Choose any flavor. The gelati at Balducci’s are imported from Italy and taste like no other ice cream – milky, not fatty, with a light, slightly icy texture (without being teeth-shattering), and with just the right amount of sweetness.
Emil Grosso, VP of the Balducci development at the new 2,150-square-foot Gourmet on the Go Café at 300 West 56th Street, asked if I’d care to have a gelato sandwich. Never having tasted it, I was intrigued and mumbled OK, watching while he slit opened a big, soft brioche, slathered amarone gelato on it and finished it off with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. My eyes lit up at first bite. It was the most delicious in-between snack/dessert (I’d have it for breakfast!) ever. Soon everyone was ordering the made-on-the-spot gelato “meal.” It costs $5 – reasonable in New York’s market – and you can choose from six flavors.
Whole, bright green pistachios (how often do you get that) are in the pistachio gelato, the stracciatella has streaks of dark chocolate throughout (the milk and vanilla mixture is streaked with chocolate, which breaks up when hardened), amarone (cherry syrup and candied sour cherries embedded in vanilla), chocolate, dark chocolate and vanilla.
Other notables are the Balducci sandwiches made with exceptional fresh and imported ingredients (try the imported prosciutto de Palma (cured ham, tissue-thinly sliced) and the Parmigiano Reggiano (hard, slightly granular cow’s milk cheese made in the provinces of Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy).
Balducci’s got its start in 1916 as a New York City fruit and vegetable stand operated by Italian immigrant, Louis Balducci. I soon became a food-lovers market with locations in Greenwich Village and in Chelsea. Because of the economic downfall, the stores closed in 2009.
Today, with so many items and dishes the new Balducci’s Gourmet on the Go Café offers, it would be a shame to overlook this New York institution.
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Photograph by Denise Mattia