Gelato at Pandolfi, 50th & France

Lars Swanson / Heavy Table

There’s a great place to get gelato in Edina if you know where to look.  Seriously, it’s not obvious.  From the street you can see neither the store nor any signage.  It’s tucked into the recesses of the shops on 50th & France like a speakeasy, in the tiny alleyway next to the rear entrance of Mozza Mia, just south of the large parking ramp off 49 ½ Street. With the quality of gelato being served there, it’s not likely to stay hidden for long.

Pandolfi Candy, Gelato & Gifts is the brainchild of Jeanne Riha (above). Open for only two and a half weeks now, Pandolfi is a family affair — branded with Riha’s mother’s maiden name and operated with her husband and two young daughters.  It’s a family oriented shop, with all sorts of candies, chocolates, and knick-knack gifts making for an eclectic and welcoming vibe. But the real draw here is two dozen flavors of Palazzolo’s gelato and sorbetto. It’s the only shop in Minnesota to carry it.

“It’s made from scratch and it’s made to order for me,” says Riha. “A lot of gelato is made with a powder that’s reconstituted and you add in the nuts or whatever else.  It’s fine, a lot of gelaterias in Italy do it that way, nothing wrong with that at all.  But I just like that this is made from whole ingredients. And it’s not sitting in a deep freeze for six months before I get it.” After sampling multiple flavors, I can confidently say that the buzz about Palazzolo’s is warranted — it’s top-notch gelato all around.

Lars Swanson / Heavy Table

The Triple Dark Chocolate has a deep flavor with small chocolate chunks — though it’s not quite distinguishable from every other premium chocolate ice cream you’ve ever had.  Instead, try the flavors you’re less likely to see in the freezer aisle. Here’s the money combination: the Coconut gelato, with its light and clean flavor and little strands of coconut, topped with the super refreshing Raspberry sorbetto — wonderfully studded by chunks of partially frozen berries, with a flavor as bright as its color is red.

This author spent four months living above a gelateria in Rome.  After exhaustive gelato study, it’s my opinion that nut flavored gelatos tend to be the best bellwether of a gelateria’s overall success.  Anyone can serve a passable chocolate, but with flavors like pistachio and hazelnut it’s tougher to strike the right balance.  Happily, Palazzolo’s Roasted Pistachio proved quite tasty — a very subtle taste to the gelato itself allows the soft, chewy chunks of pistachio to carry the flavor.  The delicious Mascarpone Caramel Pistachio has been their most popular flavor so far.

Lars Swanson / Heavy Table

The prices are very reasonable — $2.29 to $3.99 for single servings with mini-cones available for 99 cents. One could easily envision skipping dessert at the neighborhood’s restaurants in favor of taking a stroll down 50th Street with a cone.  One very trivial lament: The small and large plastic cups are shaped like upside-down trapezoids.  One step out of the door on a very sunny and humid day, and you might have a tough time keeping it in the dish and off your fingers.  In that case, opt for a cone.

Riha’s next order will contain more summer flavors like Key Lime and Watermelon.  She plans to introduce the spiced and liquor-infused flavors in the fall.  Count me in when the Black Cherry Merlot arrives.  With 600 Palazzolo’s flavors potentially in their rotation, multiple return trips may be necessary.

Pandolfi Candy Gelato and Gifts

3904 W 50th St, Edina, MN
952.928.3000
HOURS:
Mon-Sat 10am-9pm
Sun 11am-9pm

Lars Swanson / Heavy Table

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About the Author

John Garland

John Garland is a freelance writer living in the East Isles neighborhood of Minneapolis. His area of expertise is wine - thanks to schooling from the International Sommelier Guild and more than a few winery visits during his time at the American University of Rome. He also contributes to Beer Dabbler's Growler Magazine and is always available for writing opportunities and happy hours.

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6 Comments

  1. Holly Weik06/02/2012Reply

    Very average gelato, almost like regular ice cream than gelato. The stracciatella tasted like cookies and cream, and the triple white chocolate was way too sweet. The coconut wasn’t good either, and my husband’s triple chocolate was adequate but gooey. We gave up and went to Jackson’s instead. bleh. And overpriced, since it’s in Edina. Stick w Fat Lorenzo’s or Jacksons.

Trackbacks for this post

  1. [...] We’ve already dug on this little candy and gift spot hidden in the shops at 50th and France, and a year after our first review, it’s still the heaviest hitter in Gelato Land. Because really, there’s no substitute for the tingling sensation that tells you the gelato was made with real fruits and fats instead of artificial ingredients. That’s what you’ll find at Pandolfi. They ship their gelato in from Pete Palazzolo himself in Michigan, where gelato is made to order in batches as small as two and a half gallons, and the freshness arrives intact. The classically Italian pistachio is a stunning yellow grass green. Full of whole, soft, chewy nuts, the inherent toasty, meaty quality of sweet pistachios comes right on through. Also, the Limoncello is a zinger. Made with actual liqueur (unlike Fat Lorenzo’s candy-sweet version, we suspect), it zaps your glands the second it touches your tongue, and as it melts it slowly sizzles, like a nostalgic mouthful of Pop Rocks. Impress your friends with a pint, clean your sinuses with a mouthful. This stuff’s amazing. [...]

  2. [...] Pandolfi, 3922 W 50th St, Edina | 952.928.3000 [...]

  3. [...] Pandolfi, 3922 W 50th St, Edina | 952.928.3000 [...]

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