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Minnesota’s Top Gelato—Till Now. Welcome Edina’s Pandolfi!


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What are the top gelato spots in Minnesota? I know what they are right now, but am not sure what they’ll be next week, because we have a notable newcomer.

First, news of the newcomer: This weekend (if all goes well), the alley at 50th and France gets a new gelateria and candy store called Pandolfi. It will feature gelato from the up-and-coming Michigan gelato company Palazzolo’s Artisan Gelato & Sorbetto. They’ll also sell candy, chocolates from Patisserie 46, they’ll pop popcorn, and spin fresh cotton candy. Palazzolo offers some 600 flavors of gelato, and owner Jeanne Riha says they’ll start off with banana caramel, Swiss chocolate, and peach sorbetto. I’ll add one from my own wish list: Michigan Chestnut, please?

Wait, you don’t know the alley at 50th and France? It’s right between Mozza Mia and Beaujo’s, covered with a glass roof. It’s the way you get from the northeastern municipal parking ramp to the intersection proper. Well, if you’re a gelato-head, you’ll want to find it. My best advice: Follow the stickiest children you see, or look at pandolfico.com, check Facebook for Pandolfi Candy, Gelato and Gifts, or call 952-928-3000.

Now, the big question: Will Pandolfi be so good it will unseat one of the Twin Cities’ reigning gelato kings? If so, which of the following will get knocked out of our current top three? What top three? This top three!

Jackson’s Coffee & Gelato
The black-as-night ultra chocolaty gelato is irresistible—it’s so black, eating it looks like some Goth exercise in absurdity. It’s so good I feel its pull like gravity every time I’m on Lake Street. Jackson's Coffee & Gelato 820 Lake St., Mpls., 612-824 4164, jacksonscoffeeandgelato.com

Fat Lorenzo’s
This is my favorite East Coast Minneapolis getaway. (Seriously, bring your East Coast friends, step inside, and start fighting: Is it more like Connecticut Italian, Rhode Island Italian, Long Island Italian, or New Jersey Italian? No, you gettouttahere!) But in addition to classic red sauce fare and a nice crisp and doughy pie, Fat Lorenzo’s makes some bewitching gelatos—my little girl gets whatever’s pink, typically a very fresh-tasting strawberry, and it keeps her in her seat for an extra 20 minutes, which is high tribute to the amount of interest a gelato can provoke. Also, did you know that Fat Lorenzo’s has expanded with a second outpost in a VFW in Bloomington? True! Bloomington Fat Lorenzo’s: Everett McClay VFW Post 1296, 311 West 84th St., Bloomington, 952-888-FAT2 (3282), fatlorenzos.com. Minneapolis Fat Lorenzo’s: 5600 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls., 612-822-2040, fatlorenzos.com.

Ring Mountain
Thick, creamy, splendid; I make a point of getting a pint of Ring Mountain’s pistachio gelato every time I visit Buon Giorno. I picked it for one of my top local foods for the local food issue currently on the stands, and it rendered the photographer and food stylist awestruck. It’s good stuff. But go to the mother ship in Edina and you’ll find something else even better—an espresso-dark-chocolate-gelato-frappuccino-ish thing that’s so good you’ll be doing handsprings through the parking lot. Ring Mountain, 1965 Cliff Lake Rd., Eagan, 651-454-7464, ringmountain.com

And now Pandolfi! Looks like it's going to be a sweet, sweet summer.

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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