Mumbai Food: Bandra ice-cream parlour offers authentic Italian gelato
An MBA grad has turned gelato maker and set up shop in Bandra, whipping up authentic flavours from the Emilia-Romagna region, as well as desi variations including guava and pistachio
"You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it's for the same two things." "What?" "Love and gelato."
These are lines from author Jenna Evans Welch's bestselling book, Love & Gelato. She might have been right about the latter, because if you've tried gelato in Italy, you would be far from excited about what passes off for it at most ice cream parlours in Mumbai. But you no longer have to wait for that trip to Italy to get your hands on good gelato. Last week, a cute little store called Coppetto popped up on the ever-so-busy Waterfield Road in Bandra, promising patrons the best gelato on this side of the world.
We pop in to find the 26-year-old proprietor, Nikhil Jain, behind the counter. Upon a little prodding and in the midst of informing us what goes into each gelato flavour, he shares that he received training from gelato chef Alice Vignoli in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy earlier this year. The engineer and MBA grad tells us that it was a trip he made on a whim, but one that was worth the effort.
Keep it cool
The limited menu features a range of flavours (all Rs 170), from the stracciatella, a milky, classic version popular among Italians, to the lip-puckering raspberry sorbet. We are informed that none of the gelati or sorbets have artificial colouring or preservatives. If you're a fan of traditional flavours, opt for the cookies and cream, Ferrero Rocher (a combination chocolate and hazelnut) or our favourite, the dark chocolate, a decadent, velvety confection made using Belgian cocoa and chocolate.
There are quite a few fruit-based options on offer. The first one we try is the guava sorbet, which can be topped with chilli powder and salt if you like, so it feels like you're biting into a slice of the ripe fruit. Another desi flavour worth sampling is the pistachio, which brings out the nutty, buttery flavour of the dry fruit without it seeming overpowering. Next, we try the sweet-sour raspberry sorbet, which is perfect for those who don't like their desserts too sugary. The gelato that wins our hearts is the amarena, named after a type of sour cherry that is indigenous to Emilia-Romagna. It features a rich amarena compote, which is cooked all night long, then churned into the Madagascar vanilla base.
Just as we're about to leave, a customer walks in to ask what's new on the menu. "If you come in tonight, you can try the strawberry cheesecake flavour we have been working on," Jain tells her. Curious, we ask him whether the menu will be a rotating one. He shares that around 10 of the most popular flavours will remain constant, while new flavours will be introduced every now and then. Our verdict? Why bother spending all those pesos on a trip to Italy when their famous gelato has come to your doorstep? Say buongiorno, and step in.
Nikhil Jain at the store
TIME: 12 pm to 12.30 am
AT: Muzaffar Manor Building, Waterfield Road, Bandra West.
Gelato vs ice cream
Ice cream usually makes heavy use of cream and has a fat content of at least 10 per cent, while gelato uses more milk than cream, making it the healthier option of the two. Ice cream is also churned faster, making it more airy than gelato.