It was a cold, rainy winter day in Paris, by far the worst afternoon of my trip. But I’ll eat ice cream any time of year. With a little encouragement from someone who knows a thing or two about sweets, I visited Pozzetto for a pick-me-up.
Located on a side street in the Marais, Pozzetto has a service window which probably accumulates quite a queue in warmer weather, but inside there are a few tables where you can enjoy a well-made espresso or one of several coppas (sundaes). Or both.
I ordered an affogato, which looked like a fancy dish of mashed potatoes, scooped up cafeteria style, with a well in the center for gravy. Or, in this case, coffee. It was perfect.
“Pozzetto” means “little well” in Italian, and refers to the way the gelato is stored here, in individual covered wells rather than piled into trays and displayed uncovered. This allows for more strict temperature control and helps preserve the texture of the product. Pozzetto offers only twelve flavors, all fairly traditional. Coffee, gianduja, chocolate, mint, fior di latte. The ingredients are all natural, and so are the colors.
Much has been written about the differences between ice cream and gelato. “It’s not ice cream, it’s gelato,” is like saying, “It’s not wine, it’s vino.” Gelato is simply the Italian word for ice cream. That said, there are stylistic differences. The Italian stuff is usually lower in fat, often made without cream or eggs. This leaner base actually produces a denser finished ice cream because it retains less air during churning. I like the richness of custard-based ice creams, but the best Italian gelati have an intensity of flavor that’s hard to beat.
This isn’t the only gelato game in town. Grom set up on Rue de Seine last summer, and Amorino has shops all over Paris. But this should come as no surprise: It was, after all, Catherine de Medici, an Italian, who supposedly introduced ice cream to France when she was queen.
Pozzetto 39 Rue du Roi de Sicile, Paris 75004, +33 (0)1 42 77 08 64