Piedigrotta Bakery now has Gelato
We were there two weeks ago and they already had a gelato showcase and gelato machine. Bruna was telling us they expected to start making their first batches that weekend. I called today and they have vanilla and hazelnut flavors right now. They are getting their flavor shipment in later this week and should have more options soon. Has anyone here had a chance to sample their gelato?
If I understood Bruna correctly, she is a veteran in gelato-making. She has never had better gelato than her grandmother's, from whom she got her recipe. When she first came to Maryland, hardly anyone here even knew what gelato was so they decided to focus on other things. Before that she had tried to sell gelato in other places, but it became very burdensome. She has been waiting patiently to start selling gelato again and sounded very excited that the equipment had arrived.
Just got back from Piedigrotta.
I realize it's probably a little ungracious of me to knock a civic institution, but I have to say, with Piedigrotta two blocks away I just don't understand the love affair this town has with Vaccaro's.
I'm hesitant to even post about it yet, given that it's a fledgeling operation, they only have two flavors so far and Bruna isn't even in the country at the moment (visiting the bambini in Italy), but as with everything else, this already this kicks the everloving snot out of anything I've had over at the neighborhood's default establishment for Italian sweets.
Very much looking forward to when they're going full steam, and here's hoping they get somebody to stay on during the evenings so they can catch some of the after dinner traffic.
(Full Disclosure: We live in the neighborhood and are regulars of Piedigrotta who have come to consider the Iannacones as friends.)
So I asked some friends I took to Piedigrotta last year why they still go to Vaccaro's, even during hours when Piedigrotta is still open. After some prodding, turns out they actually like the cannolis (and rest of the items) at Vaccaro's better and had been "afraid" to tell me so. I'm guessing there's others who feel the same way.
I am always surprised by how many people tolerate (and even enjoy) mediocre food. There are even less who can discern between different shades of good. I find this is even a greater "problem" with desserts. And frankly, like ono said, Vaccaro's is still better than most options out there, so I'm just happy that at least people go there instead of Baskin Robbins.
Finally stopped by today. Today there were four flavors: vanilla, stracciatella (basically vanilla with crushed dark chocolate on top), mango, and strawberry.
The texture of their gelato is very light and airy and reminded me a little of when ice cream starts to melt (in a good way.) Different from any gelato I have ever tried, but I haven't been to Italy.
The vanilla was sublime. Absolutely loved it. As far as the mango, we found it just average and in my opinion the mango flavor is overpowered by lemon. We've been to quite a few gelato places where the mango flavor is like this and I'm not sure what's up with that. In our opinion, the strawberry was also average. We were informed that the strawberry (not sure about the mango) was half fresh strawberries and half "from the company". Right now they are in a test period and I hope they can fix the flavors soon. It could have something to do with Bruna's absence.
Just one thing, why does not one of you posters provide an address for these places.
Just because posting in the DC area does not mean everyone reading this is familiar with the area, or live there. Out of state readers are some times visitors to the land and wish to maybe patronize these gems. Please consider.
re: Peter B Wolf
Peter -- sorry that you seem so concerned by the address omissions. This bakery has been discussed many times on this board, both in their old and new locations in Baltimore's Little Italy. I used a simple Google search to get the details on this establishment.
This board is one of the busiest on Chowhound. Imagine if most postings had detailed address information provided as well -- the size would balloon!
Bottom line -- I view Chowhound as a significant and high-valued source of information about restaurants et al, but certainly not the only source available on the internet.
I don't think it's necessary for every post mentioning a restaurant to post an address, but mentioning the city or community in the first post of a new thread would certainly be useful. Since I live in Falls Church, I don't follow threads about Baltimore restaurants (nor do I expect any but the heartiest souls from Baltimore to follow posts about restaurants in Northern VA.
I eventually deduced that this place was somewhere in Baltimore and that I wouldn't be likely to visit it, but it would
have been nice to know that up front.
So, please, just add a clue to the general location when you start a new post about a restaurant, bakery, or hot dog stand.
An update. Bruna has been back for a while and worked out the kinks in many of the gelato flavors. Chocolate and hazelnut are crazy good. I asked about the "syrups" and she showed me the small jars she imports from Italy. These are more like concentrate, all natural, and very very expensive. I can't say enough about the texture of her gelato. Love it!