce. Just imagine when mango season rolls around...ah Manga Mia! :)
Once you have chosen your flavours, Mohammed and Shafiq serve it up for you according to your choice of size and bowl. Whatever you choose, they make sure to make even that experience a pretty one. The Strawberry Sorbetto/Ferrerro Rocher rose cone is something I cannot forget...:)
As for the rates. Get this. The small cup comes with two flavours at Rs50, the medium with three flavours at Rs80 and the large cup with three flavours but larger sized for Rs100. I know...what a STEAL!
And of course, if you want it on a cone, its Rs5 extra...but go for it! It took me a trip to Milano(the Kochi one of course) to realize that eating gelato out of a cup is one of the biggest injustices you can do to yourself.
Take it on that cone and look at all those pretty colours before you indulge. Bury your nose into it, smell it as you eat through it and allow its creaminess to drip onto your fingers. Total sensory indulgence...that's the only way to go!