9.26.2013

Gelato, Turtles, and Ancho Chile Chocolate

There's a lovely, tiny little gelato and chocolate shop in downtown Lisle, Illinois that has captured a corner of my heart.

The lovely proprietor is always there, with a bright smile, and a quick, agile, hurried step taking care of each and every customer and making everyone feel special by taking a moment to chat a little.

The huge refrigerated case featuring a rainbow of spectacularly creamy gelato bowls as you walk in, shines in stainless steel and creamy goodness. If that's not a welcoming sight, I don't know what is.

Bacio, melon, mint, fior di latte, nutella, much and more are featured flavors but they change on each visit. I love seeing the European handwriting lovingly labeling each gelato bowl's label on hot neon color paper in clear plastic holders.

There are hot beverages as well. I always get an ancho chile hot chocolate on my visits, be it summer, fall, winter, or spring. There are a variety of hot chocolates and also a selection of espresso beverages.

A little glass dry-erase board announces some specials or just treats to entice customers: fizzy ice cream beverages, an affogato, an affogato with chocolate! There's something for young and old alike.

I always try to look for the candied orange peel dipped in dark chocolate, and their handmade turtles (six to a box for $3.95 each unless it's buy two get one free!).

The proprietor's hair today was very like my grandmother Wanda's used to be: grey with a touch of lavender, parted almost in the middle but mostly on the side, tucking the sides of her angled bob behind her ears with long hairpins. Freshly washed and fluffy.

Ahead of me was a mother and her Catholic school uniform clad daughter getting a cappuccino and a milkshake with whipped cream. Both mom and daughter opted for adult and kid versions of frothy specialties. They grabbed a table near the large window at the front.

Meanwhile, towards the back, there were two customers seated at the table chatting away. I peeked past them to the very back of the store, through a little tight corridor where I believe the restroom is located, to some space beyond that isn't being used. Perhaps it's opened up for special events like birthday parties and other special occasions which call for her famous chocolate fountain and dippable delicacies.

I come in the store, wait my turn, and every little thing I notice, such as how the "O" is shaped on the "Bacio" gelato label, transports me a little bit back to the Italian Riviera, and a small smile starts to emerge on my lips--as some happy memories of my maternal grandmother and my long-ago home flash through my mind.