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Il Laboratorio Del Gelato

Pia Mileaf-Patel

$5-10 a person

            Okay, okay, I know… everyone already knows about how great and weird Il Laboratorio Del Gelato is, what with their nacho cheese, or pepper flavored artisanal gelato. But I just want to reiterate exactly how awesome the Lower East Side’s experimental ice cream factory is.

            The flavors, while often weird or an unobvious choice for gelato, are vivid and very true to the original flavor. For example, the cream cheese gelato isn’t just a thicker vanilla; it really tastes like cream cheese, yet somehow works as an ice cream. They manage to make sure it doesn’t feel like eating cream cheese, but it still has the full essence of it.

            The beet gelato was a beautiful magenta and had an earthy flavor. It’s so fun to try weird flavors in ice cream form and I’ve found some of my favorite flavors are like this (i.e. olive oil gelato).

            Even the smallest size allows two flavors, so you are encouraged to mix and match. There are so many choices of combinations that it’s a little overwhelming, but even if you go outside of your favorite flavor, each one is an adventure. I ended up having cream cheese and earl grey together and it was really surprising and good! The perfume-y tea balanced out the rich cream cheese, and neither was overly sweet.

            I went today with my aunt and my cousins (who were visiting from Chicago) while we were waiting for our tour at the Tenement Museum. I think I should just clarify that it’s about 20 degrees outside. Even this didn’t ruin Il Laboratorio’s fabulous gelato for us. It was actually awesome because we didn’t have to wait in the usual swarm that surrounds the counter during July and August.

            They have an espresso bar and you can see the back where they make and experiment with all of their flavors. My little cousins loved the fact that they had beet or ginger or cardamom ice cream and were very excited to try lots of flavors.

            I learned something awesome from the 5-year-old, which is that she always gets a scoop of chocolate and of vanilla wherever she goes. I would love to have something default like this and compare the most classic thing in the ice cream world. Fun flavors are amazing and admirable, but it’s necessary to do chocolate and vanilla well. The chocolate dripping from her smile was confirmation that Il Laboratorio’s classic flavors are as delicious as the adventurous ones they are famous for.

            Below are some beautiful pictures of the flavor combinations we got (and of my awesome hangnails), for some inspiration if you're stuck.