Emiliano Cecchetti and Mauro Bernocchi take the art of gelato making very seriously. Cecchetti, a graduate of a gelato university in Bologna, Italy, takes a scientific approach to making gelato — a method free of sucrose, lactose and high fructose corn syrup. Flavors range from chocolate to peach to hazelnut, and the mouthwatering selections are displayed on a clean, bright screen behind the counter.
The calming purple-and-blue-themed shop kept concealed their cool treats in metal containers with lids on top. The in-house kitchen, of which customers have a clear view from the counter, was filled with metal pipes and large tanks. These things — combined with the electronic menu screens — created a streamlined, clear-cut atmosphere almost like that of a laboratory. But strangely enough, the rest of the shop was like a fairytale dream. Chandeliers and ornaments that seemed like they belonged in a mansion or castle dangled from the ceiling, which was painted like a sky. Pure white ornaments, candles and crystal glasses decorated the wooden tables, giving the shop a backyard-picnic feel. Light purple and white stripes colored the walls, and customers sat in simple, modern white chairs. It was like I was eating gelato at a garden party, and I was perfectly content.
Being an adventurous foodie, I decided to try a flavor called Zest, which is the grapefruit, orange and almond flavor. It was delicious. The three flavors complemented each other well, and the lighter citrusy taste washed out some of the strong, nutty almond. At first bite, the grapefruit and orange hit my taste buds, and the almond slowly crept its way into the mix. Sometimes, pure nut flavors in desserts tend to be too overpowering, strong and buttery to eat that much of or even finish the dessert, but with a citrus flavor, the final taste was a beautiful blend of grapefruit, orange and almond. The texture of the gelato was very creamy and buttery — it was obvious that it was freshly made. I was also able to see small chunks of almond, orange and grapefruit in the beautiful, rosy gelato. The more I ate, the more I became satisfied with it — this was the first time I had seen such a unique combination of fruits and a nut, and it was one of the best I had tasted.
The unique flavors and gorgeous decorations make this gelato shop stand out among the many gelato and ice cream shops in Berkeley. No other shop has such a calming and sunny environment in which to enjoy gelato, and the ambiance makes the shop just that much better. When both the dessert and the atmosphere are excellent, the experience becomes one in which time seems to move more slowly, as you sit down, relax and savor your food, forgetting the rush of people and reality.