Imagine any flavor of gelato and Il Laboratorio del Gelato probably has it. With 41 rotating flavors every day, this gourmet ice-cream parlor has a collection of more than 275 gelato varieties.
From the street, onlookers can peek through the glass windows of this gelato laboratory to watch the experts hard at work whipping up new batches and inventing new flavors. Il Laboratorio del Gelato makes all of its gelato and sorbet from scratch and each step of the process—from peeling fruits to freezing the gelato mixture—is done in-house. Most of the gelato and sorbets are made with locally sourced ingredients, and the shop prides itself on using organic products whenever possible.
Despite the vast collection of intriguing flavors, the shop’s most popular flavor is the plain and simple vanilla. Made with homemade vanilla extract, this basic flavor has helped the shop attract numerous walk-in customers, restaurants and catering companies. Jon Snyder, the owner of Il Laboratorio del Gelato, believes in producing pure flavors rather than the mashups you get from a company like Ben & Jerry’s. However, this does not stop Jon from experimenting with funky new flavors. Avocado, olive oil, Guinness and cheddar cheese are amongst the more adventurous flavors that the shop has offered in the past.
For each flavor, Il laboratorio del gelato tries to be as simple and basic as possible. For example, the creamy apple cinnamon gelato is embedded with fresh ground cinnamon and small bits of apple. Neither too heavy nor too creamy, the gelato here is a perfect treat at any time of day. The same goes for the sorbets, which are all well-balanced and taste just like the real fruit they are made with.
Address: 188 Ludlow St. (at Houston)
Hours of operation: Mon–Thu: 7:30am to 10pm, Fri-Sat: 7:30am to midnight, Sun: 10am to 10pm