Worth the Wait: Johnny Gelato in Carmel

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Hi everyone, Katherine Curry, back on the ice cream beat.

When I walked into Johnny Gelato last Thursday afternoon, co-owner and gelato maker Meagen Fiore was in the back slicing fresh pears for her next batch of pear sorbet.  That certainly raised my expectations for the gelato, which I’d traveled quite a distance for.  Johnny Gelato (which is really in Kent but for mailing and GPS purposes it’s Carmel) in the Kent Shopping Plaza, is so far from me (almost 35 miles!)  that I never made it up to the year-old store for my summer ice cream odyssey.

But on my way back from lunch in Danbury last week, I decided to make a detour, and I’m very glad I did.

Here’s the cinnamon gelato, which pairs nicely with the delicious maple walnut gelato.

More photos after the jump…

Meagan and her father, John Mallegol, own the store together — previously they owned a cafe in Somers.  Johnny Gelato also supplies gelato to various restaurants and does special orders as well as cakes.

Among the reasons to like Johnny Gelato:  the gelato is made with fresh fruit and lots of creativity, service is friendly, and tasting is encouraged.  Everything I sampled was fresh, with a very good consistency and flavor.  Here’s the Halloween special, Graveyard, a rich chocolate gelato laced with Oreo crumbs and fudge.

The coconut gelato tasted like fresh coconut rather than coconut extract.  I’m a bit of a coconut-phobe so this wasn’t my favorite, but coconut lovers will adore it.  Melon sorbet was intensely melon-y and a gorgeous orange color (it’s on the lower left in the picture below).

I loved the sea salt caramel, which was rich and buttery, and the pumpkin gelato, which had a true pumpkin flavor with just a hint of pie spices  — too many pumpkin ice creams taste just like spice potpourri.  There are 28 flavors of gelato and sorbet on hand — the flavors rotate among a 70 flavor repertoire.

Here’s Meagan at work.

A small cup of gelato (which was plenty for me) is $3, a medium is $3.45, a large $3.95.  Toppings are 50 cents extra. There are waffle cones, plenty of toppings to choose from, shakes and malts, and even sugar-free gelato.

Another reason to like this shop: it stays open all year-round.  They’re open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m to 9:30 p.m.

Next time I go I’m bringing a cooler, so I can bring home a pint or two (I’m hoping the carrot cake gelato will be on hand).  Johnny Gelato has a Facebook page that’s frequently updated with the latest flavors and specials, including a gelato “happy hour” from 2 to 4 p.m., when shakes, floats and malts are 20% off.

The 411 on Johnny Gelato is coming.  Until then:

Johnny Gelato, 1110 Route 52, Carmel, NY.  845-225-0076.

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