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Review: Gelataio brings a taste of Italy to downtown

Published August 28, 2014

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Two Piccolo cups with cajeta (Mexican caramel) and chocolate in one cup and mint chocolate chip and straciatella in the other. On top of each gelato cup, a triangle-shaped wafer dipped in either milk or dark chocolate from two chocolate faucets is placed. Photo by Liana Pickrell.

The sign outside of Gelataio advertising freshly made flavors. The sign also displays its slogan: "Naturally California Fresh." Photo by Maddy Jones.

This sign outside of Gelataio advertises its freshly made flavors. The sign also displays its slogan: “Naturally California Fresh.” Photo by Maddy Jones.

Upon our arrival to the well-lit and colorfully-furnished shop located at 121 Lytton Ave, the abundance of choices hit us. Although Gelataio is slightly off the beaten path of University Avenue, its modern flair and unique spin on gelato makes it worth the extra trek to the end of Lytton Avenue near the train station.

Gelataio, which opened Aug. 14, blends together traditional gelato from Italy with fresh California ingredients.  The atmosphere also offers a blended vibe. The mixture of Italian chatter from behind the counter and the high-tempo, artsy pop music playing in the background created an inviting and cool ambiance.

Ranging from traditional gelato to chocolate-dipped gelato bars and take-home pints, Gelataio will satisfy any sweet tooth. In order to try a range of tates we tried the Piccolino and four different flavors of gelato in Piccolo-sized cups: mint and choco-chip, straciatella, chocolate and cajeta (Mexican caramel). All the flavors were very creamy and fresh tasting, but not overbearingly sweet.

“What I intend to do is make my gelatos with an Italian passion and California fresh products that we have here,” store founder and gelatiere Christianne Mares said. Mares grew up making gelato in Germany for friends and family, but two years ago she took classes and started making it professionally.

Gelataio displays its various offerings of gelato flavors at the front of the store. Photo by Maddy Jones.

Gelataio displays its various offerings of gelato flavors at the front of the store. Photo by Maddy Jones.

Although some items are slightly pricey, each cup comes with at least two flavors and is expertly presented with a chocolate dipped wafer. Even the small, Piccolo ($3.99), is plenty to eat. For the extra hungry, the Regular ($4.99) offers three flavors and the Grande ($5.99), which offers five flavors, is coming soon.

The highlight of the dessert was the Piccolino ($3.15). It was a mini three-inch hazelnut ice cream cone dipped in chocolate and topped with crushed hazelnuts. It was a perfect marriage of Nutella and a Drumstick in a little three-inch cone.

Another reason to love this store is the punch card Gelataio hands to you after you pay where after you order seven different times you get a free gelato of any size.

Overall, Gelataio is definitely worth it to go to. The flavors are rich and the gelato is creamy.

Gelataio is open everyday. Sunday to Wednesday it is open from 12 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from Thursday to Saturday it is open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.


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