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Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Artisanal this and artisanal that - but, as Raul D'Aloiso pointed out last night at Cones, the word does mean something. Only a word, but most purveyors of foods wielding this word are taking it seriously and doing their work carefully. The extent to which most food artisans, such as the Doughnut Plant, are going with ingredient selection is extraordinary. Whether the customer is aware of the details or not, the result speaks for itself.

Gourmet foods are expected in a city like New York, and in the world of ice cream, expectations are not disappointed. Competition has gotten fierce, with more high-quality individuals sampling the products of the serious artisans. Once you have had the best, there is no going back.

Cones, Ice Cream Artisans, is located at 272 Bleecker Street in the West Village. The shop was started by brothers Raul and Oscar D'Aloiso, Argentinians of Italian ancestry. Oscar worked in the construction trade as a building site manager and was also a professional classical singer. Raul holds a master's degree in architecture - he worked in the profession both in Buenos Aires and in New York City after his arrival here in 1989. Inspired by the artisanal gelato of Buenos Aires and their disappointment with Häagen-Dazs (which had a flagship shop in Buenos Aires), the brothers decided to introduce Argentinian-style ice cream to New York City.

According to an article in the New York Times from 2003, New York City occupies an important place in America's ice cream history. Reasons cited are America's first ice cream shop in 1777, the patent for the cone-making machine of Wall Street restaurateur Italo Marchiony in 1903, and Reuben Mattus, a Polish immigrant and small-time ice cream maker in the Bronx responsible for Häagen-Dazs (and its short-lived New York-based imitators, Frusen Glädje and Alpen Zauber, made in Brooklyn). Sedutto's, the nation's first so-called superpremium ice cream, was founded in New York in 1922.

More recently we have the Cold Stone Creamery, Emack and Bolios (from Boston), the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, Ciao Bella Gelato, Fauchon, Grom,  Il Laboratorio Del Gelato, and the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream truck. There are still a handful of ice cream parlors too - Egger's in Staten Island, Hinsch's in Brooklyn, Jahn's in the Bronx (closed), and Eddie's Sweet Shop in Queens.
If you've read this article, consider your homework done - go out and try some artisanal ice cream at Cones :)

Note about Cones: The shop has focused entirely on quality of product and word of mouth and reviews (they received a 27 food rating from the Zagat Survey). There has been no advertising or marketing, and currently, Cones has no website.


Vivien said...

I tried ice cream in that store some times, it is delicious!

Anonymous said...

if you want a very good ice cream you have ti try "grom", 233 bleecker street or 2165 brodway, INCOMPARABILE

Naomid said...

Who has time for web design when you can spend a lifetime refining ice cream! Someone willing webby should make help them out!

Brian Dubé said...

Anon - I have been by Grom numerous times but the pricing seems crazy high. Maybe I will give it a try.

Hilda said...

Sigh. It's posts like this that makes me wish I could still eat ice cream. Though I think I'd have a hard time choosing just one or two flavors!