Thursday, December 25, 2014

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The editors of look at food and drink across New York City's five delicious boroughs.

Chow: Gelato At Amorino

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Gorgeous gelato flowers from Amorino Gelato off Union Square might impress even the most difficult-to-please visitors this Labor Day weekend. Contributing Editor Alex Van Buren filed the following report.

Out-of-towners like to tell New Yorkers that we’re crazy for living here. “It’s dirty” or “it’s loud” or “it’s expensive.” These things are true. But we also have the only American outpost of an Italian shop that can make an intricate flower out of gelato. And since Labor Day is coming up, it’s an easy way to impress visiting out-of-towners.

Amorino was started by two guys from Reggio-Emilia, Italy, where Parmigiano Reggiano comes from. They were inspired by the gelato they grew up eating, but they actually opened their first shop in Paris. Now there are 54 stores, including one in Milan, but they make the bases for the gelato in Paris.

The primary difference between gelato and ice cream is that the former tends to be more dense, and uses milk instead of cream. Amorino uses organic eggs and specialty ingredients in its gelato, like Alphonso mangoes from India, which tend to have an almost candied sweetness and chocolate from a famous producer in Ecuador.

The store receives shipments of frozen gelato paste from Paris, defrosts it, and then spins it in this machine every day, creating a rich and creamy texture. They spread it in the pan, blast-chill it, and top it with ingredients like pistachios. When they make a “flower,” they start with one flavor as the “bud,” and then they use this spoon-spatula hybrid to layer on the petals.

Although you can fit up to 23 flavors in one flower, the folks at Amorino don’t recommend it, since it would muddy the flavors. My favorite flavors are the sorbets and the dark chocolate ice cream, because the combination of strawberry, chocolate and mango gives you that chocolate-dipped fruit effect.

Amorino is at 60 University Place between 10th and 11th streets.

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