There it was, melting before us – the answer to the question: Which vendor sells the best gelati? Lined up, in order of purchase, were the four two-scoop cups; each with their combined fruit and chocolate gelati commingling and dripping.
It wasn’t a scientific task, although we used a cooler with ice to keep the purchases from melting too soon. It wasn’t a critical examination, however we did scrutinize the décor.
On one end at Confusion Corner – arguably the start of the Corydon strip – is Mercato Gelato. It occupies the former DarkZone building (230 Osborne St.) and boasts 72 gelati flavours, Italian themed frescoes and a fountain.
Nucci’s Gelati (643 Corydon Ave.) is a more subtle number, with its pastel interior, 65 flavours, matronly Italian-Canadian server and autographed photo of Jennifer Tilly, voice of Bonnie Swanson on Family Guy.
Up the block, G.G. Gelati (705 Corydon Ave.) has 42 proud flavours, a fantastic split-level that looks like it was painted in the ‘80s and near-central location on the street.
Eva’s Gelato (101-1001 Corydon Ave.) bookends the street, with an upscale interior, 36 flavours to choose from and a spacious patio.
So there we sat, in my yard, trying to figure out what made these iced treats so tasty. Using our tiny spoons we dug at the chocolate scoops from all four locations.
“It’s a little light,” Ace said about the G.G.’s chocolate.
“I agree,” I said. “Nucci’s has a solid presence that both Mercato and G.G. don’t have.”
“Eva’s is dark, succulent,” I said.
“Mercato’s is a little fudgy,” Tim replied. “Like ice cream.”
In our attempt to decide who has the best gelati, we chose a chocolate flavour as well as a fruit flavour from each location, preferably something unique to the store.
We tried Eva’s Alaskan Lemon. Very potent. It hindered whistling, as Tim pointed out.
We all enjoyed Mercato’s grape, which was like a slush beverage, nice and smooth. It was a welcomed change to conventional fruit flavours.
Nucci’s Passion Fruit had a surprising taste, something perky and light.
The strawberry from G.G.’s was mild, compared to the potency of Eva’s Lemon. Otherwise, it was a delightful flavour (which did mix well with chocolate).
“What does it all come down to?” Ace asked, after we cleaned our hands and I looked over my messy notebook.
“I’m no food critic or flavour scientist,” I replied. “No place was more than $5 for two scoops.”
“Maybe this comes down to a philosophical difference,” Tim said. “Who are we to judge?”
It isn’t a difficult experiment to conduct for yourself. If you have the time, friends, and a $20 bill, you can stroll from one end to the other and figure out who serves the best gelati. After all, the Corydon strip, which was known once as “Little Italy,” is now hosting more Sushi restaurants than ever before.
Perhaps this summer you should get some gelati before it’s too late.
Published in Volume 64, Number 26 of The Uniter (May 27, 2010)