New bakery and gelato cafe brings fresh and affordable flavors to The Alameda
THE SANTA CLARA
May 11, 2017
I lost two things when I studied abroad in Italy fall quarter of my junior year—my appendix and my appetite for American ice cream. The former was the result of an emergency appendectomy. The latter was the result of tasting gelato.
Struggling to live without the delicious treat since returning, my heart and stomach delighted when I discovered that LaVita, a bakery and gelato shop, would be opening across the street from campus on The Alameda.
Gelato isn’t just a fancy synonym for ice cream. The Italian delicacy uses more milk and is churned at a slower rate—producing a denser, richer and even healthier frozen treat. Yet since crossing the Atlantic, gelato has never quite reached the popularity of other desserts like frozen yogurt or Thai rolled ice cream. As a result, gelaterias in the states are far and few in between and they often come with a hefty price tag.
That is, until LaVita came into town a little over two weeks ago. Still in its soft launch, the store is currently quite bare on the inside—its signs and decorations have yet to be hung up. No matter though, because the gelato and baked goods are out and ready to be served.
The shop offers over ten flavors of gelato and sorbet (the dairy-free cousin of the frozen dessert) including mocha almond fudge, dark chocolate, strawberry fresca, green tea, cookie dough, cherry burgundy, pistachio and mango sorbet. All are from the Gelato Classico brand, which, as LaVita’s owner Kate Grabarchuk explained, prides itself on its fixings.
“Instead of gels, powders and food colorings, the real ingredients—cream, milk, nuts, chocolate, fruits—are used,” said the owner.
As I sampled through the choices, I particularly enjoyed the subtle flavors of each one. Rather than rely on an overwhelming sweetness for the dessert, LaVita’s gelato lets the base flavors—whether they be chocolate, green tea or strawberry—do the talking.
I did, however, find that all of the choices were icier than what I would have preferred. Rather than smoothly melting in my mouth, the gelato required more bite. And as a result, I felt that the overpowering chill detracted ever so slightly from the depth of flavor.
That being said, the standouts for me were pistachio, which featured actual bits of roasted nuts to add a savory dimension, stracciatella, a surprisingly rich and creamy chocolate chip-like flavor, and blackberry cabernet, a juicy and tart sorbet seamlessly balanced by hints of the full-bodied red wine.
Another stand out at LaVita—the cost. With small cups priced at $2.99 and regular at $3.99, the shop finally offers a delicious alternative to the nearby Mission City Creamery’s pricier treats.
To top it off, with an assortment of baked goods—including butter leek parmesan pastries, mini chocolate croissants and apple lattice minis—as well as future plans to also sell coffee drinks, LaVita holds a lot of promise as a small eatery. Its presence adds serious excitement to the growing restaurant scene on The Alameda.
And thankfully, I don’t see my appetite for American ice cream returning anytime soon.
Contact Maura Turcotte at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.