The highlight to my Friday this week was not the arrival of the weekend. It was the arrival of 11 (count ’em, eleven!) pints of delicious gelato from our new found friends at Talenti of Dallas, Texas. Yes, y’all — the Lone Star State is now in the gelato bizness. And as you know, Texas never does anything on a small scale.
The slick, clear packaging is very appealing to the eye, but the product contained inside is far more appealing to the taste buds. We started our gelato-fest with a taste of the Mediterranean Mint — sort of a Mint Chocolate Chip for the Riviera set, if you will. This gelato has a very clean, fresh taste that is not overpowered by the smallish chocolate chunks. It is clear that Talenti is using fresh mint in this recipe — quite a difference from ice creams in a similar vein. You might even find yourself checking your dental work for greenery. It’s not there, but it will taste like it is.
The next flavors to hit our tongues were Carribean Coconut and Double Dark Chocolate. Once again, we were first taken by both product’s freshness. I can also add that all these gelatos are very light, a term not used very often when describing products in the ice cream family. Next up was Dulce de Leche … and this one turned out to be my absolute favorite so far. It featured an incredibly rich, natural tasting caramel flavor not normally associated with mass produced ice creams and gelatos.
Exotic flavors like Black Cherry, Blood Orange, Roman Raspberry, Lisbon Lemon, Tahitian Vanilla, and Caramel Cookie Crunch are still lurking unopened in our deep freezer as I type this column. In fact … shhhhh, quiet … yes, they are calling my name. Gotta run … more on this later!
The company claims as its source of inspiration Bernando Buontalenti, a famed Florentine artist and architect with a penchant for fine food. “Talenti,” as his friends called him, delighted the court of the Duchess Catherine de Medici’s in the early 1500s with a frozen dessert he called “gelato.”
The current Talenti was the first gelato to appear in the famed holiday catalog of luxury retailer Neiman Marcus. It is notable for its attractive, clear plastic packaging and its use of its quality ingredients, including fresh fruit and nuts, imported flavorings, real blocks of Belgian chocolate, melted on the Talenti premises and freshly pasteurized milk that is free of the controversial growth hormones, rBGH and rBST. The company also avoids high fructose, levulose, and corn syrup, instead using extra-fine pure cane sugar. In addition, the company reports that all of its sorbettos contain three primary ingredients: water, pure cane sugar and fresh fruit.
Among the most popular of flavors in the Talenti line are: Tahitian Vanilla Bean, made with vanilla beans imported from Papua New Guinea; Belgium Milk Chocolate, made with Callebaut chocolate; Caribbean Coconut, using Coconuts shipped from the Philippines; Argentine Dulce de leche (“milk candy”), and Sicilian pistachio, which uses pistachios shipped from Sicily.