Thursday, May 5, 2011

Around Town: Like manna in the desert

By the time this column is printed, we will be in the middle of Passover.

Getting ready for Passover is a wild and unruly combination of religious observance and spring cleaning.

We ended up at Bulgarini Gelato Artigianale in Altadena last Saturday night because there was nothing left to eat at our house.

It was hot. We were tired. And a nice gelato seemed like manna in the desert. It was our first visit to Bulgarini’s.

Question: Why is the Bulgarini Gelato Artigianale different from all other gelaterias?

Answer: Try the salted chocolate with coconut.

I had heard about Bulgarini’s, but I had never taken the time to find it, even though the 91011 is a stone’s throw from the best artisan gelato factory outside of Italy.

Leo Bulgarini is a culinary artist. His flavors change because he uses seasonal fresh fruits. He also he brings products, including pistachios, back from Italy.

Right now, Bulgarini’s spring menu includes the following gelato flavors:

Pistachio, Hazelnut, Almond, Yogurt with Salt and Olive Oil, Zabaglione with Marsala Wine, Goat's Milk with Cocoa Nibs, Vanilla, Lime with Organic Milk, Florentine Chocolate Salt, Dark Chocolate, and Eggnog.

The sorbetti are Pineapple and Pear. The granita are Tangerine, Grapefruit, Pomegranate and Blood Orange.

Gelato is the great-grandfather of ice cream, but with a lower fat content. It is made from milk or cream, sugars and fruit or nut purees. Sorbetti are made from sweetened fruit juice or puree-flavored water and liqueur or wine. As it freezes, the sorbet is stirred. Granita is crunchier because it is not stirred as it freezes.

Leo Bulgarini’s recipes are top secret. His little factory supplies the finest restaurants in the region.

Rumor has it that Bulgarini projects outdoor movies in the patio next to his little shop. The location is not fancy and that’s part of its charm. You can sample all the flavors before your purchase.

Freshness is essential because gelato will only hold its flavor for a few days. Everything tastes better at the source.

And the source is right down the road from La Cañada Flintridge.

To arrive at Bulgarini’s from La Cañada Flintridge, you can take the back way via Woodbury Road and turn north on Lake Avenue, then left on Altadena Drive. Or take the 210 Freeway, go north on Lake and turn left at Altadena. Look for the shopping center on the right. Bulgarini’s is located at 749 E. Altadena Drive.

Happy holidays!

ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. Email her at

Around Town: Like manna in the desert

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