Thursday, 31/08/2017 17:01

Hồ Chí Minh City falls for pho-flavoured gelato

Viet Nam News

Feast of flavours: The owners – Ralf and his lovely wife Tram. I always see them at the shop taking care of customers everytime I visit. — VNS Photos Nomad Quynh.

I love desserts, or more precisely, any sweet things. Ice creams are no exception. However, I find most Western industrial ice-cream franchises in Viet Nam not exactly to my liking. Except for a few flavours, most are either too heavy or too sweet, and you can easily tell that they are not of high quality.

But then around this time last year, Ralf’s Artisan Gelato arrived, and there I was, falling in love with ice cream all over again.

Ralf, the owner, half-Italian-half-German in his spotless kitchen next to his various gelato machine. 

I still remember the first time I went there and tried the mango yogurt. I couldn’t remember the last time I had an ice-cream that good. It was so much better and fresher than all the normal franchise brands. I later learned that this was because Ralf’s gelato is 100 per cent handmade, contains no vegetable fats - amd no artificial flavours or preservatives.

The shop is small, humble but cozy. It is tucked away on a quiet street amidst the hustle and bustle of District 1. It’s the total opposite of the “cold” atmosphere you’ll find in most big franchise ice-cream parlors. Ralf and his lovely wife, Tram, are always there to take care of customers and make sure they have the best experience. As for me, even though my house is quite far and hence I cannot go there often, every time I visit I’m treated like family.

Ralf himself is a very creative and talented guy. Every few weeks, he creates new flavours, including Vietnamese pho, fish sauce and  craft beer. If you want to try but feel a bit hesitant, don’t be afraid to ask for a taste. Personally I found the pho flavour a bit strong, but the fish sauce ice-cream is very lickable. It comes with peanuts on the side, which compliment the taste wonderfully.

Unusual creations: Fish sauce gelato (comes with peanuts) and the walnut gelato which are fresh and fragrant. 

Ralf always has 16 flavours on sale available. My usual choices are those from home-made yogurt. Walnut, rum raisin are other flavours and those made from fresh fruits. 

I once asked him: “Where did you learn to make gelato that good? You must be Italian right?” It turned Ralf is half German and half Italian and attended the best gelato schools in both countries. Then he fell in love with a lovely Vietnamese lady, they got married and so he moved to Viet Nam and opened this shop. And how lucky are we to have this wonderful addition to HCM city’s beloved F&B scene.

The price is also very reasonable. One scoop costs VND40,000, and comes with a complementary cone biscuit and ice tea. There are also several special sundae versions with toppings, and gelato in the form of spaghetti with cheese on top! Ralf also has home-made croissants, cheesecakes and tiramisu which are all delicious. There are also plenty of drink options, ranging from coffee to cocktails.

The shop has two floors. Upstairs you’ll see the kitchen and equipment, which always looks clean and tidy. As his gelato contains no preservatives and hence has a shorter expiry date than normal ice creams, Ralf makes sure all processes are followed strictly in order to keep the products fresh and tasty. Some ingredients, for example the fresh milk, is 100 per cent imported.

Ralf’s Artisan Gelato is open all week except for Mondays. Go check it out if you haven’t. I’m sure you’ll become a fan like I've. 

Ralf’s Artisan Gelato

Address: 39 Dang Thi Nhu, Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1, HCM City

Tel: 097 932 79 05

Opening hours: 1pm-10pm (Tue-Fri), 11am-10pm (Sat-Sun), closed on Mondays

Comment: One of the best ice cream/gelato shops in HCM City at the moment. Products are handmade, contain no vegetable fats, no artificial flavours or preservatives.


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