Smack dab in the middle of a somewhat seedy industrial area in Vancouver is perhaps the BEST gelato shop EVER. That's right. La Casa Gelato on Venables.
I hadn't been down there in years, so I had forgotten quite what a spectacle it is. I should have known we were in for a not-just-your-typical ice cream shop when every surface in the parking lot except the ground was painted pink! (Yes Sarah! Even parking lots can be pink! ;) )
We could tell we were coming up on it because of the hordes of people on the corners of an otherwise fairly unpopulated stretch. When we got out of the car, we were greeted with live music from the steel drum player outside and the conversation of dozens and dozens of people.
As we opened the doors, our senses were overwhelmed: sights of at least a hundred people, smells of sugary waffle cones and candy, sounds of a super perky Italian version of Oh Suzanna blaring on the loudspeaker... we weren't entering an ice cream shop, we were entering a circus! A delicious, delicious circus.
La Casa Gelato is famous for having over 200 flavours of gelato and sorbet. Two hundred and eighteen, to be precise. And that's just what they can serve at any one time. Apparently they have five hundred and eight in the rotation. And hoo boy do they have some interesting ones. A smattering of the gelato flavours I sampled: fennel, pear and gorgonzola cheese, balsamic vinegar, wild mushroom, basil, spicy yam, cranberry vodka, lavender, garlic... I'm sure there were more, I just can't think of them. I've heard of beer, jalepeno, curry, carrot, and rose, too, but they weren't out that night. I really didn't feel it necessary to try the "corn" flavour. That just kinda grossed me out. They also had "rice." But really. What would that taste like? I ended up with chai tea and lime tequila. Soooo yummy!
I pretty much think you could have a whole meal there, don't you think? All food groups represented! Mmmmmmm!
We ate our gelato in the courtyard across the street, enjoying the live music, the kids with ice cream dripping down their faces, and the warm summer breeze. I SO have to go back there! What fun!
Well, except for the corn flavour. Blech!
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