August 30th, 2005

Feast

Oddono

Location: 14 Bute Street, London SW7 3EX, in South Kensington. Open from 11am until at least 11pm, seven days a week!

Blue skies, fluffy white clouds, and a high of 26°C blessed the culmination of the Notting Hill Carnival, for which a respectable half-a-million or so showed up on Monday. We were unable to decipher when the parade itself was due to happen from any obvious website, so we avoided the worst of the crowds in favor of the vaguely-related Caribbean Festival in Hyde Park. A tightly-scheduled afternoon of song and dance paraded across the main stage while I loitered on the expanse of grass, occasionally drawing, but mostly listening to the entertainment. A balloon blew into me at one point, so I kept it for a while. I also observe that Brits are generally unprepared for sunshine - at most, five percent of the attendees were wearing hats. I doubt even that many had sunblock on.

After several hours of photographing musicians and dancers, C. was ready to check out an ice cream place about which naxos had recently sent us an appealing article. It was nearly 6pm by this point, so we had every expectation that the place would be closed up. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that its generous opening hours stretch late into the night. We had all the time in the world the browse the flavor selection and eat our ice cream.

Oddono makes its own Italian-style gelato, fluffy light, richly-flavored ice cream. The nocciola (hazelnut) was fabulous: full of hazelnut flavor and not too sweet. The white chocolate ice cream tasted exactly like white chocolate. C.'s amarena (black cheery) was rich with creamy fruityness, and his maccademia ice cream was exactly what it promised it would be. None of the ice creams were too sweet; they were beautifully-balanced flavors, not overpowering. Next time I go, I'm trying some of the sorbets, which included passion fruit and mango.

The shop is modestly-sized, the back third of the structure taken up by its glassed-in ice cream making kitchen. In the front, there are a handful of tables, with a bar lining the wall. Not counting the three or so tables outside, there's room for perhaps a dozen people to sit down inside at once. The gelateria also serves espresso and other coffee drinks in cups labelled "Conflict" or "Dreams". The coffee is also used in their affogato, coffee with a scoop of ice cream.

UKP 2.50 for two scoops of ice cream in a cup.