Friday, August 29, 2014

Fainting Goat Gelato: We sample a neighborhood gelateria

Forrest and I are finally at least most of the way to being settled into our new Seattle apartment. To celebrate, we decided (of course) to check out one of our nearby neighborhoods, Wallingford. The main strip in Wallingford is home to at least two ice cream establishments; local behemoth Molly Moon and Fainting Goat gelato. We decided to start our explorations at Fainting Goat, which was started in 2009 by Yalcin and Sevim Ataman.

We went on a lovely and warm evening to sample the gelato. Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream, but has several differences from American ice cream. Gelato has lower fat content than ice cream and is churned very slowly, allowing less air to be incorporated into the final product. This leads to the formation of fewer crystals, making gelato exceptionally rich and creamy. Gelato is also served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream.

The space occupied by Fainting Goat is open and light, with ample seating and benches outside for people-watching on the sidewalk. The bins holding the gelato are accented with garnishes indicating flavors. It was slow when we arrived, so we had ample opportunity to sample gelatos before deciding. We each tried several flavors, with mixed results. A mint gelato was simultaneously too minty and too sweet; a habenero mango flavor was an interesting combination, with a slow spiciness, but wan't appealing for a whole serving. A pomegranate-blueberry sorbet had an oddly dental aftertaste and texture; in both the sorbet and a coconut gelato, the addition of whole blueberries or grated coconut reminded us of the fresh ingredients that had been used, while not adding to the overall texture of the gelato. However, the flavor that really shined was a seasonal lemon-basil gelato, which was delicious. Both the lemon and basil flavors were bright and obvious; the flavors synergized into a delicious combination. Overall, we felt that while the flavors and ingredient were consistently fresh and obvious, the gelato lacked in sophistication compared to other ice creams we've tasted. Our final scores came out to:

Texture - 4
Flavors - 6
Cone - n/a (although the homemade waffle cones did look delicious)
Execution - 4
Taste - 4
Ambiance/service/etc - 8

Overall - 26/50

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