Leave it to Vancouver’s Bella Gelateria to introduce Canada’s first and only water buffalo milk–based gelato (gelato di bufala, to be exact). Having won accolades from the 2012 Gelato Festival in Florence, Canadian maestro gelatiere, James Coleridge, is known for both his savvy use of local ingredients and a knack for nailing unusual flavours (a scoop of Akbar Mashti, anyone?). The inspiration for his newest creation came when Coleridge caught himself wondering if the buffalo milk used to make burrata for his Italian-style pizzas (served at Bella’s Yaletown location) would lend itself to gelato as well.
It turned out to be an extremely delicious experiment. Richer in every respect than your average gelato, the treat has a silky texture, full flavour, and it spreads smoothly into brightly-coloured cups (imagine a sort of gelato soft serve, with an almost meringue-like fluffiness). It’s also local, thanks to buffalo milk provided by Abbotsford dairy farmer Casie Prium, and arguably healthier than regular gelato; while buffalo milk boasts a meaningful fat content, its abundance of protein and calcium, along with the absence of egg, cream, and white refined sugar in its recipe, gives it the edge on your conventional scoop.
For now, Coleridge offers four flavours: lemon, chocolate, white coffee, and fior di latte—or, flower of milk. Fior di latte allows the truest experience of the water buffalo milk’s subtle-sweet flavour, but don’t miss the refreshing lemon, or a scoop of buttery chocolate for that matter. Gelato, after all, is about indulging in la crème de la crème—or rather, la crema della crema—so select your miniature neon spoon and tuck in.
Photo courtesy of Bella Gelateria.