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Bulgarini Gelato: Altadena’s Best-Kept Secret

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All the reviews will tell you the same thing: Bulgarini Gelato is as out-of-the-way as an ice cream store can get, but also the best gelato you can get in L.A.!

Since it seems that I’m making my way there about once a week, I figured I should write about it, although I could just keep the secret to myself…but I’m not feeling that cruel today.

As you can see on their website, they use the real, old-world method of making gelato, resulting in thick, creamy confection with the freshest of flavors. The first time I went there, there were Italians sitting at the next table over who said that this stuff is better than what you often get in Italy, since gelato places there are even starting to use mixes.

While the shopping center in which Bulgarini is located appears to be somewhat run-down, the corner with the gelato shop is set back from the parking lot, cozy and comfortable. The shop is just big enough to serve the ice cream to the steady stream of customers, and out front there are rustic wooden tables and chairs under quaint umbrellas.

Pistachio is by far their most popular flavor, as I confirmed when I found that they had run out of it the first time I was there. The flavors vary by what is freshly available that day, which makes it fun to sample new things each time (generously given out with smiles) before settling on one’s selection. If you get a small, you can choose up to 3 flavors in your cup, and up to 4 in a medium, so they happily accommodate the indecisive and the combination-lover. Come to think of it, I am both of those – I never want to limit myself by choosing just one out of many fabulous options, and I revel in trying flavors together, so this works well for me!

This last time, strawberry and pistachio hit it off together in my mouth (new marshmallow flavor, perhaps?) as the softly sweet berry sang in harmony with the ultra-nutty pistachio. I had also gotten almond (see, I had to get 3 flavors), which was so packed full of almonds that I almost felt like I was eating almond butter. Between the natural flavors and reusable cups (remember to throw them in the cup bin inside), this is a somewhat green option, too. Not your average ice cream joint!