I am lucky in that my place of origin is not too far from the city, New Hampshire being only a four-hour drive away. Because of this I usually get to spend some time with my parents in New York a couple times a semester. This semester we had a plethora of such opportunities, with my parents coming in for one of dad’s business trips and to see me in a show this past November. One such business trip visit with both my parents in town gave my mom and I had an opportunity to spend a beautiful fall day together uptown.
We started our afternoon at The Neue Gallery, a lovely gallery on the upper east side right next to Central Park focusing on Austrian and German art made between 1890-1940. We had lunch at the galleries Café Fledermaus, perused the exhibits, and took a pleasant amble through the park from the east side to the west. It was so pleasant to not only get a small nibble of nature, so often being confined to the grey stone enclosure of FiDi, but to be able to take in the quintessentially fall day with my mom, who is as wholeheartedly partial to the season as I. However, once we reached the west side and saw an ice cream truck roaming the side of the Museum of Natural History, an out-of-season craving kicked in that we could not deny. A frozen treat had to be acquired. We had, after all, done all of that walking.
Yet, while I do love a Mr. Softee cone, we wanted something a little more special on this mother-child afternoon. So a few more blocks were walked and we arrived at our desired location: Amorino Gelato on Amsterdam Ave. You may have seen their cones around Instagram, as the chain is known for the signature rose shape in which their gelato is scooped. While I was excited by the pretty shape, I was really interested in whether or not the flavor would be up to snuff, or if they were all about the aesthetic.
One of the great things about their method of scooping was that we could both get reasonably sized cones but still have two flavors because of the slivers that are used to create the petals of the flower. I got dulce de leche and hazelnut, while my Mom got a chocolate and salted caramel combo. Luckily the shop had ample seating that we were able to take advantage of, as it had just started to rain and the combination of rain and gelato would have been significantly less pleasant. My outside flavor was hazelnut. Growing up with strong Italian-American influence from my mother, there was always Nutella in the house which fostered my love for hazelnut flavor things. Sometimes I am disappointed with other chocolate-hazelnut flavored products, finding that the chocolate can overpower the notes of the nut. And even in products that boast a full hazelnut flavor, I then find that there is no strong flavor at all. No such disappointment was found in this gelato. Even the smell was a strong waft of hazelnut of which the flavor was reflective. One reason I love the hazelnut flavor is that it is bold and full, while not heavy. This was captured perfectly in the thick textural experience of the gelato. As I licked away the hazelnut petals I slowly reached the layer of dulce de leche which burst through with its sweet milky taste swirling perfectly with the hazelnut. I not only commend myself for choosing two flavors that work so well together, but the products for capturing their target flavor so fully and so well. I was not simply getting an overwhelming sense of cold, freezing out the possibility for strong flavor, which I find can topple possible frozen treat greatness. My mom had a similarly pleasant experience, both flavors and textures decadently combining. Not only was the gelato an image of beauty, but it served its purpose as a sweet treat with distinction.
Amorino has multiple locations throughout the city and throughout the world – it’s not your local mom and pop shop by any means. But if you’re craving some gelato and you don’t happen to be by a local shop on the streets of Italy, Amorino will get the job done admirably.