Amorino: from Italian, diminutive of Amore, from Latin Amor. Also known as a putto, "a small chubby naked boy representing a cupid." Literally "a little love."
Which I freaking love, because if there's anything I love more than acting, and touring, and NYC history, and shoes, and improv comedy, and summer dresses? -- it's the Italian language.
I studied Italian from age 11 to age 22, when I graduated with a minor in la lingua Italiana, which I immediately put to use doing. . . nothing. However, this secondary passion of mine allowed me FOUR trips to Italy itself, and somewhere around trip # three, I lost my insecurity and started talking with the locals - ordering food, asking for directions, and when drinking prosecco. ESPECIALLY when drinking prosecco. My fourth visit was with my college chapel choir, where my friends and I adopted the saying, "A day isn't a day without gelato." Perhaps that is where this ice cream obsession truly started; we'll never know. But I mention all of this because Amorino is truly a diamond in the American ruff - it is a wonderfully authentic gelateria.
Created by two childhood friends, Cristiano Sereni and Paolo Benassi, Amorino was born in 2002, in Paris, France, of all places. Very soon their success allowed them to open more stores around Paris.The crowds in front of their shops are now much a part of Paris's summer scene. Cristiano Sereni : " My biggest satisfaction is to allow people to discover, through Amorino, the magic of authentic traditional Italian ice cream...it's part of my home, my native culture". Awww, right?
. . . and then it gets a little crazy. When you type in "amorino" in a search bar, at least five different locations pop up. If you go to their website, you'll find they exist in six countries (we're the 7th), and about eleven French territories. Sounding a bit like Starbucks, no? In fact, on their website there is even a page that prompts you if you'd like to become one of their franchises.
I know what you are thinking - Egads! A franchise on the Ice Creaming blog?! But Jeanette! You're all about small-batch, locally-sourced ice cream that you can't find in other cities! I know, guys. I messed up on this one. I didn't do my homework.
That being said, it IS the only Amorino in the US (although Trip Advisor boast nearly 300 reviews from Americans oversees) who boast the "friendly and nice" staff; a "nice thing to get on a hot day in Paris" and the "exciting gelato flower" -- apparently if you order it in a "cornetto" (a cone) they'll sculpt three flavors of your choosing onto the cone using a gelato paddle, which in the end makes it look like petals of a rose.
Not one for a gimmick, I stuck to one flavor only, the Tiramisu. Our US branch opened in the West Village in 2011, when we were woefully short on genuine gelato shops.
Which, despite their take-over-the-world status, it IS. A genuine gelateria, with flavors like Lampone (raspberry), Cioccolato Inimitabile (an inimitable chocolate hazelnut) and Caffe Puro di Brasile. If saying their names out loud doesn't put you in an Italian mood, the ingredients and flavors are always organic and natural, with no artificial colors or flavors. They state that their gelato is fresh-churned every day, and products arrive at each shop "ready to be served." Their Vaniglia is from Madagascar, their chocolate is from Ecuador, and their pistachios are from Sicily.
So I commend them for making GREAT gelato, and for trying to bring a little bit of the "old world" into NYC. And into London. And into Madrid. And into Paris. And into Paris. And into Paris. . .