When looking for gelato, Italians in the Bay Area are looking for two things: the texture and the taste of the one they enjoy at home. I have found that often I run into gelaterie that either have one or the other, but rarely both. Caffe’ Campbell is one of the few exceptions.
Gelato is quite a different product than ice cream, although often they are referred to by using the same word (Italian for ice cream is gelato!). Italian gelato contains between 4% and 8% butterfat, while the traditional ice cream ranges between 10% and 18%. The temperature at which it is created and served is also different, and gelato needs special casings to be conserved properly. There are two categories of flavors generally: the milk and cream-based ones (cioccolato, nocciola, panna, crema, etc), and the water-based flavors (the fruit ones- strawberry, lemon, blueberry, etc.). While on a fruit-based gelato a little ice is acceptable (if the gelato is water-based, freezing is going to occur), in a milk-based flavor freezing is unacceptable. That’s what makes Caffe’ Campbell spot-on!
Owned and operated by the same team that runs La Pizzeria half a block down the street, Caffe’ Campbell opened at the beginning of April with the goal of bringing high-quality Italian gelato and pastries to Campbell. While the pastries are still a work in progress, they decided to add a light lunch menu to their offering, as well as a full espresso bar. Nevertheless, the reason to go out of your way is the gelato. I prefer the “creamy” flavors, like nocciola (hazelnut), gianduia and cioccolato (chocolate)- and Caffe’ Campbell was spot on! Pick the flavors that have been recently filled up- they’re going to be the freshest. I am looking forward to the time when they will have enough demand to make every flavor fresh every day- but for now, good job!