Thursday, December 29, 2011
Cones, not more - reasonable by current standards for a gourmet gelato. And the flavors looked awesome, so sampling was de rigeur. And the quality was, let us say, extraordinary.
The exclusivity of retailers to New York City has become virtually a thing of the past. Many shops here are just part of national chains. And, places such as Amorino that establish themselves in New York City often open shops nationwide. Icons closely associated with the city, such as Tiffany's, Bergdorf's, Saks, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Bloomingdale's, Abercrombie & Fitch, Brooks Brothers, Henri Bendel, Macy's, et. al., can now be found in high-profile shopping malls. In Short Hills, New Jersey, the entire foregoing list of retailers can be found under one roof.
The lure of New York City is its unique character, merchants, and culture. Where is our future if the city's leading edge is dulled quickly by the dilution of locations everywhere else? I see this daily - both the rolling out nationwide of successful businesses started in New York City and, conversely, the migration of national retailers to the city - what the New York Times called the "malling of New York." Fortunately, the culture of people of various ethnicities and interests brought together in a salad bowl sustains the city's unique draw. And the enormous number and variety of residents and visitors still keeps some special businesses and food establishments afloat that could never survive elsewhere.
I was surprised and pleased to learn that Amorino, with 50 locations in Europe, has only one location in the United States - New York City at University Place in Manhattan, around the corner from my home. One of the most unique things about Amorino is that any number of different flavors can be combined at no additional charge, even in their smallest size. Another unique touch is that cones are fashioned into a flower using a spatula and flat slabs of the gelato. Amarino has gone the extra mile - everything is superb, from the store design and presentation to the product itself. The interior has a warm and organic feeling, with dark woods, stone floors, brickwork, and soothing lighting. Bas reliefs adorn the walls, and the place is replete with a fireplace.
This place is authentic all the way to its roots. Amorino was founded in Paris in 2002 by two Italian childhood friends, Cristiano Sereni and Paolo Benassi. The crowds in front of their shops are now much a part of Paris's summer scene. An artisanal product, the ice cream is made from organic and natural products with the highest quality ingredients possible and according to their own secret recipe. They also have a menu of pastry items and beverages. I suggest a visit. I'll be back to Amarino :)