Chelsea Market
75 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
(212) 366-0570

Today it hit 102 degrees. In a cruel twist of fate, it was actually cooler on the subway platforms than outside where the closest thing to a cool breeze was like being on the receiving end of an oven vent. How appropriate that today I chose to return to Chelsea Market for some gelato.

L'Arte del Gelato isn't cheap. Let's get that out of the way first. A small cup, which they'll place two flavors in if you want, is about $5. They'll hand pack a quart to take home for about $20. But here's the thing. It's amazing gelato. And on days like this one, where the sun and the humidity team up to make each step a sweaty, sticky, irritable chore, it's well worth the price, even if you do have to endure the tourist masses and people playing the public piano right next to the kiosk very poorly.

Of the roughly two dozen flavors available to choose from, I sampled a handful. The Mente Verde Cioccolato, green mint chocolate chip, was the most standard and not very different from what you might get elsewhere. Maybe smoother though. The Fruitti di Bosco, a mixed berry sorbet was a sweet tart blend. This isn't the sorbet you'd be used to if you like order it from the dessert menu of many a restaurant. This was far creamier, nearer to a mixed berry ice cream than to the more water heavy ones I'm used to having elsewhere. Getting back to the gelatos, I wasn't terribly interested in trying their vanilla or chocolate or coffee flavored ones. I sort of feel that those are everywhere. So how about something unique like Biscotti, biscotti cookie flavored gelato. Could it capture the flavor of a cookie without being a cookie? It could. Mind you, it's not overpowering, and it doesn't taste like anything specifically. Still, there in the background is this biscotti flavor that's light and perfect. The best of the bunch, though, is the Olio d'Oliva, their olive oil flavor. Initially, I was hesitant, but the woman behind the counter told me that it was her favorite. It was. It was amazing. The olive oil is, just as with the biscotti, hinted at in the background. It doesn't overwhelm your tongue, instead sitting there on the sidelines. But, because this flavor is so neutral, more neutral than even vanilla, you don't miss that olive taste. It's creaminess is so smooth it almost reminds me of the ads for Dove where they drop the bar of soap into the cream. I'll probably get this flavor every time I go to L'Arte del Gelato and try other flavors only when I pair it up.

Aside from the tourist hub at Chelsea Market, L'Arte del Gelato also has a location at the tourist hub of Lincoln center. Avoid getting asked directions by going to the one in the West Village on Seventh Avenue. Added bonus: no piano!

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