In a city like São Paulo with its mild climate, and millions of Italian immigrants, you would expect to find loads of good gelato. Instead there is a ton of picole (popsicles) and regular ice cream. Luckily for us, just down the street is Bacio di Latte (Kiss of Milk). On any given Sunday, you will be hard-pressed to find elbow room, let alone a chair, to enjoy your Pistachio di Bronte gelato, or any other of their 20 cream or fruit-based flavors. For me, on a cold day like today, or any other day, I could eat all of them.
Before Bacio di Latte opened, research led them all over Brazil, where they didn’t find anything that even closely resembled what was available in the most common shops in Italy. So they went to Italy, and the research continued. This is the kind of research I would die for.
While on their Italian adventures, Nick and his partner Edoardo Tonolli met one of the most famous gelato chefs, who offered advice: if you are gonna do it, do it right. Nick and Edoardo's Italian-imported machinery, freezers, and choice of ingredients show their commitment to the craft, as they serve deliciously smooth, almost tender gelato and use only the best ingredients. They clearly don’t skimp on their customers. They recognize that their customers deserve only the very best.
The communal table in the center is a great place to get to know your neighbor.
Milk-based gelatos keeping it cool in Italian freezers.
Sicilian Lemon Sorbet with lemon zest.
Maracujá (passion fruit) and chocolate topped with chocolate nibs, ready for the next dinner party.
Passion fruit gelato anyone?
The texture of the passion fruit close up.
Brazilian "Williams" pear.
They use chocolate from Belgium and the Ivory Coast.
Mint and chip gelato.
Bacio di Latte supports their local bakeries, and you can have a bear claw and a coffee during the colder mornings.
Their shop is simple, clean, welcoming, well-staffed, and located on the prestigious Rua Oscar Freire. Their quality puts their gelato and ice cream competitors in their place, for a fair price. As many of their competitors haven’t yet caught on, they encourage you to take any three flavors for their base price while the others allow only one.
The Scottish-born Nick Johnston, describes our attraction to ice cream and gelato as, “A sensory adventure that leads you nostalgically back to the sensation of cold, sweet textures--which was very exciting for us as kids."
The shop's ingredients come from all over the world: Sicily di Bronte pistachios (costly), Nocciola Tondo Gentile (hazelnuts from Piemonte, in northern Italy), Chocolates from Belgium and the Ivory Coast. Their "Typo A" Milk is from the best dairy in Brazil, raspberries from Chile, and all other fruits in their perfected form like maracuja (passion fruit), abacaxi com hortela (pineapple mint) can all be found locally.
The others just don’t compare. If gelato were boxing, and Nick and his partners were the trainers, they wouldn’t even let their contender in the ring with the other competitors--not because it wouldn’t win in the first round, but because other ice cream or the Häagen-Dazs down the street (which costs more) seems savage in comparison. It really is a lovely product with flavor that will knock you on your ass.
Milk canisters converted into stools. So cool.
Any day of the week, customers are trickling in throughout the weekday afternoons, some to reward themselves after their enormous workout, or a break from the office, or while walking their dog. They sit, and with that first taste they all do the same thing: close their eyes, and take a deep breath. Then smile.
But please, don’t call it ice cream. It's GELATO.