Finding Delicious Gelato in AZ

It would have been so easy to title this entry inappropriately. But that wouldn’t be right for this delightfully family-friendly, 70’s retro gelato shop in amazingly quirky and wonderful Bisbee, AZ. 

We visited Pussycat Gelato in the second month they were open, so be sure to call before assuming any of this is still accurate. But whatever the deal is there, you’ll want to go! 

Covered in female-centric pop culture and playing retro cartoons, Pussycat Gelato is a delightful place for coffee, Happy Hour and of course gelato or sorbet. We visited during the monthly Friday arts night when local downtown businesses stay open late for shoppers. Their presentation was wonderful. Even when customers came in behind us, they insisted we try as many flavors as we liked and happily made recommendations. They also had an “experimental” flavor we could try and give feedback on. 

Best of all? As we finished our gelato, they came back with samples of new flavors and asked for our feedback. They repeated this multiple times once it was clear we gave good feedback. It was so much fun and it made it clear to us that they will go far as a business because they solicit feedback and keep working to improve. 

The business fits perfectly in quirky, hip Bisbee, AZ. They told us they were hoping to open another location in Phoenix in the future based on the feedback they were getting, and according to their website, they’ve opened a Scottsdale, AZ location since our visit. 

The wife of the ice cream maker mentioned the fun combination of an older retro style parlor with the new quality gelato. It really is a great combination. 

Prices weren’t cheap, but given the amazing service we would happily pay more. And consider getting a cannoli with ice cream – such a unique option. 

This was not your average visit. Although I prefer the creaminess of ice cream over gelato, I enjoyed the experience and the tastes I got here. Be sure to check them out if you’re in town.

The flavors:

Strawberry Cheesecake – We both got this. It’s a very prominent cheese flavor with tasty, if not fresh, strawberries. The strawberries plus cheese makes this reminiscent of the traditional dessert, minus the crust.

Chocolate-Covered Cherries – A vanilla-based ice cream that’s full of flavor and really lovely. The high-quality chocolate melts in your mouth, and the cherry and chocolate aren’t sweet which is great. 

Star Anise – Ross calls this one perfect for after curry. We love the kick afterwards and the delicate flavor here. 

Mexican Coffee – Very bitter, as you’d expect with coffee. Ross’ type of flavor. It adds a bitterness to the chocolate base, and thechocolate-covered expresso beans are a plus.  

Irish Cream – Very creamy but very light. Bailey’s can be intense, but this is balanced really well, not overpowering. It’s finished with a smoky whiskey flavor that pairs well with Mexican coffee. It’s really the perfect strength and balance. 

A cookie came with our dishes – it’s very good, thin, fluffy and breaks easily, like a plain cone but more wafer-like. Imagine a nutter butter. It’s sweet and fun to eat and a nice alternative to a cone. 

Taste Test Results:

His old version of pistachio was very good, sweeter and more like pistachio ice cream than I expected. 

The new version was excellent – much more like the nut, with an earthiness to it. 

The old caramel was very salty and interesting. The new one has fantastic chunks and is much more well-rounded and balanced. 

We tried plenty of other flavors too, so don’t be afraid to ask. Thanks to Pussycat Gelato for a fantastic evening!

p.s. Thanks for supporting the blog by doing your usual online shopping via my Amazon affiliate link!

Stumbling Upon Gelato in Fort Worth, TX

People often ask me how I choose which ice cream (or gelato, or frozen yogurt) places to visit. Although I aspire to visit EVERY homemade ice cream place out there, my time and budget certainly don’t allow that. So I tend to do some research, read reviews and narrow my search down based on where will be convenient for me, their menu offerings and what I’m betting will be best based on reviews. 

But that isn’t the whole story. Sometimes I will be exploring a town or a city and I will literally pass an ice cream place that I hadn’t realized I’d be seeing. At that point, I do a little research, consider how hungry I am and how much money I’ve got for a treat. I’m certainly more likely to visit if it’s right in front of me. 

So although gelato isn’t my favorite treat, when I saw Paciugo calling to me as we explored the Christmas lights in Fort Worth last year, I decided to give it a look. (I was also craving ice cream but there wasn’t a homemade place nearby.) It turns out they’re a chain with locations in about ten states, and their gelato is made on site. They also have a nice coffee menu, and if coffee plus gelato sounds like a fun combination to you, you’ll enjoy it even more. I decided to check out a couple of flavors. My husband Ross stuck to a hot black coffee, which he was pleased with. The prices were on the higher side for smaller portions but we were in a fancy part of Fort Worth so it felt kind of normal. Here’s what I went with. Wild Berries: The true fruity taste of this is lovely. It’s actually dairy-free too. Delightful and not overly sweet with an awesome fruit tang. A nice mouth feel too.

