La Casa Gelato: Just a tourist trap, or Vancouver’s best?
By Morgan Hannah, Life & Style Editor
You know that feeling you get when you’re strolling through the ice cream aisle in Save-On-Foods and you’re faced with the same basic flavours—chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel, berry something, so on and so forth? As someone with allergies to milk, my options are even more limited and even more expensive! So, what’s a girl to do if her taste buds are looking for a sweet, creamy hug that won’t leave her feeling empty of flavour and full of fat? I think I may have found the answer at La Casa Gelato.
Opened in 1982 on Venables Street, La Casa Gelato was created by a man whose passion and work were one and the same. Vince Misceo and the whole family would spend around 15 hours a day scooping exotic flavours for Vancouver locals and tourists. Originally, La Casa served pizza, panarotti, panni, and gelato, but along the way they decided to focus on what they did best—velvety smooth gelato, sorbetto, and yogurt. On their website they claim to be “the only place in the world with 238 flavours on location.”
In business for 36 years, La Casa Gelato has won many awards, including the 2016 and 2018 Best Gelato Golden Plate award from the Georgia Strait. The big pink shop has also been voted Vancouver’s best in a 2018 Global News online poll. With 588 flavours to date, I decided to take a visit to the legendary gelato shop and taste some of these flavours for myself, seeing as how samples are free and practically endless!
Wasabi apple, papaya, blueberry lemon, Bailey’s Irish cream and Oreo, white chocolate and Oreo, and espresso chocolate flake are just some of the many flavours I tried during my visit, and even though I was sure I’d found my favourite—the deliciously dairy-free papaya—I couldn’t stop there! With three coolers full of fantastic flavours, I had to taste as many as I could, allergies be damned! Wild fennel, black sesame, aloe vera, honeycomb, and balsamic vinegar! All delicious! Chocolate chili, gorgonzola cheese, red bean and tofu, and green tea and mint, my taste buds were screaming I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!
Yes, this place certainly can serve up a good scoop and they even have dairy-free and sugar-free options, but what does the general public feel about La Casa Gelato? I stalked the front doors to find out.
Peter F. from Vancouver said in an interview with the Other Press, “The only reason anyone would go to La Casa is to see all the flavours. It’s overpriced, the flavours aren’t as bold as they used to be, and almost every bite has ice crystals in it. There are better options around.”
While respecting his opinions on the gelato shop, I also couldn’t ignore the fact that he happened to be carrying a cone of what looked like Cherry Garcia and peanut butter.
Trying again, I ran into Desmond from Burnaby who had a more positive review of La Casa Gelato for the Other Press: “A MUST stop! They have on hand 200 flavours at any one time. They even have flavours of fruits that I’ve never heard of before. I tried onion and curry gelato. I’ve never had that before. The prices are high, but it’s worth it.”
So, who’s right? Is La Casa Gelato just another tourist trap, or is it Vancouver’s best? I can tell you all about the intense flavours of this seriously authentic gelato, or you can stop by and find out firsthand. Go ahead, treat yo’self