Italian Gelato at Prezzo – In Chains:
Prezzo has just introduced a new gelato range by Gelupo, bringing the authentic taste of real Italian gelato with a modern slant to the UK. The flavours and mix has been created by Jacob Kenedy, chef and co-owner of Gelupo, who spent time travelling across Italy to find what made the best gelato. The gelato by Gelupo is exclusive to Prezzo, and certainly adds a real taste and excitement to any meal.
I was asked to try the gelato range, so taking my teenage daughter and a friend, we turned up at Prezzo in Reading. It is well situated in a pedestrianized area, and is in part of the George Hotel building, which is a historic coaching house in the old part of town. Although it was mid-week, there was a steady flow of diners, many of whom were Italian; always a good sign for an Italian restaurant.
Knowing we HAD to have room to try the gelato, we skipped starters and went straight for the mains.
A lot of the Prezzo menu has been changed to include more fresh local products as well as subtle changes to the sauces and dressing to bring more of the modern Italian taste with traditional values to the UK. So it made sense to try some of the ‘new’ traditional items.
I chose the Pollo Carbonara, a traditional classic, freshly updated, with seasoned chicken, pancetta bacon, all in a thick egg enriched sauce. It was well presented in a deep bowl, parmesan and black pepper added at the table.
My daughter chose an Executive Prawn and Lobster Pizza, king prawns, lobster chunks, grilled courgettes, cherry tomatoes, roasted peppers, rocket and mozzarella, all served on a wooden pizza base. When it arrived even the table next to us couldn’t help but be surprised at how big it was; It may be a thin base of pizza dough but it was bigger than you could expect. She was certainly up for the challenge, and I hope the picture gives you some idea of the size.
My friend chose the Calabrese, with calibrese sausage strips, roquito chilies, roasted peppers, red onion, fresh rosemary, baby spinach and yellow cherry tomatoes. The meat was fleshy, and full of taste, the sauce adding the tomato flavors, almost as if a Tuscan sausage dish. The chilies nicely added the spice but not the heat, so no watering eyes or need to dive for a glass of water.
The Prezzo side dishes are well worth a look at, offering that extra touch of something special. We chose a bowl of Truffle Oil Infused Fries. They arrived in a large bowl, more than enough to share and were full of the taste and aroma of truffle. Fries go well with most dishes, but if you like mushroom then these are a real winner. We all shared them, leaving only an empty bowl.
Then on the Gelupo Gelato. There are four flavours to choose from, and each one can be ordered individually or mixed with other scoops to give you a full taste.
The flavours are:
Amaretti Gelato – Amereti biscuits mixed in with creamy gelato makes this a real almond aroma feast. Very smooth throughout, this is an ideal partner for a long coffee.
Banana Stracciatella Gelato – Ripe bananas with flecks of dark chocolate, mixed with malt, brings out the sweet softness of the flavours without overpowering. This was a favourite around the table, the malt almost hiding any banana and leaving a wonderful lingering flavor.
Hazelnut Gelato – 100% piedermontese hazelnuts, ground and dark roasted, adds a crunch to the creamy gelato. Asked what it tasted like, I simply got told ‘yum’
Cherry Sorbet – Chunks of sweet black cherries mixed with amerena (wild sour cherry) to give a sharp full flavor. The mixed ice adds a crush to the taste that simply delights and refreshes.
We asked our waitress what were the kitchen favorites, and she said everyone had their own choice. Some liked the creamy hazelnut, others the sharp cherry. She added, with a twinkle in her eye, that they did all enjoy the sampling when they were first being made.
The crown in the Prezzo Gelato offerings is the Gelupo Gelato Burger, for those that want more than a scoop. This towering delight is two of your choice scoops of gelato between a toasted brioche bun. It is almost a meal in itself. The brioche soaks up any of the gelato that melts, infusing it with all the flavours you can imagine. I chose a Cherry Sorbet and Amaretti Gelato; the cherry being wild and busting with flavor, the Amaretti more subtle and an ideal way to close the evening.
At £1.95 a scoop, the gelato is worth sampling not just with lunch or dinner, but also as an afternoon fancy with a coffee or even a mid morning treat. It really is good, and you biggest problem may be deciding on your favorite flavour, so have a scoop of each.