Greenwich, Gelato and Champagne…
Rather an out of the blue invitation to go to Greenwich for an evening of gelato and champagne, but, not one I thought I should miss – well would you?
My original plan was to spend an hour or so wandering around Greenwich and taking photos but, I picked the coldest day we’ve had for a while…and in West London there were grey skies and drizzle. So, I left with just a few minutes to spare and made my way over to Cutty Sark station on the DLR. I’m ashamed to admit as a Londoner that I really don’t know Greenwich very well…and I didn’t expect the vision that greeted me when I emerged from the station.
The Cutty Sark re-opens to the public this month, April 2012 and is a true London landmark and national icon of British maritime history. She is one of the world’s most famous ships – the last surviving tea clipper and the fastest and greatest of her time. If you had no other reason to visit Greenwich, then a visit to the Cutty Sark would be enough! Of course there are other great landmarks at Greenwich, not least the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory, where you can find the spot that marks ‘Greenwich mean time’. So, once the weather finally settles into summer I shall go back and take a proper look around.
Yesterday evening though, the focus was on trying the artisan gelato at Black Vanilla. Their sorbettos and gelatos are all made on the premises and use the finest ingredients to ensure the ultimate taste experience. For me the revelation was how well-made gelato gets such a flavour explosion. I had an idea of a large freezer somewhere in the building with tubs of differently flavoured gelatos and sorbettos. But, that isn’t how top quality artisan gelato is made. They use a maximum of 5 litre tubs and each flavour is freshly made daily. During the winter months, they make their gelato up in half or even quarter quantities to ensure that the freshness of the flavour is never compromised. Nothing like my mum’s storage vats of strawberry sorbet that used to live in the freezer at home for a year or so…and just one of the contributing factors to the amazing flavours that Black Vanilla Gelateria produces.
We managed to try pretty well every flavour of gelato and sorbetto on offer last night. A total of 36 or 37 flavours.
My personal favourite was ‘Turkish delight’ which somehow managed to incorporate the most delicate rose flavour and something of the texture of Turkish delight in a gelato…and a close runner up was liquorice…again a very delicate gelato that was closer to the liquorice flavour you get from chewing liquorice root than to mass produced sweets. At times it really did feel like willy wonka’s ice-cream factory…especially when we tasted the lurid blue smurf gelato (the only one of the range with any food colouring)
Back upstairs to the champagne bar and lounge where we were served antipasti and more fizz, while Jeremy, the creator kept disappearing to bring us more gelato treats – affegato and mini cornettos for example.
My last taste of gelato was at the popular gelato gelupo where I had a gelato after eating at bocca di lupo that was nothing more than indulgence. This time, I got to taste and understand the nature of the product. And, now I just need that photography trip back to Greenwich to indulge in a a little more gelato and champagne at Black Vanilla!
Disclosure: I visited Black Vanilla Gelateria at the invitation of the owners and the evening was complimentary.
Royal Greenwich5 College Approach