Spring Training for Ice-Cream Eaters

Capogiro Gelato Artisans' tartufo.
Capogiro Gelato Artisans’ tartufo. Photo: Grub Street

Ice cream is having an excellent preseason, what with the recent arrival of a stationary Van Leeuwen in Greenpoint, the impending mega-expansion of Il Laboratorio del Gelato to Houston Street, and the belated addition of soft serve to the repertoire at the new Cobble Hill branch of Blue Marble (which, incidentally, has become a wild weekday-afternoon rave of sorts spilling out onto the sidewalk with infant sugar addicts, chocolate-mustachioed toddlers, and menacing stroller-moms). More good news on the horizon: Next month, the General Greene’s Nick Morgenstern plans to strategically position a Greene Ice Cream cart outside Five Leaves, a mere cone’s throw from Van Leeuwen. And just this week, a Philly import has landed on the dessert menus of a few local restaurants, and should not be overlooked, even by the staunchest lacto-locavore.

Capogiro Gelato Artisans, Philadelphia’s highly acclaimed gelateria, has just introduced its tartufo, the baseball-size Italian classic that typically encases a fruit filling and two flavors of ice cream in a chocolate shell. Why is this news, exactly? In most cases, the dessert, an ice-cream truffle of sorts, is made with industrial-grade ice cream and is practically impossible to eat, or at least not worth the effort, its outer casing so impervious to the spoon’s assault that the whole mess goes flying. In Capogiro’s version — which can currently be sampled at Gottino, Fornino, Essex, and Inatteso Pizzabar Casano — the fruit is an amarena cherry, the gelati are characteristically dense, but creamy chocolate and hazelnut, and instead of a shell, the outer coating is a flurry of deep, dark Valrhona cocoa powder, allowing for effortless (if still fairly messy) eating.