As my husband and I sat outside on the patio enjoying dinner at The Aulde Dubliner we noticed that right across the pedestrian walkway was a small vintage candy and gelato shop. Having spent most of the day walking around most of central Ottawa, including a tour of the Royal Canadian Mint, Rideau Hall and the National Gallery of Canada, it seemed that even on this cool evening, gelato would be the perfect ending to the day. A gastropub like The Aulde Dubliner wouldn’t be the type of place to order a dessert to satisfy our sweet tooth, but a gelato shop, yeah, that would work just fine. A scoop or two of gelato in a cup, to go, while we strolled back to the hotel. Yes, that definitely seemed like a good idea.
So, after dinner was over, my husband and I strolled over to the Pure Gelato shop to see what interesting gelato flavors we could find. As mentioned, the gelato shop shares its space with a vintage candy shop which was clearly the more popular of the two businesses. There were constantly kids and teenagers in and out of the candy shop strolling through its aisles no doubt fueling up for a sugar rush. Surprisingly, my husband and I were the only two people at the gelato counter. I’m not sure what this says about us? We love ice cream that much? We’re crazy Americans who eat gelato in cool weather because Canadians wouldn’t do such a thing? Perhaps Pure Gelato just isn’t that good? But it’s gelato, is there such thing as bad gelato?
As we walked into the corner of the store that held the gelato shop we could see two display cases filled with various kinds of homemade gelato. Just the sight of gelato in their classic metal tubs in weird and intricate designs which signifies that the gelato was made in small batches and came from the machine straight into said medal tub is enough to make your mouth water. Because most gelato shops make their own gelato flavors in small batches, you know that you’re in for a treat because you can find all sorts of interesting and unique gelato flavors. In this case, the first display case held the following flavors: dolce latte, maple scrock, Mr. Nico, cinnamon, Toblerone & orange, nocciola-lala, chocolate peanut butter, spicy chocolate, chocolate ginger, chocolate marsala, fior di fragola, chocolate cookie dough, strawberry kiwi, passion fruit, lemoncello, pompelo, and fior di lampone. Ok, as the flavors didn’t have any descriptions behind them, some of the flavors weren’t quite understandable. Such as Mr. Nico and nocciola-lala. Hm, maybe it’s a Canadian thing, or an Ottawa thing and they might have understood what these flavors were? Some other flavors were quite unique and something I’d never seen before, such as Toblerone & orange, chocolate ginger and pompelo. I’ve seen grapefruit before, but specifically a pompelo flavor was different. This could be an interesting experience with some interesting flavors.
The second display case held the following flavors: cantaloupe, limone, kiwi, blood orange, fruiti di bosco, fior di mango, crem caramel, peanut butter chip, ginger, gianduia, and smalt. Again, interesting that they would specifically have gianduia and not just regular chocolate or the fact that anyone would know the differences. Ginger as a gelato flavor isn’t something I’ve ever seen before either and I was quite certain that my husband would want to order that, or the chocolate ginger. And again with flavors I don’t recognize, smalt? What’s that?
As we had just had dinner across the way, we both knew that we couldn’t finish a large gelato. We had toyed with the idea of getting a large between us and splitting it, but we’re not good with sharing, nor do we like the same flavors, so we knew we would have to go with individual small cups. It turns out that their small cup size can hold 2 flavors of gelato, so it was time to start making decisions as to what I wanted to eat.
My husband went for two flavors that he liked rather than thinking about whether the two flavors would pair together well. In his small cup, he got Toblerone & orange and passion fruit. I’ll admit that Toblerone & orange is a flavor that I looked at myself because I’m a huge Toblerone fan. Who doesn’t like the Swiss milk chocolate with honey and almond nougat? That chewy, sweet almond nougat makes the whole candy bar! Turns out that while my husband thought that the passion fruit was good and had a bit of tang to it rather than just being overly sweet, it was really the Toblerone & orange that caught his attention. The orange part of this particular gelato flavor included bits of candied orange mixed into the gelato with the Toblerone flavor, and it’s those bits of candied orange that really added the punch of unique flavor to the gelato flavor that my husband really enjoyed. In fact, he wishes he would have just gotten an entire cup of the Toblerone & orange flavor.
Instead of just choosing two flavors that I thought would be good, I tried to pair together two flavors that I thought would go well together. After all, some of the gelato is going to melt and come together right? I wanted to make sure that the melted gelato at the bottom of the cup wasn’t a yucky combination of two flavors that just didn’t fit together. Keeping that in mind, I chose mango and cantaloupe. Both sweet fruit flavors, I figured the two would pair well. I’ve had mango-flavored gelato plenty of times, but I’d never tried cantaloupe before – not for lack of not having the opportunity, but I’ve just never thought to order cantaloupe before. Much like my husband’s Toblerone & orange, in the mango gelato, I actually found small frozen bits of actual fruit in the gelato, which I just loved. It gave the mango gelato extra added flavor and a bit of texture as well. The cantaloupe was also smooth, creamy and just slightly sweet with the distinctive flavor of cantaloupe. I really liked it’s more mellow flavor. The mango and cantaloupe combination was a good one.
Pure Gelato was a perfect after dinner treat. A small cup of gelato to go as well strolled back to our hotel after our casual gastropub dinner at the Aulde Dubliner. I think this sweet treat was exactly the thing we were looking for to end our touristy day in Ottawa.