Each week, several people walk in and ask Dale, the co-owner of Angelato, when this gelateria opened. She’ll answer that it’s been open for a year, all four seasons, all seven days. Pay attention- future restaurateurs- because being located in a prime shopping strip isn’t enough. It depends on where you’re located within the strip. As in, if you’re nestled in between a bank and some other shop, disconnected from the more popular shops, chances are your flow of traffic is going to suffer. It’s a terrible shame because Angelato really does offer some quality gelato.
Last Friday, while most of my co-workers where either a) watching the world cup; b) grabbing lunch at the deli or c) taking their kids to Hershey Park, I d) decided to skip lunch all together and grab some gelato with Peter. Peter comes to Angelato just about everyday for either gelato or some afternoon coffee. Needless to say, he knows Dale and her brother, Todd, quite well. For the past several months, he’s been constantly reminding me about taking a trip to the gelateria. I held it off because of the weather and when that was no longer a plausible excuse, Peter actually scheduled it on my calender. As if I needed prompting to grab gelato!
Upon walking in, it’s difficult to take everything in. Mirrors align the right side wall and the interior maintains this homey yet classic feel. Containers and containers of gelato are on display, arranged in a perfect arch. There must have been like 40 flavors out there and because I was the food blogging girl, I got to try a good chunk of them!
My all time favorite flavor- mint chocolate chip– really hit the spot, but I wasn’t going to walk into a gelateria with so many exotic flavors and get my usual flavor. Here are some of the flavors that I tried (and still remember; there were just so many!)
- Pistachio: This is truly a premium flavor in both taste and cost. Todd explained how they use real pistachios to make this flavor. Do you realize how many pistachios it must take to crush and churn into gelato? It’s alot. This would be the bang-for-your-buck gelato and irresistible for pistachio lovers. It’s very concentrated in pistachio flavor, obviously, which can be a bit much if you order more than one scoop.
- NSA Strawberry: Holy heck, I didn’t know that strawberry could be so concentrated in gelato. That one spoonful was bursting of complete strawberry. Perfect if you’re looking for something fruity.
- Almond: I really love this. You could taste hints of almond here and there, but it wasn’t overly powering. I thought of this as a “neutral” gelato, one that you could order with a stronger gelato to balance the flavors out.
- Peanut butter chocolate chip: Think Reeses + Peanut butter = Peanut butter heaven
- Espresso: Really, really strong in espresso flavor, almost to the point of bitterness. But it’s great, even if you’re just into coffee and I suppose a better alternative if you’re watching your sugar intake.
- Coconut: This was one of my least favorite, but that’s because I’m not the biggest fan of coconut. It did remind me of that brief moment when you taste pure coconut in pina colada.
- Mango: A bit creamier than I had expected, but in a good way. Like all the other fruit flavors, the mango is really concentrated. Don’t expect your usual sorbet mango, which is usually loaded with sugar. This is smooth and silky, almost like mango lassi.
Okay, I’m positive that I had more flavors to test, but… I honestly can’t remember. I just remember them all being super delicious and having such a difficult time to decide. That’s when you know that life is good.
My favorite part of the trip was when Todd was telling me about all these flavors that he experiments- like basil or other savory flavors. Then I asked him if he’s heard about salted butter caramel, to which he replied no. When he realized that it was essentially dulce de leche + salt, he literally got out a scoop of dulce de leche gelato and cracked some sea salt over it. Of course, Peter and I also got to try it. Although it came close to the salted butter caramel ice cream that I had churned, it still wasn’t the same. But it was the gesture that cracked me up.
But in the end, I settled on the Almond and Peanut butter chip. The two scoop (medium) came out to around $4.50 which is alot cheaper than I’m used to in the city. It’s a bit pricey if you consider that it’s in New Jersey, but so few places offer gelato and it really is a treat to have. Anyway, how could you just possibly resist?
Todd was also gracious enough to give me a mini tour of the back where they make the gelato! It was so exciting! I couldn’t believe how this one tiny (okay, maybe it’s not so tiny) machine cranks out all that gelato on display! It’s sort of like an ice cream maker where you have a base custard and then add flavor to it. As you can tell, the gelato comes out really creamy and smooth.
And then, for certain flavors (this one was Cherry), you drip syrup over the base! This is only for a few of their flavors. For the Peanut butter chip, they actually incorporate Skippy’s peanut butter into the custard and then swirl some chips in. I told Todd that he took Skippy to a whole new level. Other flavors may require a different custard base, but it’s usually the same. Base custard + flavor.
But now that you’ve seen just how the gelato is made, you might ask (like I did), “What exactly is the difference between gelato and ice cream?” Well young padawan…
- The cream content: Ice cream has significantly more cream than gelato. In fact, the main ingredient in gelato is whole milk. I believe Todd said that the milk-fat content is under 10% in gelato. Ice cream is by definition 10%+ of milk-fat, and believe me, it exceeds it by plenty.
- Amount of air: Gelato is denser than ice cream because it holds less air. I asked Todd whether I could churn my own gelato at home with an ice cream maker and the answer was yes! BUT, you need a machine that can control the airflow. #fail. But now we know that alot of the weight in ice cream is just air…
- Temperature: Ice cream is generally kept at a much lower temperature than gelato. Hence why gelato is easier to handle and velvety rich.
I also learned that gelato was the first/precursor to ice cream. Italians would grab ice from the mountains and mix it with milk and fruit, and that was the first ice cream. By the time it got to this country, Americans somehow threw cream into it…
And now for some bit of color…
Besides gelato, Angelato also sells a mean cup of coffee. They use Morning Star coffee, which is “mountain grown and locally roasted.” Supposedly it’s really good. I wouldn’t know because I didn’t have any, but Peter seemed to enjoy it. The coffee bar reminds me of Caffè Orzo in Rome, next to the Pantheon. You literally sit/stand at the bar while drink a cup of espresso.
Or you can get that below. I have no idea what it’s called, but it was too photogenic to avoid photographing!
Last but not least, they also offer frozen yogurt, sort of like Pinkberry, but alot more tart and homemade tasting. Do you know what I mean? Like that unnatural tang you get when you eat Pinkberry? Angelato supposedly uses some of the same ingredients from the same company as Pinkberry, but makes it a different way (that uses more time and real ingredients).
Overall, Angelato is one of those gems that you rarely find in New Jersey. If you’re ever in the area, you really ought to stop by and even introduce yourself to Dale or Todd. They don’t bite and appreciate the company.
Florham Village Shopping Center
187 Colombia Turnpike
Florham Park, New Jersey 07932
(next to the Valley National Bank)