Here in Linz, as soon as the sun comes out and the weather hits above 60°F, gelato season begins. How do you know for sure that it’s begun? Every person, young or old, male or female, alone or with a group has a cone or cup of gelato in his or her hand while wandering down the Landstraße (the main shopping street).
The possibilities for buying gelato are endless. I’ve heard that there is an actual law stating when gelato kiosks can open (and that it’s the same date as when restaurant patrons can begin sitting outdoors), but don’t quote me on that. Little Imbisse (snack kiosks) selling only gelato open on street corners, restaurants and cafes add gelato stands to their premises, and specific gelato-only shops reopen for the season. If you want gelato in Linz (and most other Austrian cities), the possibilities are endless. At most establishments one scoop in a cup or cone costs somewhere between €1 and 1,20. For two scoops, typically of two different flavors, the price usually goes up by €1, and chocolate-dipped cones also cost extra.
When I think of gelato, I think of super rich and creamy ice cream. For a long time, I thought it was worse for you than ice cream just because of it’s inherent creaminess. But guess what, Reader, there is good news! Gelato, unlike ice cream, usually has no cream in it, making it just a little bit healthier and lower in fat than ice cream. This also makes the flavors stronger. The reason it tastes so creamy without cream is because not very much air is added during the churning process. This makes gelato denser than ice cream!
As a food blogger I feel it’s my duty to report on the different gelatos of Linz. Okay, I’ll be honest, I really just like the idea of eating gelato while sitting in the sun with a good book. Many of the stands sell your traditional flavors: chocolate, vanilla, caramel, stracciatella, coffee, and various fruity flavors. Some stands are better than others–a few of the restaurants on the Hauptplatz clearly just want to make some extra cash and sometimes allow their gelato to get a tiny freezer burn. But there are also three shops that I can think of off the top of my head that sell just gelato. Nothing else.
One of these shops is SURACE, which I had been eyeing since it closed for the winter. The shop just looked so welcoming, even without any gelato. I casually mentioned this to a fellow TA and she confirmed my suspicions: very good gelato.
After that, I had to try it. Now, Reader, I have some surprising news: I think I have a favorite gelato. I’m very bad at picking favorite things. Like Julie Andrews, I, too have a long list of things that are my favorite. I don’t like being decisive and having to pick just one. But SURACE’s Sacher gelato is just so good! Sacher, if you’re unaware, is a fancy hotel in Vienna that developed a cake in 1832 that has become a pillar of Austrian cuisine–the Sacher Torte. Sacher Torte is a dense chocolate cake (just one layer, usually circular) topped with a thin layer of apricot jam and a thick chocolate ganache. This gelato features a super rich dark chocolate base, swirls of thin apricot jam, and dark chocolate chunks. YUM! Other more unique flavors sold by SURACE include yogurt, Mohn (poppyseed), Topfen-Feige (Topfen is a mild fresh cheese, Feige are figs), a very boozy tiramisu, and Mr. Nico (peanut butter–yes, that’s unique in Austria).