The line between ice cream and gelato can sometimes be thin. At Grom Gelateria, a much loved Italian, New York and (since January) Los Angeles chain, there's no question. This is gelato, at its finest: soft, velvet smooth and reeking of casual indulgence.
Located in the chic Malibu Country Mart, which provides all your basic provisions (Oliver Peoples sunglasses, popsicle-bright Juicy Couture bikinis), Grom prides itself on using superlative ingredients. You can get a dossier on any of them. Grom doesn't use any old pistachios; they use Syrian pistachios. The nougat comes from Piedmont, the chocolate from Colombia, the almond chips from Sicily. Even the charming clerk behind the counter is imported from Italy (his friendliness a rebuke to nearly every customer service experience we've had in that country).
This outpost of exacting standards is bare, thought not barren, with pale yellow walls and, most strangely, no tables. Perhaps to avoid drooling lingerers? Anyhow, that shouldn't stop you.
"Exquisite" is probably among the top offenders on any Words that Food Writers Should Stop Using list, but there's no other way to describe Grom's melon gelato, replete with the essence of cantaloupe. The apricot sorbet is as bright as a poppy and twice as flavorful. Every fruit flavor tastes like it was just plucked from the earth and rushed straight to the mixer
Among the 20 or so flavors, which change seasonally, are gelato standards like baccio, stracciatella and tiramisu as well as less common flavors (at least in the United States) like liquirizia (licorice) and torroncino (nougat). The basics aren't so bad, either. Grom can take pride in making the darkest dark chocolate gelato in town. The cioccolato extranoir is an unstoppable exultation of cacao, so dark that if it was a movie, it would make Lars von Trier's ouevre look like slapstick comedy.
Grom also concocts a special flavor of the month. This month's, ricotta manderle, a tart, milky blend broken up with almond chunks, earns top marks for its tartness, its originality and its ability to pair with just about any other flavor in the shop.
Previously on 30 Scoops in 30 Days...