Milk Chocolate: This gelato has a very nice feel, with a rich milk chocolate flavor. It reminded me of an excellent drinking chocolate. 

Ross enjoyed both flavors a lot too, and I also recommend the combination. Although this is so far the only location I’ve visited, I would definitely recommend Paciugo when you’re craving a tasty dessert. Do you have a favorite place to get gelato?

p.s. Thanks for supporting the blog by doing your usual online shopping via my Amazon affiliate link!

Destination Disney World

Q: What’s better than going to Disney World?

A: A free trip to Disney World – or at least free housing and park tickets.

Q: What’s better than a free trip to Disney World?

A: A free trip to Disney World where you make it your goal to eat great ice cream!

Well, clearly we know what I set out to do on this trip. First, the quick backstory if you didn’t deduce it above – my husband’s sister and her husband, as our wedding present, paid for our hotel and park tickets for a week-long adventure at Disney World. Ross, my husband, had never been before, and I had only been for a couple of day trips, so we were ridiculously excited.

Being the planner that I am, I handled the reservations and did FAR too much research to know where and when would make the best use of our time and money – and feed our interests (and bodies) in the best way possible. It’s amazing how many Disney boards there are online that one can spend days visiting. But I digress.

Of course, I also started In Search of a Scoop only a week or so prior to leaving, so I knew one of my goals needed to be to take good photos of ice cream. Well, at least photos. 🙂

So, first of all, if you want to get live updates on ice cream occasionally, be sure to follow me on Facebook. I’ve gotten some great recommendations for future visits there (as well as here – thanks to all who commented!) and I shared a couple of photos of ice cream (including a ridiculous sign) while I was at Disney. You can expect me to indulge in an occasional live update there (and eventually Instagram when I get that rolling) in the future.

But now, I need to get into what you’ve all been waiting for…

How was the ice cream?

Pinkberry – Orlando International Airport IMG_2234

I’ll start with Pinkberry at the airport. My prior experience with Pinkberry previously in NYC was absolute raves, for pear and for pumpkin. Unfortunately when they stepped away from these tangier fruit and such flavors, the vanilla and the chocolate hazelnut at the airport were nothing to write home about.

The vanilla had the requisite vanilla bean-esque flavor, and the chocolate hazelnut was also tasty, but they were far too watery and you definitely missed the fat – they didn’t hide their healthy yogurt quality at all. Would we eat it again? Sure, if we really were craving soft serve. Definitely middle of the pack at best, but it’s pleasant. But if you’ve got the choice, stick to fruit flavors at Pinkberry and you’ll be much happier.

L’Artisan Des Glaces – Epcot, Walt Disney World IMG_2418

Oh my goodness. When you’ve only got five (and a half) days to see everything, and you visit the same place three times, you know they’re doing something right.

I had heard absolute raves about this place. It’s in France, of course. No seating, but it’s a gorgeous, old fashioned ice cream counter with whites and pinks. Absolutely lovely. One quirky thing (which I liked) is you decide on the size, pay, and then decide on the flavor. Pretty great.

The chocolate macaron ice cream sandwich came highly recommended. Because Ross and I were planning to eat our way through Epcot, we agreed we would split it. This is insanely delightful. It’s a rich dark chocolate – not bitter, but not too sweet, which was a welcome change in a chocolate ice cream. All of the sinful creaminess you’d wish for, no ice of course, just the perfect consistency. And on either side, the chocolate macaron cookie shell, which was a little chewy and hard – that meant it held up to the ice cream and it wasn’t too cold to bite. It also wasn’t too cold to eat on a cold day. The light chocolate flavor of the macaron was the perfect contrast with the ice cream. I wouldn’t change a thing!

On our second visit, I tried vanilla with pear and chocolate – the best part was the large, juicy chunks of pear. I appreciated the flavor but it wasn’t my favorite – I wished I’d gone with something more simple, like the caramel fleur de sol that Ross chose, which was out of this world and completely smooth and consistent. So on our third and final visit of the trip, I got the caramel option while Ross went for one with nougat and nuts – he enjoyed it a lot, thought it was great, just not as good as the caramel.

So if you’re visiting, definitely get a macaron sandwich. And then the caramel. You won’t regret it!

