Pozzetto: Italian Gelato in the Heart of Paris

The last stop of our honeymoon brought us to the City of Lights. K and I had been to Paris before, but not with each other. When I visited during my semester abroad (which I spent in Madrid), I was struck by the old-world beauty and charm of Paris.  Of course, my girlfriends and I were staying in a cheap hostel room of questionable cleanliness and eating cheap meals at McDonalds (I still shudder to think of that). So it was such a treat to return to Paris with a bit more money in my pocket and my new husband at my side.

We had a lovely couple days in Paris. We took a great boat tour down the Seine River, relaxed by the Eiffel Towel, strolled along the Champs Élysées, and explored just a corner of the Louvre (I forgot how massive that museum is!). And we spent a LOT of time eating and drinking. Macaroons, foie gras, and fries, oh my!

In the spirit of exploring the tastes of Paris, I went in search of some local ice cream. Like in many European cities, ice cream in Paris is actually Italian-style gelato. And while an internet search will yield a dozen different gelaterías, it was a slightly lesser-known shop that caught my attention: Pozzetto. Why? For the simple fact that one of my favorite food bloggers of all time, David Lebovitz called it “the best gelato in Paris.”

Located on an idyllic street in the Marais historic district, Pozzetto is an adorable shop with a service window where pedestrians can grab an ice cream or cappuccino to go. I read that you can expect a long line during the summer, but it was pretty quiet on this weekday afternoon.

IMG_6332 IMG_6335 IMG_6331After walking around the Eiffel Tower and the Marais neighborhood, K and I were more than ready to rest our feet at one of the tables inside. Pozzetta has very limited seating indoors, but the vibe is so romantic and Parisian that it would be worth a wait on a busier day. (And for you coffee-lovers out there, Pozzetto is well-known for their espressos. Several Parisians were lingering over cups when K and I were there.)

Pozzetta offers about a dozen flavors of gelato and sorbetto. The inside menu features a couple sundae (“coppa”) options. Everything is made in small batches daily, so there’s no need to worry about freezer burns here.

IMG_6336My French abilities are laughable, so I couldn’t understand half of the flavor names. I saw several chocolate options, including Gianduia di Pottezzo (hazelnut-chocolate) and Stracciatella. But Cioccolato Fondente (dark chocolate) sounded too good to pass up.

I wanted to try a second flavor; Pistacchio del re di Sicilia is what Pozzetto is known for, but I was drawn towards a more refreshing sorbetto (which is made with real fruit). Of the three options, Fragola (strawberry) seemed like it would go best with dark chocolate.

We paid about 7 euros for a double scoop with table service. A bit pricey, since the same serving size cost about 5 euros at the take-out window. But I was in need of a respite from the hot afternoon sun, and the table was definitely worth a 2 euro premium.

IMG_6334

How cute is this bowl?

The verdict? Wow. Pozzetto is the real deal. Their gelato was thick, sticky and very flavorful. The Cioccolato Fondente was the real star of the show; rich but not too filling or sweet. It was almost like frozen dark-chocolate mousse.  I could eat this every day. The Fragola was also delicious. Strawberry ice cream or sorbet can often be artificial-tasting and icey, but Pozzetto’s creamy version is made with fresh ingredients and it shows. These two flavors complemented each other beautifully — it was even better than a dark-chocolate covered strawberry. If you’re in Paris, I’d highly recommend swinging by Pozzetto for an afternoon pick-me-up. Their gelato is as good as any of the famous gelatarías in Italy, but the experience is uniquely Parisian.

The Stats:
Pozzetto
39 rue du roi de Sicile
Paris, France 75004
(2nd location: 16 Rue Vieille du Temple)
www.pozzetto.biz/

andBeyond Ngala Tented Camp’s Amarula Milkshake

For me, the absolute highlight of our honeymoon was a safari in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. One of the largest game reserves in Africa, Kruger boasts 147 species of mammals, including the famous “Big 5” — the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and rhinoceros. And while the safari concept was born in East Africa (where the Great Migration happens), South Africa is known for its luxury safari experience. Which means Kruger is an ideal place for safari novices like myself.

K and I spent three blissful days at the andBeyond Ngala Tented Camp, which a colleague of K’s had recommended. Set on its own private reserve, the Ngala Tented Camp is a magical place. From the moment you arrive, the staff welcomes you and seemingly anticipates your every need. All it took was one mention of my gluten intolerance, and Chef Stephie sent out slices of homemade gluten-free bread with every one of my meals. And the private “tented” accommodations were incredibly comfortable. My favorite features were the secluded outdoor shower and our private deck.

(source)

K and I would join four other guests for two game drives each day — one at 5:45am and another around 4:15pm. Each drive lasts over three hours, which sounds like a lot but always flew by too fast. Our guide and driver, Lee-Anne, was insanely knowledgeable about the animals, fauna, and history of the park. Her “tracker”, Richard, had eyes like a hawk and appeared to be one of the most successful trackers at Ngala. Lee-Anne would be casually driving our open-air vehicle and chatting with us, and suddenly Richard would point out elephant tracks or motion that he’d heard a lioness’ growl (which nobody else heard). And, lo and behold, he’d direct Lee-Anne to wherever the animals were.

Towards the end of each game drive, Lee-Anne would stop the vehicle in a safe clearing, giving us a chance to stretch our legs and enjoy some coffee (in the morning) or “adult” beverages (in the evening). You could count on one thing making an appearance in the morning and evening: Amarula Cream Liqueur.  I hadn’t heard about this liqueur before, but I quickly fell in love with it. Made from the fruit of the African marula tree, it has a uniquely silky and complex taste. I’d put it in the same family as Bailey’s Irish Cream, but I’d take the rich flavor of Amarula over Bailey’s any day. In the morning, I’d drink my coffee or hot cocoa with a splash of Amarula. And in the evenings, I’d drink a bit over ice.
Even with all that Amarula drinking during game drives, I still was excited to see an “Amarula Milkshake” listed as the dessert option one day during lunchtime.
I’m not the world’s biggest milkshake fan (I’d rather eat my ice cream than drink it), but the cold concoction sounded great on a warm African afternoon. And boy, oh, boy, does Amarula make a great milkshake. It added a caramel-like depth to the traditional vanilla ice cream, and I had no problems slurping up the sweet and creamy treat.

Since coming home, I haven’t been able to get Amarula out of my head. Luckily, a growing number of alcohol store in the U.S. are carrying the South African liqueur — including my neighborhood shop. While I cannot add a splash to my coffee every morning (darn you, real-life responsibilities!), I can enjoy an Amarula milkshake after dinner. So I recently set out to recreate andBeyond’s famous milkshake in my own kitchen. Here’s what I came up with…

Amarula Milkshake 
{Makes 2 milkshakes}

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream (I’m sure chocolate would be great, too)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 shots (3 oz., or to taste) Amarula Cream Liqueur
  • Handful of ice

Directions

  • Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and frothy!

The verdict? This is a near replica of the Amarula milkshake I enjoyed at andBeyond’s Ngala Tented Camp. I’m pretty sure the original version didn’t involve ice cubes, but I like the extra body that the ice gives this drink. The taste of Amarula easily shines through the milk and ice cream, giving this milkshake a yummy “adult” flavor. I’d highly recommend that anyone who adores milkshakes – or cream liqueur – give Amarula a try!