Bella Gelateria

Restaurant: Bella Gelateria
Cuisine: Gelato/Ice Cream/Desserts
Last visited: June 27, 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC (Downtown)
Address: 1001 W Cordova St (Corner of Burrard and Cordova)
Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 6
Service: n/a
Ambiance: 4.5
Overall: n/a
Additional comments:

  • Best gelato in Vancouver
  • Old-world hand crafted gelato
  • Authentic & traditional REAL gelato
  • Local/organic ingredients
  • All natural, no preservatives
  • Nuts and lemons imported from Italy
  • Owner/Maestro Gelatiere: James Coleridge
  • Daily/Weekly/Seasonal flavours
  • 6 changing flavours everyday
  • Made fresh daily
  • Traditional gelato is very soft and melts fast – not frozen hard
  • NO WHOLESALE! – Good thing! (To ensure quality control)
  • Water-based chocolate flavours – GOOD thing!
  • Special tasting event nights
  • Sun-Thurs 11am-10pm
  • Fri-Sat 11am-11pm

**Recommendations: EVERYTHING! My favourites are any of the chocolates, yogurt, fior di late, lavender, pistachio, almond, matcha, fresh fruit sorbet: Italian Sorrento Lemon, pineapple

Bella Gelateria is the most authentic and traditional Italian gelato in Vancouver, BC. It’s the best gelato I’ve had in Vancouver and comparable to what I tried in Italy. The Italian Consulate paid him a visit the day before and said the same thing.

It’s only been opened for 3 days and word of mouth has spread like wildfire! Fellow food blogger Sherman was 1st to recommend it to me followed by several friends. Being the ice cream and gelato lover I am I HAD to check it out ASAP.

I was on my way to Food Fight! Battle for Brunch when I saw Bella Gelateria. I heard the sounds of heaven’s gates immediately! I quickly ran inside because I had to meet this gelato master I’ve heard so much about. I pretty much poured out my anticipation I had for his gelato and promised I would visit him again after brunch.

Proud owner and Maestro Gelatiere James Coleridge is a true gelato master. He is passionate about his gelato and his gelato machines are the only ones in North America next to Wolfgang Puck’s.

I was beyond excited to try Bella Gelateria and the owner was very responsive to my energy and thus I was able to sit down with him and learn more about his passion for gelato. I tried every single flavour and because my order was complimentary I can’t comment on the service… but you can tell from my photos what he’s like!

He is Canadian and lived and trained at the Gelato school in Italy enrolling in their gelato program. He’s even competing at the Gelato World Cup! I didn’t even know any of these existed!

His motto is: “Noi Lo Facciamo Davanti A Tutti” means “We Do it in Front of Everyone”

Bella Gelateria has nothing to hide and James makes his gelato in front of everyone! He’s proud of what he serves and serves only the best. You can watch him peel fruit, zest oranges and handcraft all his gelato flavours.

Look how excited and passionate he is about his gelato! (I apologize for the glare)

All natural and organic ingredients. PROOF that he uses only fresh ingredients.

LOL! I love this pic! I also read the labels on his coconuts and they are all natural! He’s still trying to perfect his recipe for his coconut gelato.

What’s unique about his gelato is also the fact that they’re all covered! Authentic gelato must be covered because exposure to air creates crystallization. He makes his gelato in small batches to ensure freshness. I’m not sure if it’s made daily, but it’s pretty darn close to it. He’s constantly inventing new flavours and I can’t wait to try his lime cilantro sorbetto!

One of the best things for me is that Bella Gelateria does NOT wholesale! I love this. He has many requests for it, but to ensure his product quality and freshness he won’t do it. Now that’s passion and care for your product! He really means it when he says he believes in only the best.

On the table:

Definitely go for the large. Although it is about quality, it’s still expensive if you get a small. The medium and large are totally worth it and trust me you’ll want more than one flavour.

I started off sampling all his fresh fruit sorbets or sorbettos. James is teaching me about the California lemon sorbetto and Sorento lemon sorbetto. You can really taste the difference!

 

 

Sorbetto

**Apple Sorbetto

  • This was like eating a real frozen mashed up apple. It tastes like frozen apple pulp and it’s AMAZING. He hand picked the apples himself the day before.
  • The only other one that’s comparable to this is from Dolce Gelato in White Rock (and even James agrees). However it is better at Bella Gelateria.

This was a medium ($5.95) 2 flavours – Gewürztraminer sorbetto and Sorento lemon sorbetto. Both were palate cleansers and were very light and refreshing with bitter notes.

Myer’s Lemon Sorbetto

  • The Myer’s Lemon is the Californian lemon and it’s really tart. If you like very tart and sharp lemon then go for this.

**Sorento Lemon Sorbetto

  • I would rather have the Sorento lemon. He imports the Sorento lemons from Italy!
  • This is the most popular and traditional Italian flavour and this is what most of his Italian customers come for.
  • It’s not as tart as the Myer’s lemon and the tartness comes at the very end. It’s also sweet and very refreshing with slight bitter notes.

