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Treats are low in fat, high in flavor at new gelateria

Christine Kaufmann was a successful player in the corporate world, but there was something missing, something that money can’t buy.

“I always wanted to own an Italian-style gelateria,” Kaufmann said. “I didn’t care about making more money.”

Kaufmann recently decided to follow her dream. The result is Gelateria Frizzante, a new gelato cafe on Prospect Street that is changing the habits of many La Jollans.

Gelateria Frizzante’s gelato, an Italian-style ice cream that is prepared every day right on the premises, has many advantages over American-style ice cream. For one thing, it is much lower in fat. You wouldn’t know it by the creamy, melt-in-your-mouth taste of gelato, but this product is made with whole milk and no cream. As a result, it has only 3.5 percent butterfat, while ice cream has 12 to 18 percent.

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Not only does that make gelato lower in calories than typical ice creams, it also means that more flavor gets through to the finished product.

Diabetics or weight-watchers will be delighted to know there are a couple of nonfat and low-sugar flavors on the menu, and you really can’t tell the difference.

The consistency is always just right, never too cold. That’s the reason the shop offers samples of any flavor you wish to try before you buy a dish or a cone. There are always about 30 to 35 flavors in the gelato cases, but Gelateria Frizzante has about 100 or more flavors in its repertoire.

“When people request a certain flavor, we try it,” Kaufmann said. “If it’s popular, we keep it. Otherwise, we try something else. We had a request for a rice pudding gelato, and it was very good.”

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Among the unique flavors you’re likely to encounter are cheesecake, roasted almonds, pistachio, espresso and yogurt-flavored gelato with fruit. The sorbet section features fruit-flavored delights like green apple, peach, blackberry, strawberry and lemon. And the sorbet is both fat- and milk-free.

Kaufmann is proud of these sorbets because they’re made with plenty of whole fresh fruit, which gives them their rich colors and fruity taste. There’s nothing watery and thin about these sorbets.

Gelato prices start at $3.25 for a small cup or cone, with one to three flavors of gelato. You can buy your gelato in quantity to go ($6.75 to $12), and the gelato will keep very well in the freezer. If you have any leftovers, that is. The shop even offers gelato cakes made to order ($34). Just select your favorite flavors and toppings, and Gelateria Frizzante will do the rest.

Gelato may be the biggest attraction for the local crowd, but it’s not the only item on the menu. The eatery opens at 8 a.m. every day of the week, and the breakfast menu features continental breakfast items such as pastries, muffins, bagels and scones.

Any time of day, the coffee and espresso menu is a favorite. All the coffees are made from hand-selected beans purchased from top growers around the world. Then they’re fresh-roasted in the Italian style.

Opt for a double shot of espresso ($2) or a cup of cappuccino ($2.75). But for pure coffee lovers, the house coffee ($1.75 or $2) is the perfect drink to savor, especially in the morning. There are nine different coffee selections on the menu, along with a variety of teas ($1.75) and hot chocolate ($2.50). Among the decadent choices is a gelato affogato ($4.75). This drink features gelato, a shot of espresso and whipped topping.

For the lunch crowd, the Gelateria Frizzante offers panini sandwiches and salads, and they’re all delicious. The panini sandwiches are served grilled Italian-style or cold, on fresh-baked focaccia.

The most popular is the caprese ($7.25). This vegetarian delight is not just aimed at vegetarians. The satisfying sandwich is made with fresh mozzarella cheese, ripe tomato slices and fresh basil. It is served on rosemary focaccia with balsamic vinaigrette, and when the sandwich is toasted on the grill, the cheese melts and the flavors really meld.

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The taquino ($7.25) is a mix of turkey, provolone cheese and baby greens on eight-grain focaccia. It gets its wonderful flavor from a pesto spread. Other exciting sandwiches on the menu are proscuitto with fresh mozzarella and provolone on piadina (flat bread) with olive oil, basil and black pepper ($8.25); roast beef on eight-grain focaccia, with parmesan, provolone, pickles, baby grains and pepper spread ($7.25); and verdure, a sandwich made with roasted and fresh vegetables, cheese and greens ($7.25).

Gelateria Frizzante is at 1025 Prospect St. Call (858) 454-5798.


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