Thursday, October 22, 2015

Gelateria Naia

Gelataria Naia is a local gelato manufacturer, with two Bay Area shops, one located in North Beach, and one in Walnut Creek.  I visited the North Beach location many years ago, but I recalled not really liking it.  They also make gelato in bar form, like a big popsicle, on a stick, and sell these at Whole Foods under the "Bar Gelato by Naia" brand.

I recently attended an outdoor event with a gelato cart by Gelataria Naia.  It was a beautiful, hot, sunny San Francisco fall day (gotta love October in SF).  Gelato sounded like the perfect treat for such weather.

I wasn't alone in my thinking, as the cart had a constant line.  Even though I remembered not loving their product, I can't resist frozen treats, and eventually gave in and joined the line.  And after I finished my gelato ... I may or may not have gotten right back in line.  It was really good!

I'll have to give the shop another try.  While I wasn't stunned by the flavors in the gelato at the event, the texture was absolutely perfect.
Gelato Cart.
The gelato cart held 6 flavors at a time, which they rotated throughout the event as each ran out.

The selection was generally 2 caffeinated (coffee and chocolate), 2 boozy, and two fruity sorbettos.

I only went for the boozy ones.  They make at least 14 different boozy flavors, all using St George Spirits.  
Root of All Evil.
I started with a flavor dubbed "Root of All Evil".

I forget which spirit was in it, but it was St. George brand.  It also had root beer, hence the name.

I didn't really taste root beer, but it was really awesome gelato.  It melted perfectly, and the consistency was just perfect.  I didn't mind that it didn't have that much flavor, but obviously, more flavor would have been better.
Raspberry Liqueur.
I moved on to a raspberry liqueur flavor.

The raspberry liqueur was similar.  Again, I didn't taste much flavor, but it was just so perfectly creamy, so perfectly melty, that I didn't mind the indistinguishable flavor.  It was a pleasure just to eat such perfect gelato.

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Interestingly, I clearly haven't always liked the gelato from Naia.  I uncovered some tasting notes from long ago, from when I visited the shop in North Beach.  It seems I didn't like any of the gelato, and, even more surprisingly, it was the consistency that I had a problem with.  The consistency was beyond perfect this time around!  Specifically, I thought the Numi Chai flavor was icy.  I thought the gianduja, chocolate malt, peanut butter chip, and mint chocolate chip were all "very hard, like ice cream, not gelato consistency".  I concluded that I'd never go back, and I didn't understand why anyone liked it.  Hmm.  I wonder what changed?
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