The mission is dangerous and highly crucial for the betterment of all lives: the search for a decadent treat devoid of sin but still with all of the pleasure. The finale of the summer months leaves only one option as an appropriate target, a cool, creamy dessert.
Leaving behind the calorie-induced ice cream parlors of South State Street and South University Avenue, I ventured to East Liberty Street, where the striped awning of American Spoon caught my watchful eye. My feet responded to my growling stomach and marched past the Michigan Theater, the formerly named Twiggy (now Poshh) clothing store and into the parlor.
Stealthily walking to the right side of the store, I found a tabletop decorated with an array of jams and spreads. The wooden spoons and cholesterol-free crackers helped in dispensing and with consuming the jams. I chose a few spreads based on color, name (yes, a very important part of any jam) and beauty of the jar label, because we all know that one can judge a jam by its cover.
While at the counter, I note the all too common faux pas of trying to pass off yellow-colored, sweet items as mango-flavored. Unfortunately, they are usually mistaken in the taste and ruin people’s perception of the tropical fruit. American Spoon also attempts to create a bar-b-que sauce with mango flavoring, and while it was a sweet-tasting grilling sauce, it included no flavors related to mangoes. Moving away from the cholesterol-free crackers that are dry yet light, I found a basket filled with harvest granola. The dried cherries enticed me and held me captive as I enjoyed the chewy combination.
Finally, I made my way over to the gelato counter, where the syruppy-sweet staff asked me if I wanted to try some flavors. Reminiscent of a Rocher chocolate, the hazelnut chocolate gelato was pleasing with chunks of chocolate and a hint of hazelnut. The chocolate almond gelato, while appearing dark and indulgent, was bitter and left a harsh aftertaste.
The consensus on the favorite flavor was easily the zabaglione gelato, as it was much smoother and lighter than the rest of the flavors, and tastes very much like an Italian ice found in the backstreets of Little Italy in New York. The marionberry flavors that American Spoon offers in both its Fruit Perfect brand spreads and sorbetto are a delightfully tart combination of cherries and berries.
At under 7.5% milkfat, these deserts are rich in flavor and teeming with country goodness. While the serving cups seem very small in comparison to the waffle cones of similar price, the gelatos and sorbetos are heavy and filling.
Numerous curious customers asked the confused staff whether the gelato contained any gelatin. Thankfully for the vegetarians, the gelato making process does not include the use of any animal products.
Prompted by the brochures at the store, I paid a visit to the American Spoon website where I was shocked to find exorbitant prices. While the catalog is expansive and inviting, the prices included such excesses as $74.95 for six pints of gelato.
Not only does American Spoon offer tasty spreads and desserts, but it also provides low-calorie and modestly priced items at its country-style store. Enjoy a spoonful.
American Spoon Foods
539 E. Liberty St.
Open: Sunday 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. Tues – Wed 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Thurs – Sat 11 a.m. – 10 a.m.