Art of Flavors Gelato
Art of Flavors Gelato—the truest named establishment in Vegas.
Gelato is one of my all-time favorite foods. However, it’s really easy to find bad, grainy, artificially flavored gelato in most places like grocery stores and dessert shops. It’s this conundrum that makes Art of Flavors (AOF) so precious. AOF is owned and operated by a passionate Venezuelan woman whose partner owns the soon-to-be-reviewed Viva Las Arepas next door. She takes pride in using high quality ingredients to produce her completely homemade gelato.
The best aspect of AOF is the creativity of the chef. Every day, she features at least one “Sapore del Giorno,” flavor of the day in Italian. These flavors range from familiar, like Twix Bar, to inventive, like Strawberry Balsamic with Black Pepper. I’ve even seen her serve a pickle sorbet! One of the most surprisingly delicious flavors is her Pear Gorgonzola, it’s just gently tangy from the cheese and sweet from the pears; the light flavors in this mesh so well that, without knowing the name of the gelato, it would be difficult to guess Gorgonzola cheese was an ingredient. On this particular day, I ordered two scoops; Twix and Spumone. Twix was a rich chocolate gelato which felt like eating a cold chocolate cloud, with a ribbon of soft caramel and chunks of Twix swirled in. And the Spumone was a mix of a fresh strawberry gelato, chocolate and the ever-delightful pistachio. The chef has the remarkable ability to concoct gelato with savory flavors and make it taste delicious as if red kidney beans naturally belong in dessert.
One of my go-to flavors is pistachio; it’s the best and truest pistachio flavored gelato I’ve ever tasted— you won’t find any almond extract here, despite the fact that many “pistachio” flavored ice creams are actually flavored with almond extract. The flavor is so nutty and rich, as if you’re actually eating cold and creamy pistachio nut butter. Another great element of AOF’s gelato is that it’s not too sweet. Each option has a balanced, light but present sweetness that accentuates the featured flavor and doesn’t overwhelm you with sugar.
Gelato is really cool because it’s like ice cream, but different. It contains less butterfat than traditional ice cream, but it is at least as creamy, if not more, than most ice creams. The machine that makes gelato prevents air from entering the gelato base as it freezes, thus inhibiting the formation of creamy-ness reducing ice crystals. Oftentimes gelato contains stabilizers that further maintain the creamy, silky texture (I do not know if AOF uses any added stabilizer). Also, gelato is generally served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream which allows gelato to be soft and creamy rather than hard and frozen. Furthermore, the lower fat content of gelato means that it takes less added ingredients to achieve strong and present flavors.
If you want to learn more about frozen treats like gelato, check out Ice Cream Geek.
Edited: operators of Art of Flavors and Viva Las Arepas are not married.