Pedlar's Inn Gelato has now a serious competitor down the street. A young couple from Colombo just opened a gelateria with an inviting indoor and outdoor sitting areas few meters away from Galle ice cream institution.
The wife spent 3 months earlier this year at the famous Gelato University in Bologna, Italy to learn the tricks of the trade.
Isle of Gelato offers a wide range of homemade ice creams and sorbets, following an Italian recipe and using fresh local ingredients when available. According to the owners and gelato makers, no artificial flavourings or essences are used. The selection includes the classic Vanilla, Chocolate, Pistachio and also more sophisticated options like Banana & Kiwi, Zesty Orange & Cardamom and Buffalo Curd.
A good Italian friend of mine once told me that to assess the quality of a gelateria, you need to try their pistachio ice cream.
So we did. MAMAMIA!!! It was hands down the best pistachio gelato we've ever tried! One of the best gelato - regardless of the flavour - we've ever tried to be fair. It's creamy as hell, rich and subtlety salty. And the best part is that you do taste the pistachio (that came all the way from Italy) and not the artificial essence of pistachio. You have to try it.
We've paired it with the Caramel with Puttalam Salt. Winning match! As for the pistachio, texture and taste were spot on. And it hid some yummy chunks of chewy and crunchy caramel. Heaven!
Another match that we haven't tried (yet) but should do the trick is the Zesty Orange & Cardamom with Chocolate. The owner insisted, so we gave the Zesty Orange & Cardamom a go. It's his favourite flavour so far, and we're glad we did. Again, the texture was perfect and it was nicely tangy and spicy on the palate.
We also tried the Coffee gelato. You've got to be a coffee lover to go for this one. It pretty much tasted like an americano without sugar. The coffee aroma is really strong, unlike the presence of sugar. Being not big on sugar, it didn't bother us at all but I feel like it might be an issue for some people. The texture was a bit of a miss on this one. It wasn't as creamy as the others and was actually more similar to a sorbet consistency.
Some of my friends went for a sorbet. It was apparently surprisingly creamy and rich. Less refreshing than the usual but more "gourmet". An ideal gelato replacement for vegans.
Quality comes at a price, and Isle of Gelato isn't exactly cheap. 1 scoop sells for Rs. 350, 2 scoops for Rs. 550 and 3 scoops for Rs. 750. Given the quality of the ingredients and end result I still think it's reasonable and it's definitely worth it.
Decoration is strongly Scandinavian influenced: inside is all pastel and wood, with artificial flowers on the tables and nice copper lights hanging from the ceiling. Very trendy. Some big drawings of palm leaves on the wall remind you of the tropical location of the shop. Some of us found the interior design to be a bit cold, while others found it simple and modern.
We visited the place on the evening of their third operating day and it was packed with young people, locals and tourists. It gave the place a very warm and happening vibe. And good hope about its future.
Despite the crowd, service was quick, attentive and seemed pretty much under control. The 2 young owners were there on that day and were very chatty and cheerful. They explained to us everything about their gelato. They were also very helpful in advising flavours and encouraged us to try as many flavours as we wanted before hand.
Isle of Gelato is on the right track to become the new happening and buzzing spot for ice cream in Galle Fort. It's not cheap but their artisanal gelato are excellent and definitely worth the price. Go for it without hesitation.
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