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Morelli’s Gourmet Ice Cream in Atlanta raises the bar.

Friday, June 16, 2011
by Scott Wink of CharlestonFoodBloggers.com

Atlanta, GA –  We like ice cream.  Most people do.  We, however, like our ice cream to excite us the same way the rest of our meals do…..lots of different flavor combinations and lots of taste.  Forget vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate.   Think “coconut jalapeno”, “maple bacon brittle”, “balsamic strawberry”, “ginger lavender”, “Krispy Kreamier”,  and even “Feta and basil”.  These are only a few of the hundred of flavors of ice cream that Morelli’s Gourmet Ice Cream & Desserts at 749 Moreland Ave B-102 in Atlanta, GA 30316 serves.  This location does not have inside seating.  Customers wait in line outside and get their orders handed to them through a sliding window in the front of the ice cream shop.  At any given moment Morelli’s has about 20+ flavor options.  While that is great for trying new flavors it could be bad if you have a favorite flavor you want to eat on a regular basis.  I kind of like it though. It forces me to stay adventurous.

Top Chef contestant Kevin Gillespie of Woodfire Grill told us we had to go check them out. He has been working with Morelli’s owners Donald Sargent and Clarissa Morelli to develop a few of their cutting edge flavors like maple bacon brittle.  Kevin lives near Morelli’s and is a frequent customer.  The collaboration with Gillespie will continue this year when the second Morelli’s location opens this month.  Gillespie will be developing a sundae menu for that new location which will be located at 1221 Caroline Street.   

When we where in Atlanta recently we got to spend some time with owner Clarissa Morelli and even do some food photography for them.  They were trying to decide how to decorate their new location so we did a photo shoot to give them some ideas and get them started (see photos below).  We asked if they had any flavor combinations that fell flat or were too complicated for their customers and they answered “celery and guacamole”.  Interesting. I would try it.   I was also curious which flavor was one of their most popular and they informed me that their “salted caramel flavor sells 2 buckets to every one bucket of vanilla”.  Lastly, we asked them for some of their favorite ice cream places in the US and they said they really like Ici Ice Cream in Berkeley, CA,  Humphry Slocombe in San Francisco, CA, and Bi Rite Creamery in San Francisco, CA.

This is the type of ice cream shop that every great food town needs.  Something similar to Morelli’s would do well in Charleston.  A lot of Charleston’s dessert places stop much shorter that Morelli’s in pushing the limits of flavor or have limited access.  Here are my 3 favorite creative frozen dessert places in Charleston (I don’t like frozen yogurt):

  • Paolo’s Gelato (in Atlanta and Charleston)  is typically really good but they only have a couple of flavors a day and they are not nearly as creative.  
  • Roots Ice Cream  is the closest thing we have to Morelli’s but they only sell from a small cart at farmers markets or other events.  Hopefully they can find a permanent location and expand their daily selection. I think it would be a guaranteed winner.  They are trying a CSI (community supported ice cream) for a 12 week season this summer.  You pay for the whole season and then pick up your pints once a week at the farmers market.  I really liked their beet flavored ice cream!
  • Diggity Doughnuts food truck has some great ice cream sandwich specials which usually consist of a scoop of ice cream stuck inside a fresh doughnut.  They make crazy good doughnuts.  I am not sure if they are all vegan but I do no they make many great tasting vegan options.  I need to find out more info about the ice cream they use.  Could it be diary free? Maybe but probably not…..so many questions. (Note to self……talk to Roots and Diggity and find more information about their stuff….maybe an in depth summer feature on them)

The next time you are in Atlanta stop by one of Morelli’s locations and sample some of their great flavors. If you are a fan of Top Chef ask for one of Kevin Gillespie’s flavor creations.  (“Hot”lanta in summer) + (Morelli’s ice cream in your hand) = (not so bad).

Maple bacon brittle

Krispy Kreamier….tastes just like the donuts!!!