Sunday, September 18, 2005

Scoops 3 - New York City Entry #9

Ask a stupid question department:

In my ice cream travels throughout the boroughs, I have puzzled how New Yorkers managed to bring pints of their favorite desserts home without finding a soupy mess. In Chicagoland we pop in the car and the pint is still chilled, at least if we choose our commutes well.

Today I returned to Park Slope for the gelato at Tempo Presto in Park Slope, and had answered what New Yorkers surely will surely label a foolish query.

On my recent tour of pizzerias, I hoped to detour to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, but perhaps my companions considered the potted herbs we spied a sufficient bout with nature. But with nudging from Steve R., I decided to make a Trifecta Sunday (the Brooklyn Museum, the garden, and another round of Brooklyn ice cream).

The advice was noble. Several of the flavors at Tempo Presto were inspired. TP specializes in gelato (and sorbetti), which, if made properly, will be more creamy in texture and more intense in flavor than American ice creams. Among the flavors offered are Nutella Swirl, Pistachio, Café du Monde, Cinnamon, Chocolate Sticks and Stones (peanuts and pretzels) (all milk based), and Mixed Berries (a sorbetti).

I selected Orange Cardamon, Caramel Swirl, Banana Bourbon Pecan, Tangerine Melon, and a taste of Concord Grape (the latter two, sorbetti).

The texture of all five were exemplary - smooth, not swollen; lustrous without being fatty. Although I typically prefer big bold flavors, I confess that the subtle Orange Cardamon was one of the most delightfully flavored ice cream I have tasted. One doesn't need much cardamon to make a point, and, as I enjoy ice creams that are not sticky sweet, the marriage of orange and cardamon was as inspiring as it was surprising. More traditional was the Caramel Swirl, a big flavor with intense caramel (and a ribbon of caramel) throughout. The third striking scoop was a Tangerine-Melon sorbetti. The mix of citrus with the sweet tartness of Cantaloupe was melodious - two fruits that belong together.

Less successful was an under-flavored Banana-Bourbon-Pecan. Like much rum raisin, BBP is designed for kids. I couldn't taste the bourbon, and, as is often the case, the taste of banana is readily hidden by the cream. Had I more than a taste, the Concord Grape Sorbetti might have appealed, but it lacked the puckery punch that I expect of Concord Grapes.

I anticipate revisiting Tempo Presto next spring when Prospect Parks's cherry trees is in bloom; perhaps cherry sorbetti will await.

To take my pint, I was provided a sturdy styroform tub (better living through chemistry!), able to hold my ice cream for two hours. Perhaps other parlors stock such marvels, but I am taking no chances. It will travel with me until the winter winds blow.

Tempo Presto
254 Fifth Avenue (between Carroll St. and Garfield Place)
Brooklyn (Park Slope)

No comments: