Oh Bobboi, it’s gelato season

La Jolla gelato maker bringing its small batches to Little Italy

Three kinds of nuts bring flavor to this smooth gelato: almond, hazelnut, and pistachio.
  • Three kinds of nuts bring flavor to this smooth gelato: almond, hazelnut, and pistachio.

We’ve all waited patiently for sunny weather and daylight savings to return, and now that they have, we need to turn our attention back to ice cream. Rather, gelato.

Bobboi Natural Gelato

8008 Girard Avenue #150, La Jolla

Bobboi Natural Gelato, if I’m being picky. The couple behind Bobboi studied the gelato craft in their native Italy before moving here to set up shop in the La Jolla village.

Made right, gelato is more dense than regular ice cream, because there’s less air whipped into it, and a lower concentration of fat. Hence, a smoother texture, and more room for added flavors to shine through. Because Bobboi makes its gelato in small batches, always from scratch, it can produce an array of rotating flavors made from fresh and/or decadent ingredients.

Blood orange gelato and dark chocolate sorbet

Blood orange gelato and dark chocolate sorbet

For example, Bobboi’s pistachio della festa flavor features loads of pureed organic pistachios, Amarena cherries sourced from Italy, and dark chocolate shards made in its small kitchen at the back of the shop. It’s outstanding, but it goes fast, so count yourself lucky to find it on the menu.

Even if you do, take the opportunity to taste several flavors when it’s your turn at the counter. There are dozens to choose from, including vegan sorbets, and you’ll likely have to spend some time in line before you get there, so make the most of it. $3.95 will give you a single flavor in cup or cone, but for $4.60 you can get two choices, and three for a little more.

I had great luck pairing a dark chocolate sorbet with a pink gelato flavored with locally grown blood oranges. Another visit, I tried a truly nutty combination dubbed Mediterraneo, made with pistachios, almonds, and hazelnuts. It’s kind of amazing how smoothly the nuts blend into the frozen cream.

A line worth standing in at Bobboi Natural Gelato

A line worth standing in at Bobboi Natural Gelato

Keep an eye on fruit flavors that change depending on season; most feature locally sourced, organic produce. One combination features dragon fruit and meyer lemon. Another blueberry and lavender. You might find ingredients such as caramel, vanilla, saffron, goat cheese, or activated charcoal.

During the summer, Bobboi gelato makers work 24 hours a day to keep up with demand. Fortunately, two new locations in Little Italy will make it easier for downtown residents to get some. A counter in the Little Italy Food Hall could open as soon as this weekend. A second, larger spot will open a few blocks north later this spring, adding yet more delicious food to Kettner Boulevard.

And if you’re wondering, yes, I believe Bobboi will then serve the best gelato in Little Italy. For $15.75 you can take home a 22-ounce container (about a pint and a third); just remember gelato is made to be enjoyed fresh, so if you’re thinking about saving it for a special occasion, make that special occasion today. The weather climbing back into the 70s sounds like enough reason for me.

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