Aloha Isle, Magic Kingdom IMG_5287

Dole Whip. That famous non-dairy, vegan delight that has an incredible cult following because it’s almost impossible to find outside of Disney. I’d never had it prior to this trip, and I was eager to give it a go. Pineapple dole whip is like soft serve ice yogurt – it doesn’t have any fat, but it isn’t watery at all – it’s a perfect consistency, and it kind of reminded me of something you’d get when you were in the mood for an awesome popsicle. It’s definitely refreshing.

The next day in Animal Kingdom, I visited Tamu Tamu Refreshments on a mission for pineapple dole whip with dark rum. (Coconut rum is also an option.) Dark was the perfect rich contrast with the pineapple of the dairy treat. I absolutely loved this sweet adult treat and recommend it when you can’t decide between dessert and a drink! (Or do what I did, and get both this and a drink! Just not at the same time.)

Intermission Court, All-Star Music Resort IMG_5445

For those not in the know, All-Star Music is at the bottom of the totem pole of Disney hotels. It would be a budget motel anywhere else. No room service (except pizza delivery), and a cafeteria instead of any fancy food options. But it really fit the bill for us! We loved it, and we had very good food the few times we tried it.

As we sought ways to pass the time in our last hour or so at the hotel, I suggested that I should really visit their gelato bar. The nice woman behind the counter read off the flavors to me (there was no sign) but one of them I just couldn’t understand. I kept hearing OO-ta-la, with the emphasis on the first syllable. Finally she just handed me a sample – and it was Nutella! Sold. Tasty hazelnut base with streaks of chocolate syrupy fudgy goodness. Best gelato ever? No. Replaces ice cream? No. But very, very tasty and I’d eat it again in a heartbeat! Probably a 7 out of 10 if we were keeping score.

Well, that’s where my Disney adventures led me. I have many more posts to come – in fact, I went to Friendly’s last night with my mom, so you can look forward to a report on what this local chain is up to – but I’ve far exceeded my word limit for today. Find some good ice cream to enjoy this winter, and I’ll talk to you soon!

IMG_2447

p.s. Have suggestions for how you’d like me to score these things or comment about them? Don’t hesitate to reach out. 🙂

Let the ice cream madness begin!

I’ve been pondering the creation of an ice cream blog for a long time, and about six months ago I decided yes, I will do it, and it’s a question of when, not if, I begin it.

Well, the start of a new year seemed like as good a time as any, so here’s my first post!

So – why am I qualified to blog about ice cream? Well, let’s give a quick bit of history, in the form of some facts about me.

#1 -I’ve been obsessed with dessert ever since my parents introduced me to sugar at age 1. (Yes, they waited that long! Unfortunately the late introduction didn’t keep me from indulging.)

#2 – As a kid, I hated kid stuff. From age 6 on, I refused to eat from a children’s menu because they were for babies. And I would always, ALWAYS finish my (adult size) dessert. This trended has almost entirely continued into adulthood – even as I have become a very healthy eater (meat once a week or so, member of a CSA for five years, avoiding processed food, etc.), I have always maintained my love of dessert, with ice cream and frozen yogurt being an almost daily indulgence.

#3 I am obsessed with hand-crafted ice cream. I seek out the homemade stuff wherever I go, and in New Hampshire, where I’ve lived for most of my life, it’s pretty easy to come by, at least during the summer. I am the only person I know who has driven an hour just to get ice cream at her favorite place on many occasions (multiple times a summer). When I’ve lived near summer ice cream stands, or worked near summer ice cream stands, frozen yogurt for lunch was a once or twice weekly endeavor. (For example, see below – a lunch of honey Greek yogurt and some sort of blueberry swirl at Northland Dairy Bar in Berlin is about as good as it gets.)

Northland Dairy Bar Ice Cream Lunch

#4 Ice cream stands are destinations to me, and I relish exploring new ones. Classic flavors are great, but I also really enjoy trying adventurous flavors that I may never find anywhere else.

#5 I think ice cream is the best dessert out there. Gelato is delightful. Frozen yogurt, good frozen yogurt, gets extra health points (probiotics! usually less fat!) and is therefore a staple of my diet. Also, it isn’t really a birthday party without ice cream cake.

#6 I believe that year-round ice cream parlors should be the norm, even in cold climates, and I therefore believe it is my obligation as a good citizen to patronize these institutions, even when the temperatures are below freezing.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ll subscribe and follow all my adventures as I visit the best ice cream places. Have ideas of where I should go? Don’t hesitate to reach out!