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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.

Place

Bobboi Natural Gelato

8008 Girard Avenue #150, San Diego

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

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

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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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.

Place

Bobboi Natural Gelato

8008 Girard Avenue #150, San Diego

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

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

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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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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