When I ran into Sherman at the Vancouver Foodie Tour earlier in the summer, he told me about a fantastic gelato place that had just opened at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Since I’m a huge gelato fiend and am always on the lookout for new gelato places, it was surprising that it took me a while before I was able to make it to Bella Gelateria, although it was not due to a lack of trying.
After wandering into Bella Gelateria’s small-ish space, Jenkins and I checked out all the flavours that were available that day and tried to decide what we wanted. I inquired if they had my two favourite gelato flavours, nocciola (hazelnut) and pistachio, but they were not available that day. Since many of their flavours are seasonal and the ingredients for some flavours were flown in from around the world, I was told that pistachio would not be available until later in the month. I was a little disappointed but that just meant I had another reason to come back.
After looking at the price list, Jenkins and I decided that it would be most economical for us to share a large cup, which would allow us to sample three flavours. After a lengthy process where I tried at least half the flavours available, I was ready to make my decision. Since strawberries were in season, I decided to have the strawberry gelato along with dark chocolate (80% if I remember correctly), and vanilla-ish flavour with hazelnuts (I can’t recall what it was called).
One bite and I knew that this was probably the best gelato that I’ve had so far in Vancouver and pretty close to some of the gelato I’ve had in Italy. The strawberry gelato was packed full of flavour and was only slightly creamy. I also really liked the dark chocolate, which had a really nice and dense, yet light texture and had just the right amount of sweetness to it. It tasted like a gelato version of a 80% Lindt chocolate bar. I was a bit disappointed with the vanilla/hazelnut flavour, which I found a bit too mild in flavour for me and for some reason, the hazelnut didn’t seem to stand out.
A few weeks later, I went back to see if Bella Gelateria had the pistachio available. Luckily, not only did they have pistachio, but they also had nocciola too! My friendly gelato server told me that the pistachios were actually flown in from Sicily. I suppose it’s not the lightest of carbon footprints, but I had to admit that the pistachio gelato had a ton of rich, roasted pistachio flavour to it. I almost wished that I received a bigger scoop of the pistachio than the nocciola. The nocciola was also quite flavourful and I could really taste the hazelnuts, which I enjoyed much more than the vanilla/hazelnut flavour I had tried a few weeks prior.
As with any gelato place, I found the flavours to be hit and miss, but since you are able to sample as many flavours as you like before actually making your order, you have the luxury of taking your time, provided there isn’t an impatient crowd of people behind you. Although the gelato is on par with some of the places you may encounter in Italy, the prices are definitely higher here. That being said, with the gelato at Bella Gelateria being much better than the other Vancouver offerings, I still find it to be a nice once-in-a-while great.
1001 West Cordova Street, Vancouver