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A Christmas find that will mean many happy returns

A gelateria in a Route 441 strip center in Parkland offers a rich menu of frozen treats. It’s worth the drive from Delray Beach or anywhere else.

What a find!

We were driving north on Christmas Night after a Chinese dinner in Sunrise and craving dessert (the restaurant where we dined offered none).  But being Christmas, it seemed that nothing was open. A quick online search of ice cream places that were open revealed that Glyk Gelato in Parkland was among them. We were close by.

And so, we headed to the Waterways Shoppes shopping center, where Parkland meets Boca Raton on Route 441 and Loxahatchee Road.  Driving through the darkened strip center, the bright lights of Glyk were a beacon in the night, leading us to what turned out to be an absolutely delectable selection of frozen confections.

Fewer than a handful of patrons were inside the bright white, almost sanitary storefront, where marionettes hang from the light fixtures and the menu is written in chalk on several wall-mounted blackboards.

Servers at Glyk

A gent in chef’s whites and a toque atop his head explained that everything is made in house with only natural ingredients and that you can taste anything at the adjacent counter and then return to him to place an order. Tastes were served on small steel spoons and orders were delivered in traditional glass ice cream dishes.

Dining-in patrons could sit at small tables or on the couches that lined the walls. It seemed so civilized. We stayed.

Glyk’s flavor offerings won’t overwhelm, but they are interesting. The dozdn or so on the menu include Belgian chocolate, chocolate-hazelnut, nocciola di Piamonte (hazelnut), peanut butter chocolate chip, pistachio di Bronte (pistachios grown in the foothills of Mount Etna in Sicily), cookies and cream, strawberry, sweet corn (a house specialty), vanilla bean, chocolate mint, fresh mango and Mexican lime. There also are non-dairy vegan offerings, made with fruit or plant milk. All are available to go in waffle cones, paper cups, or pint glass mason jars (that can be returned for a credit). Single scoops go for $5. Glyk also offers affogato, a shot of fresh-made espresso poured over vanilla gelato. I subsequently learned it’s not to be missed. Next time, perhaps.

Flor di Latte gelato

Belgian chocolate and mint chip gelatos share a cup

I opted for a dish of flor di latte, the first-ever gelato flavor, created at the Renaissance court of the Medici family in Florence, Italy.  Flor di Latte, with its exquisite texture, is the base for other gelatos and is the purest flavor since it consists of just milk, cream and sugar.

My daughter and wife shared a two-scoop dish, one of Belgian chocolate, the other chocolate-mint chip. The deeply flavored Belgian chocolate was rich and velvety, while the latter provided a blast of  in your face fresh spearmint.

Gelato, mind you, is significantly different from traditional ice cream in that it uses less cream and more milk. Gelato also typically doesn’t have egg yolks, a common ice cream ingredient. Gelato is creamier and has more elasticity than ice cream and contains almost 70 percent less fat than regular ice cream, though it is denser. The lack of fat, the fact that gelato is served warmer than ice cream (by a few degrees), and the density of gelato all combine to provide a flavor boost.

So how come Glyk was open on Christmas? Could be because its 30-something owner, Samuel Kelerstein, is Jewish. Kelerstein, who earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering in Mexico and then worked for a U.S. computer company for two years, decided to switch careers to the hospitality business. At 28, he decided to pursue a master’s in hospitality and tourism management at Florida International University. In 2014, before opening Glyk, he signed up for Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna, Italy. The university, founded in 2003, is the educational arm of Carpigiani, the Italian company best known for making gelato machines for restaurants and gelaterias. Kelerstein attended the university’s four-week training program called “Become a Gelatiere,” which includes three weeks of training and a one-week internship at a gelato shop in Italy.

The results of Kelerstein’s training are clear. Glyk without doubt is a winner. And it’s kosher, too.

Glyk is the Yiddish word for happiness. Oh, so appropriate and, for me, so worth the drive.

Glyk Gelato

7515 FL-7, Parkland, FL 33073

(561) 609-4900

 

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