What to Know
- Polosud in Little Italy has released the first-ever vegan, avocado gelato.
- It is served in a real avocado shell, and the "pit" in the avocado is a scoop of gelato of your choice.
- The shop only sells 40 per day because of limited supply.
Walk down a side street in New York's Little Italy and you might come across Polosud, a tiny gelato café tucked between a hair salon and an Australian restaurant.
The tiny storefront certainly stands out with its fresh coat of green and white paint, but what stands out even more is the authentic gelato they’ve been serving up for years, and their newest creation — avocado gelato.
For the past three weeks, Italian chef Giacomo D’Alessandro has been working away in the small kitchen of Polosud, trying to master the transformation of avocado into the perfect gelato, with the help of some additional spices. This simple combination and the use of fresh ingredients gives it its creamy consistency -- super light yet still satisfying. Even better — it’s vegan.
“It doesn’t fully break down, so cooking with it is hard,” D’Alessandro said. “No one has attempted this space of food before even though the demand is high, especially here in New York City.”
D’Alessandro’s hours in the kitchen paid off two weeks ago when Polosud debuted the first-ever avocado gelato, served in a real avocado shell. The avocado gelato is hand-crafted D’Alessandro, so there's only a limited batch of 40 per day. “Avocado is a very difficult kind of fruit to use, and that is why the creation can sometimes be very complicated,” D’Alessandro said. “That’s why we don’t want overproduction. We do a limited amount because we want it fresh.”
D’Alessandro starts each one by scooping fresh avocado out of the shells, cleaning them out, and then putting them in the freezer to chill. A blend of lemon, cinnamon, sugar, and avocado is created fresh daily, and sets in the freezer for a few hours.
After freezing the gelato, a hefty scoop of fresh avocado gelato is ladled into the frozen avocado shells and smoothed to look exactly like the inside of an avocado. The final touch is more personal. The avocado “pit” is customized, and can be one of the 21 classic flavors Polosud makes daily. It’s up to the customer to decide what they want that final touch to be, but D’Alessandro suggests the hazelnut.
“The avocado is quite interesting, because it still tastes like an avocado, but it’s very much a desert,” Linda Higazy,one of the owners of Polosud, said. “The avocado is great because its naturally very creamy, so you don’t have to add any milk to it. And since it’s vegan, and since we have other vegan flavors, customers are able to get a treat that is entirely vegan is they choose, which is unique from other places.”
Although it was only introduced to the menu early last week, Polosud has seen success for it, especially since they have sold out every day since its launch.