Soon, the stretch of Giralda Avenue in Coral Gables known as restaurant row will be converted into Giralda Plaza, a pedestrian-friendly streetscape with pavers and mature palms. One place you will want to go before, during and after the project is Amore Gelato Art Caffe.
The white-on-white spot was formerly Pete’s Authentic Cooking, and some customer favorites remain, such as vegan butternut squash and coconut milk soup, and the Number Nine sandwich with mixed greens, kale, quinoa, black beans, sweet potato and avocado with mango dressing. The menu has sandwiches and panini on Zak the Baker country or whole-wheat bread or a multigrain baguette; soup and quiche of the day; salads; and 18 flavors of artisanal gelato made from organic ingredients, plus cannoli with a marzipan and mascarpone filling, brownies and bread pudding, all good with a scoop of vanilla gelato.
The owners are the husband-and-wife team of Robert Klemm and Gail Sosby, who met eight years ago at an after-church get-together with Champagne at the Biltmore for Gail’s birthday. Klemm is from Cologne, Germany, and studied photography at a college near Heidelberg, then worked as a professional photographer in Hamburg, shooting catalogs. He went to New York in the early ’80s and worked as a fashion photographer before heading to Miami Beach during the modeling boom of the ’90s.
Sosby came to Miami from Atlanta as a child, became an attorney, resigning to become a partner in a Tuscany tour company. The couple opened the gelateria in September, after learning about gelato and sorbet in Italy and during gelato school in southern California and North Carolina sponsored by a company that makes gelato equipment. The walls display photos taken by Klemm, mostly of Florence and Venice, Italy.
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Gelato differs from ice cream in that it is churned much slower so less air is incorporated, making it denser. It is served at a slightly warmer temperature, so no ice crystals form. It is made with milk, not cream, although at Amore egg yolks are added (not traditional) for a rounder, creamier flavor and texture.
The gelato is made in-house, using an Italian machine that is sanitized between each small batch made from fresh and frozen fruit, nuts, coconut, coffee and more. The base is pureed, milk is added, and it is steeped overnight to intensify the flavor. The mixture is then cooked to pasteurize it and frozen in a batch freezer, sweetened with a blend of cane sugar and stevia. (The non-caloric sweetener is made from the leaves of an herb native to South America and related to the daisy that is 200 times sweeter than sugar and does not raise blood pressure.)
The sorbetto are sugar-free and non-dairy. On a recent visit, gelato included pumpkin salted caramel, amaretto with sour cherries, banana peanut butter, zabaglione with Port wine, pistachio, almond, hazelnut, gianduja (hazelnut-chocolate), cappuccino, chocolate and coconut out of 60 flavors that are rotated monthly.
Sorbet came in mango, blueberry, raspberry, peach and strawberry. The treats are sold in cups with small plastic spoons. Choose from small (two scoops), medium (three) or large (four). Be glad to be living in (or visiting) South Florida, where one can enjoy gelato year-round, even in January when the rest of the country is colder than ice cream.
If you go
Place: Amore Gelato Art Caffe and Fine Art Photo Gallery.
Address: 153 Giralda Ave., Coral Gables.
Contact: 305-332-3777, www.amoregelatoartcaffe.com.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
Prices: Quiche $6, salads $7.50-$9.50, sandwiches $9.50, gelato and sorbetto $4.50-$7.50.