By Barbara Bishop
I recently rented my guestroom to a young woman who needed a place to stay for about two months. She is chef. More accurately, a gelato chef. From the minute I met her, she swore that she made the best gelato in Italy. I nodded my head vigorously, but in my head I thought, “yeah right.” We’ll see.
It was her first time to the U.S, and the only reason for existence here was to open the first Fatamorgana in America. For six weeks, she worked around the clock, leaving my house at 8 a.m. and coming home at 11 p.m., preparing for the opening. “Must be some damn good stuff,” I thought.
Fatamorgana opened on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City a few weeks ago. I went to visit her, and to sample the product. All I can say is, it is the best tasting Gelato I ever had. They have 65 flavors, all made by hand with natural ingredients. By my visitor’s hand.
I’ll name a few of the flavors – White Almond, Fresh Plum, Black Olive, Basil, Avocado and Fruit Pearls, Gorgonzola Cheese, Licorice, Guanabana Carmel, Walnut and Currant, Dulce de Leche, California Pistachio, Wasabi Chololate, Pimento Chocolate – 65 handmade flavors every day.
I tried the plum gelato and the espresso gelato. The plum tasted exactly like a fresh, juicy plum. The expresso tasted exactly like an amazing cup of expresso. When I expressed my surprise at the natural amazing taste, my house guest shrugged her shoulder, and said in an Italian accent, “of course, because we use the real thing, what else would we do?”
There are no industrial bases or processed pastes, no thickeners, stabilizers, colorants, flavorizers. Only water and milk, fruits, spices, herbs, nuts, chocolate, eggs, honey and sugar.
Imagine that. The real thing.
The owner’s passion for gelato dates back to when she was a child; she loved to make gelatos without following any recipes. She is inspired by family recipes – ancient, eastern and traditional ones from around the world. In her lab, she links ingredients to each other in an original way: toasted almonds with green cardamom, chocolate with tobacco leaves, black rice with rosebuds; all the feelings, smells and memories of her childhood blend together to create a new reality.
The owners will be scouting for locations on the Westside; and plan to open others in the near future. Until then, make the trek to the Valley. Run!