Memorable | One of the Best
Review by: Michael Stern
Be skeptical when an ice cream shop says it makes its own. Too often, that means they buy a tub of flavored commercial mix and run it through an ice cream machine. Voila: “homemade” ice cream. At Il Bacio, flavors do not start as a ready-made mix. They are created by owner Tony Nascimento from scratch using quality cream from dairies that he knows, fresh fruit for fruit flavors, Madagascar vanilla, and imported chocolates. Not every batch is identical; banana, coconut, or mango flavors will vary subtly depending on the season and the ripeness of the fruit. Some batches of dark cherry chocolate have more cherries than others. To top cups and sundaes built upon this truly artisan ice cream, hot fudge is made with European cocoa; whipped cream is heavy cream that has been whipped, not chemicals sprayed from a can.
The efforts to which Mr. Nascimento goes are apparent in the gaudiest (and most popular) of his flavors, known as Cardiac Arrest. This consists of seven different chocolates, milk and dark, and is chockfull of big, dense chocolate chunks. It has a unique texture that is velvet-smooth and yet somehow magically grippy on the tongue – like no other ice cream I’ve ever eaten. It is overwhelmingly chocolaty – so much so that my stamina begins to falter into a second scoop and my chocolate lust is gone for the rest of the day.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, Vanilla Pudding (not always available) is custard-creamy, forceful in a completely different direction. Some flavors are good in less dramatic ways – Pistachio is notable for the abundance of firm nuts. Devil Dog does indeed contain squished Devil Dogs, but suspension in quality cream transforms them into proud pastry. Coffee-flavored ice creams pack refined coffee kick. Peanut Butter Oreo Cheesecake is downright psychedelic. Cupcake ice cream is birthday cake in a spoon. There are well over two dozen flavors available any day – these from a repertoire of some 500.
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