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Murtagh adds that to enjoy gelato at its ideal texture, it's also important to store it at a low temperature. "A lot of gelaterias serve at a kind of higher temperature, kind of semi-melted," he says. "What that does, in part, is it hides imperfections of the product."
After all, he explains, if the gelato is already half on its way to becoming a puddle by the time you eat it, the only thing you'll be able to appreciate is the taste, not the texture.
Finally, when Murtagh says he makes his gelato from scratch, he really means from scratch. Unlike many other high-end ice cream and gelato shops, Murtagh makes his own custard base — the blend of egg yolks, cream, and other ingredients that forms the foundation for a batch of gelato before it gets churned and frozen. Many of the other shops use pre-made mixes — the one made by Straus Family Creamery is most popular among the high-end places in the Bay Area — that may or may not then be doctored with fresh cream and other additions. The only ingredient Murtagh uses that isn't 100 percent "fresh" is the egg yolks, which he buys pre-frozen and pasteurized for safety reasons. It's the mix that Murtagh credits with getting the texture of his gelatos exactly right.
As Jorgensen puts it, "This is really what separates us from the rest of the world."
But the proof, as they say, is in the pudding — or in that deceptively generous single scoop which, if your willpower is strong enough, you can savor for a solid fifteen minutes with hardly a trace of meltage. The gelato at Lush is about as good as any you'll ever try. Taste, texture, a dash of whimsy if you like (or just plain vanilla, if not) — the whole nine yards. And the flavors — whether for something as ordinary as coffee or as odd as cilantro — really do ring true.
"Yes, that's cilantro," you'll say to yourself. "Yes, that's the essence of a peach."
Or, if you're in the mood for a good old-fashioned kick in the face, you might even consider the Orange Picante.
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