Thursday, July 5, 2012

Legato Gelato: This Week's Dining Review

Posted By on Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 1:14 PM

We may be in a sort of Golden Age of Ice Cream here in Nashville. Frozen desserts have always been something Nashvillians love to savor. Think about the popularity of the annual Miss Martha's Ice Cream Crankin'. But it seems like we keep rising to the next level of ice cream excellence.

Last year was the year of Jeni's, as the artisan ice cream maker out of Ohio chose Nashville as the place to open its first retail shop outside the Buckeye State. (Local joint Hot & Cold had already started serving Jeni's, along with delectable ice pops from Las Paletas and Bongo Java coffee.) Also from Ohio, the 140-year-old Cincinnati company Graeter's arrived in Nashville-area grocery stores last year.

This summer, we welcome a new mom-and-pop gelato shop, Legato Gelato. We've written about it here on Bites, and in this week's issue of the Scene, restaurant critic Carrington Fox tackles the enviable job of reviewing the impressive new gelato outlet.

Legato Gelato is the brainchild of local ice cream enthusiast Terri-Ann Nicholls. (It's a true family operation, Fox writes. Nicholls' physician husband, Berchaun, helped launched the business, and her mom, Esmin Miller, works behind the counter sometimes.)

And Nicholls' philosophy of simple, made-from-scratch gelato goodness is wildly successful, Fox says:

The beautiful intelligence of her 600-square-foot jewel box of a store has as much to do with what's not in the mix, so to speak, as what's in it. In Legato's mix, for example, there is nothing artificial. There are no dyes or hormones. There's no egg. (Much of Legato's sorbetto repertoire is vegan-friendly.) In fact, there's not even much cream to speak of.

This is after all, gelato, not ice cream. The traditional Italian frozen confection differs from ice cream in that it is made predominantly of milk and served at a comparatively warm temperature, where the dessert achieves the custardy consistency that you can usually only get by putting ice cream into the microwave for just the right amount of time. Meanwhile, without all the butterfat to coat your tongue, the flavors of the add-ins really pop.

Fox was also completely charmed by Legato Gelato's decor. As we know ambience makes a difference. Check out the full review here.

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