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Bella Gelateria

3 May 2011

After our lunch at Phnom Penh we walked around a bit, went to Sun-Yat Sen Park and then made our way to Bella Gelateria (1001 West Cordova). It has been garnering quite the praise lately, with many saying that it has the best gelato in town. We had to investigate! Apparently the owner is some sort of gelato expert and even went to a university to perfect his craft. Bella Gelateria is located in the Fairmont Pan Pacific and looks quite big from outside but it is actually pretty small when you walk in.

I’ve always loved ice cream, though some would argue that gelato isn’t technically ice cream. It’s ice cream! Gosh. It’s actually better. For those of you that don’t know, gelato has been around for much longer than ice cream and it’s made with milk instead of cream. Sorbet or sorbetto is considered to be a variant of gelato and contains no dairy. I went on a trip to Europe in high school and I had gelato almost every day. It was so good…and there was even a place in Nice where you could get 10 scoops (dix boules), but when we went back it was closed :(. I consider the gelato in Europe to be the standard by which I measure all other gelato and so far nothing has compared.

Here's some gelato I got in Monaco

That’s where Bella Gelateria comes in. We walked in and looked around a bit. I sampled a 3 flavours (that’s their ‘limit’) before deciding on the Meyer Lemon Sorbetto. Lemon Sorbet happens to be my favourite thing to get at gelato shops, so I had to try it here. Meyer lemons are a bit different than normal lemons; they have thinner skin and a sweeter, more orange-like flavour. This sorbet was really good. Not too sweet, lots of lemon flavour and it had bits of the rind in it to boot. It was smooth, not icy, and satisfied my ice cream craving (dairy is not necessary).

My girlfriend decided to get the Chocolate and Sea Salt Gelato (ooh how gourmet). It was good too! The salt really brings out the chocolate flavour and, again, it was really smooth.

At Bella Gelateria, they scoop their gelato the old-fashioned way, using a sort of paddle or spatula to ‘hand-craft’ the gelato. The gelato is really good and I think it’s probably the best in the Lower Mainland (’twas a day for bests in Vancouver). Many people love La Casa but there are too many flavours and the overall quality isn’t that great. I think this gelato is almost as good as the gelato I got in Europe, but still not quite. There’s something missing, but I can’t quite figure it out. Anyways, it’s still awesome and you should all try it out if you haven’t already. Since it’s not really a restaurant, I’m only going to consider the gelato and the value in my rating. The price for one scoop is about $4.50 (can’t really remember) and a cone is around 40 cents extra. I think a double is almost $6 and a triple is $7 something. It’s more expensive than most places, but you simply can’t beat the quality. You should note that gelato is much cheaper in Europe: around 2 euros for a single scoop!

Food (i.e. gelato): 4 out of 5
Value: 3.5 out of 5

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Bella Gelateria: Old-World Handcrafted Gelato on Urbanspoon

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