Next I made my way over to sample his dairy based gelato flavours.

Dairy Based Gelato

Cherry Di Amerena and Matcha Gelato

Just look at that texture! This is a medium ($5.95) and it’s Torrone and Yogurt gelato. Traditional and authentic Italian gelato is very soft and melts fast so be prepared to devour this in seconds! It’s not hard to do…:)

**Torrone (Honey Nougat) Gelato

  • This was possibly one of the best and favourites for me. This was delicious! It’s a favourite for many and there are little soft bits of honey nougat almonds throughout.
  • His gelato is almost stretchy and the flavours are really stretched out too. Since everything is so fresh and natural all the flavours are really strong and apparent.

  • It’s very creamy and soft like it should be, and it’s not frozen hard. It’s very pliable, but not chewy pliable like Turkish Ice Cream.
  • It was his only nutty flavour at the time and he’s waiting for his nuts to come in from Italy to make his delicious pistachio flavour. I can’t wait!

**Yogurt Gelato

  • This is real yogurt flavoured gelato! It’s delicious! It was tangy and thick and rich and creamy. It tastes like real thick Greek style Mediterranean yogurt. I loved this! He does import this yogurt from somewhere but I don’t remember where.
  • This almost tastes like a sweet and mild sour cream – it’s perfect. Trust me – try it and you’ll love it.

**Fior de Latte Gelato

  • Fior di Latte is the purest form of milk based gelato – basically sweet cream.
  • It’s really mild, smooth and neutral in flavour.
  • The taste is almost like gelato made from the freshest cow’s milk ever! Loved it!

Stracciatella Gelato

  • It’s the fior de latte base with chocolate chips in it.
  • He mixes in a little oil so that the chocolate chips don’t harden. They’re delicate thin flakes so they just melt in your mouth. There’s a slight crispiness and it’s amazing chocolate!
  • He uses only Michel Cluizel chocolate which is a high quality brand of chocolate from France.

Tahitian Vanilla Gelato

  • This was good, but I could use more vanilla bean flavour. The vanilla beans are imported from Tahiti and I could see the specs, but it wasn’t the strongest in vanilla flavor I’ve had.

Coffee Gelato

  • He had made this 10 minutes before I arrived so I was lucky enough to try a fresh batch. It was amazing.
  • If you like coffee then you’ll love this. It’s like eating real coffee. Strong and rich with a coffee aroma that lingers.
  • However I still love the Vietnamese Coffee gelato from Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie also handcrafted by Chambar‘s amazing pastry chef.

Last but not least I sampled his chocolate flavours. You must try or at least sample his chocolate flavours. His chocolate flavours are all water based so they’re very rich in chocolate flavour.

Chocolate Gelato Flavours

**Amarena Chocolate

  • Amarena cherries are very popular in Europe. I love them! I had them at Cin Cin’s in their Amarena Cherry Creme Brulee and it was fabulous!
  • It’s a sweet and sour cherry that usually comes preserved from Italy. I’m not sure if he uses the preserved kind here, but if he does it’s the only preserved thing he uses…
  • I find that most people are not fans of cherry + chocolate, but wait until you try this. It’s a true taste of Italy… along with the Sorento lemon sorbetto.

See! he hides nothing! You can see all his ingredients displayed in his open window.

He uses only Michel Cluizel chocolate from France, however I’d like to see him use chocolates from Vancouver’s most famous chocolatier Thomas Haas Chocolates.  They sell different products so I would love to see them collaborate! Together these two would be a force to reckon with!

85% Dark Chocolate

  • This is amazing. It’s for real chocolate lovers.
  • It’s sweet but still bitter and super thick! It’s so rich and creamy that a whole scoop may be too rich so I would need to balance it out with perhaps a vanilla or fior di latte. It almost coats your mouth and the flavour is intense!

**Gewürztraminer Sorbetto

  • I don’t know anyone else in Vancouver making Gewürztraminer Sorbetto.
  • I had to get it here because it is so different and unique. It totally acts as a palate cleanser.
  • Gewürztraminer is one of my favourite kinds of white wine. The gelato is made from local BC Sumac Ridge wine and it’s very light and refreshing.
  • It’s sweet, but also crisp and has bitter notes. The flavour is very clean and almost icy.

This was the most brilliant thing ever! This was from a random stranger and he is a genius. He got chocolate, vanilla and strawberry – REAL Napoleon gelato and the BEST Napolean you’ll ever try. I was so jealous that I didn’t get as creative.

This cone with 3 flavours was quite big and it’s only $6.95 – totally worth it! Even Marble Slab Creamery is more expensive and this is 1000 X’s better!

The waffle cones are not made in house and that’s the only thing that bothers me. I would have ordered one just to try it, but we were never asked and I totally forgot. I asked James about why he doesn’t make his cones, but he said he wants to specialize in gelato and be the best at that. While I understand that – I think making fresh waffle cones would just top everything off! Maybe some day he’ll change his mind…? A girl can only hope…

 

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