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A Gelateria in Los Feliz and Why It Sells Almdudler

"Local nuts and fruit." Gelato Bar in Los Feliz
Every few weeks life - or rather the pain in my neck and the chiropractor who is trying to fix it - takes me to Los Feliz, a charming neighborhood on the southern flank of Griffith Park. Los Feliz has become trendy over the last couple of years. Different from so many other more corporate places in L.A. it has that small-town, artsy feel that comes with independently owned coffee shops, restaurants, and stores.

One of my favorite hang-outs is the Gelato Bar on Hillhurst Avenue which not only offers delicious gelato  but also sells Almdudler, an herb flavored soda and my favorite drink from Austria. (Long time readers of Across the Pond might remember that Almdudler is one of the things I carry in my suit case when I come back to L.A. from Europe.)

The story of how the gelato came to the bar is posted online. Gail Silverton, the gelateria's co-owner, discovered the Italian version of ice cream when she tried her first gelato during a visit to Florence in 1979. "From the taste of my first hazelnut gelato, I knew that I had never had anything quite like it.”

What makes gelato different? Joel Gutman - he co-owns the Gelato Bar and is married to Gail - told me in a telephone interview that there is no standard for gelato but that it is generally churned more slowly than ice cream. This makes for a less airy product with a "more creamy, denser, better flavor". Gutman and Silverton use a heating process for their gelato; they make it in small pans rather than large batches; and they use milk not cream. Gutman: "You get less fat and less calories." Gutman doesn't deny that syrups which are imported from Italy go into his shop's gelato. "Some might make it from scratch", he explained, "but they are few and far between, even in Italy. We add local nuts and fruit."

And the Almdudler? Gutman: "We have many choices of authentic, no corn syrup sodas in glass bottles in our cases. It makes you feel better about what you are drinking." People in L.A. are not familiar with the product but according to Gutman they do like it. He and his wife think of it as "a better alternative than ginger ale". As with the gelato the reason for them knowing about Almdudler in the first place is biographical. Gail Siverton's first husband was Austrian.

Comments

Good question. I'll try to find out.
Oops. I accidentally deleted the question that preceded my first comment on this post. In it, Mark had asked about the ingredients in Almdudler. As I said: I will try to find out.

Mark: Sorry for the deletion. I was playing around on an iPad and got something wrong...
Mark -

Tina-Maria Eberl, the media contact for Almdudler in Vienna, told me in an email last week: "Almdudler contains 32 herbs. Among the 32 are gentian, lemon balm, sage, elderberry, and echinacea." (My translation from German.)

Later another contact in the company gave me a clarification for the gentian: Almdudler is made from the root not the flower.

Hope this helps!
Mark said…
Wow, 32 herbs! I have to try this sometime. Thanks Christina

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