We recently spent a Lucullan feast of an evening at Screme, a new premium gelato chain in New York City. We tried every flavor in the place—28, to be precise. That’s the Screme way: You can taste as much as you like. We felt O.K. about that, as Screme claims 1/3 fewer calories and lower fat than regular gelato. They say they can produce such a creamy product with these advantages because of its “absolute freshness,“ which they say allows them to use less fat.
Screme, the American version of Aldo’s, the largest gelato chain in Israel, is the second international premium gelato chain to settle in our town in two years (the first was Grom, from Italy).
What makes a gelato “premium?”
A few of Screme’s flavors, made fresh daily.
While everyone will claim that his or her brand is “the best,” here’s the secret: The best gelato is made daily, or in the case of Screme, several times daily, from the fresh ingredients. For example, strawberry is not made from strawberry purée from a pouch, but from fresh strawberries. Worse, with the growth of chains and products sold to anyone who wants to sell gelato, there’s gelato mix that comes in a package that’s poured into a machine. The difference in taste is huge. One tastes generic, the other tastes like it’s worth a long drive.<
Gelato may be what a gelateria is known for, but don’t overlook the sorbets. Bursting with fresh fruit flavor, we liked them even more. The Mojito and Passionfruit were ab fab.
If you have a jones for the sweet and frozen (guilty a charged—ice cream is our favorite food category), sorbet is the better choice. There’s no dairy, fat or cholesterol, it has more vitamins and antioxidants from the fruit, and it has significantly fewer calories. It’s lighter, livelier and more refreshing. While we’re inculcated from childhood with the idea of ice cream, try more sorbet and see if you agree.
Back to Screme: There are currently two locations in New York City (one in the lobby of Madame Tussaud’s Wax Musuem on 42nd Street in Times Square—no admission fee required), one on Broadway and 69th Street), with a third location on East 64th Street opening soon. National expansion is plan. A sugar-free gelato is on the way. The products are certified kosher.
Read more about gelato.
See the difference between gelato and all the different frozen desserts in our Ice Cream Glossary.