The Dish: Blood Orange Gelato at Benito's Gelato

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Gut Check reviews a single dish.

The Location: Benito's Gelato (14 North Central Avenue)

The Dish: Blood orange gelato (small)

The Cost: $3.34

The verdict after the jump...

The Verdict: I'm fascinated by gelato's popularity. Not because I don't like it. I like it very much. And I can tell how it is different from high-end ice cream. It is denser, but not as creamy. It has a smaller percentage of air and butterfat in its overall makeup than ice cream does, and it uses a different freezing process. That said, is the difference so great that it explains the number of gelato joints that have cropped up in St. Louis in recent years?

Benito's is a very small St. Louis-based chain founded by Cecily Hoffius and Judy Bellos, who operate the Ces & Judy's catering company. I stopped by the Clayton location one recent warm afternoon and ordered a small cup of blood-orange gelato.

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The difference between blood orange and an "ordinary" orange is more than just the color. Blood oranges aren't as sweet or as acidic. I noticed this from the first spoonful of Benito's blood-orange gelato, which had a refreshing tartness -- not quite bitter, but close -- and just enough sweetness to make this an indulgence, but not an ovewhelming one.

Would I order this again? Absolutely. Though, as as most ice-cream and gelato parlors, the temptation of trying one of the many other flavors is hard to resist.

-Ian Froeb

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