By our guest writer Benny
One of the best pieces of advice that I have ever come across is to always eat the local food when travelling. I have added one important detail – ‘local’ includes any significant immigrant population, such as the many that have established themselves around Australia, enhancing our culinary landscape with incredible variety.
So you would have to ask why – on a Benny family trip to China – I would be looking for gelato? We had already been greatly disappointed when we indulged the youngest family member’s desire for Italian food, misled by the wall covered with ‘reader’s choice’ awards. But here I was, in Shanghai, searching for Gelato Dal Cuore (“gelato from the heart”).
The scent of fresh fruit as we entered was an auspicious beginning. And the attractive modern fit-out, with exposed brick walls and ample seating was an inviting space to linger over a gelato. Fresh flowers added a splash of colour. High on a shelf we spied recipe books from Pidapipo and Gelato Messina. Was there an Australian connection?
Although the gelato is not stored in pozzetti, the colours look very natural – everything is made fresh daily, with much of the menu based around fruits in season.
The friendly server had passable English skills (much better than my Chinese), and we were invited to taste from the 20 traditional and Asian flavours on offer. And they were very good – great flavours and excellent textures. All can be served in cups, house-made waffle cones (for an extra 5 yuan) or in tubs to take away. Waffles, affogato , coffee, specialty teas and hot chocolate are also available.
Phyrne declared her highlight to be the Almond coffee – excellent coffee flavour generously studded with caramel coated almonds (Dal Cuore makes its own caramel). She paired it with the Sicilian pistachio (also one of my choices) – as smooth, creamy and flavourful as any I have tasted.
Milk and Cookies (a clear pale blue from added blue pea) was a popular choice for the younger members of the tribe – they loved it. Jarred paired his with Mint Stracciatella (his all-time favourite flavour). Nancy enjoyed hers with Salted Caramel – she thought the latter a bit too salty at first, but it quickly grew on her and by the end of the cone she declared it delicious.
Midoly combined Almond Coffee with Tiramisu. A relative newcomer to quality gelato, she is now a dedicated convert and is insisting on coming on any further gelato quests I have in Shanghai.
Benny’s mum chose the Pineapple Szechuan Pepper (but declined the offer of an additional fresh grating of pepper over the top), and Roasted Apple. I had a taste, and the Pineapple was redolent of fresh, sweet pineapple, and the Apple was just like eating apple pie filling, with added depth from cinnamon.
And me? Despite a desire to try the Asian-themed flavours (including Durian), for my selections I stuck with the classics – Chocolate Fondant (dark and wonderful) paired with the aforementioned Sicilian Pistachio. Great individually and in combination.
Our initial sampling covered a few of Dal Cuore’s other flavours. Riso had a lovely vanilla flavour, but included hard bits of rice that were a little off-putting to some; Lychee Rose was a great example of the flavour of rosewater; Blackcurrant Grapefruit boasted a lovely purple colour from the blackcurrant and with a tang from fresh grapefruit. All had excellent texture. The only disappointment was the Persimmon, which some felt was a little bland.
Gelato Dal Cuore is only a year or so old and is a tribute to the efforts of two young entrepreneurs, Gerard and Lisa – whose English is excellent after seven years living and studying in Sydney.
Shanghai gets to taste some of the best Italian-style gelati, made in-house daily in small batches from fresh ingredients.
Gelato Dal Cuore
Shop 9 / 600 North Shanxi Rd
If you need to give directions to a taxi driver: