The Vibes: It. Gets. Packed. In. Here.
Good for: When you’re in the mood for a wholesome summer treat
When-to-Go: On hot, scorching July days like this
The $ Factor: $$: $4.25-$5.75 for cups/$8.95-$15.95 for take home containers; more than what you’ll pay for Baskin Robbins or Thrifty's, but, it’s also a whole lot more organic and healthier.
The 4-1-1: Two locations; one in Silverlake and one in Echo Park
I’ll Be Back…: To try out the seasonal summer flavors!
On an unusually scorching February day 2.5 years ago, a friend and I decided to hit up a Food Truck Festival in downtown LA. Upon arrival, it was literally a madhouse with thousands of people in line. I mean, really. You would’ve thought Michael Jackson had risen from the dead and was performing a free concert, the way that this line wrapped around blocks and buildings and parking lots. We waited for about five minutes before realizing we’d never get in. So we booked it to Silverlake for an impromptu al fresco lunch, a stroll down Sunset Blvd. and a chance visit to Pazzo Gelato.
And as summer starts to settle in once again, bringing high temperatures and heat waves, I felt compelled to suggest Pazzo Gelato as a refreshing, tasty way to beat the heat!
Let’s start by saying that this gelato ain’t your traditional, basic Italian gelato. This is gelato, California style. Think organic, think local and think fresh.
“I go down to the farmer’s market,” owner Mike Buch (pictured below) shared with me on one of my more recent trips to the Silverlake location. “I go down there, I hand pick the stuff and then we prep it. So each piece of fruit is rinsed. The stems are taken off. It’s the farmer’s market, so most of it is organic. There’s not a lot of pesticides, none of that stuff, so you know you’re gonna get little deficiencies in the fruit - you gotta chop them away. You gotta take out the pits. I mean there’s so much work put into it, to end up with that. And same with all of the flavors that we do.”
Well, all of that hard work surely pays off, because the sorbets that are 50% pure fruit and gelato that has approximately half less fat than rich ice creams are bursting with the distinct flavors of the fruits that they come from. My guava sorbet (pictured below) literally tasted like creamy guava – not too sweet or as if it had a lot of sugar added into it.
But Pazzo doesn’t just carry fruit-based gelato and sorbet – in fact, it carries pretty much any flavor that you could ever imagine, ranging from the widely known – like Italian Vanilla – to the more obscure, such as Avocado. Literally about a couple hundred different ones have been made since the establishment opened in 2005, and everyday they’re switching and swapping out new ones. You never know what will be awaiting you.
Also, another great aspect about Pazzo is that if none of featured flavors of the day seems to fit your fancy, you can always conjure up your own. For example, there are 18 different ingredients (including various spices, alcohols and fruits) to mix with four different types of chocolates. I’m not a math wiz, but I think that’s at least 72 new flavors right there alone. “If you can dream it up, we can make it,” Mike confidently assured me. But he warned: “I can’t guarantee that it’s going to taste good, depending on what you dream up.”
Most importantly, though, it’s all about the taste. I can’t stress this enough. Pazzo gelato and sorbets truly are the embodiment of the fruits, herbs and ingredients that they’re made from. I highly recommend coming here anytime you’re looking to beat the heat with frosty little treats made with highest quality of ingredients.
In closing, I thought I’d share a few of the flavors to check out this summer, as noted by Mike:
The summer pick: “Right now I’m gonna go with Santa Rosa plum. To me that’s summer. That’s summer in a scoop. You’ve got a little bit of tartness, you’ve got the sweetness and just that kind of unmistakable plum taste.”
What else is good to get: “Anything from the farmer’s market… you’ve got white and yellow peaches and nectarines, apricot…”
And the customers’ favorites???: “They go for sea salt caramel, red velvet, chocolate hazelnut, tai tea, tai tea with white chocolate or tai tea with toasted coconut and white chocolate. We also do a sea salt caramel with lavender and white chocolate which is really popular. And then almond fig is like old faithful. We’ve been serving that one since day one, and people just love it.”
But the ultimate favorite (no surprise here): “Anything chocolate. Sea salt caramel for sure…And red velvet.”
See you there soon!