We’re in Vermont for the long weekend, and, aside from catching the scent of lilacs drifting everywhere, the best sensory experience of the past few days has been standing at the Italian-style espresso bar in the new gelato cafe in Hanover, NH, Morano Gelato. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was Proustian, but the little ritual brought back pure nostalgic pleasure in a muscle memory.
The owner of this inspired cafe, Morgan Morano, is a young local woman who, during college and culinary school, lived in Italy on and off for the last six years. While in Florence, she studied gelato-making and brought her skill and Italian-inflected style back to her hometown. She offers the classic Italian flavors and uses local ingredients when possible (for instance during berry season). When I tasted the first trace of nocciola gelato (hazelnut) on my tongue, I was transported.
Morgan has quickly converted the locals, too. Every day that I’ve been here, there has been a line out the door. The facts, and the flavors, speak for themselves. On the wall behind the high counter, a sign explains the difference between gelato and American ice cream:
GELATO is much lower in butterfat than American ice cream.
GELATO is denser than American ice cream.
GELATO is served at a warmer temperature than American ice cream.
For those interested in further research, the website explains the process by which this density of texture and flavor is achieved. I love this place not only for the authentic gelato, however, but also for the complete experience it provides. The gelato and coffee facilities are straight from Italy, as are the little plastic spoons and cups. Everything else in the shop is a perfect re-creation of an Italian cafe: the smooth bar at chest-height; the bottles of room-temp. water and small glasses that stand on the bar for the espresso-drinkers’ refreshment; the t.v. high in the corner playing Italian news; the slightly cheesy music; the shininess of every surface.
I really wanted to start speaking Italian, but I said to myself, “let’s not get carried away.” I’ll just say this: Grazie, Morgan.