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Democratic Dessert: The Rise of Il Dolce and Their Handmade Gelato

Despite being an acclaimed continental traveler and sampler of many unusual dishes, I've never relished real gelato, for many disparate reasons.

The first time I was confronted with dessert was around 2003 or so. I was in Fort Collins, Colorado, working as an on-air talent for a public radio station. After a rousing mid-day shift, I decided to walk to the new gelato house in town, wanting a frozen treat for a frosty job.

But, as I was about to enter the storefront, across the street, a college frat-guy yelled out “Hey! Ron Jeremy!” and something about self-pleasuring.

While I’m sure he was complimenting the famed porn star’s massive member, I was even more sure it was about the Hedgehog’s rotund frame. Dejected, I turned around, promising to never to try the creamy dessert, with God as my witness.

Flash-forward to 2023—twenty years have passed, and I have grown so much wiser and have become far more experienced in the world of frozen desserts and body hair.

But even better, for these past few years, I have reconnected with my brother and pre-teen nephew. I guess a life-altering stroke will do that for some people!

Which brings me to Il Dolce (1318 N. Interstate Dr)...

After a semi-charmed screening of the new tepid Ant-Man, I wanted to take my nephew out for a sweet treat to anywhere but the old reliable Braum’s. A couple of doors down, I decided to confront my gelato fears at the Robinson Crossing Shopping Center in Norman.

As you walk in Il Dolce, you're immediately greeted with great viscosity by the scads of flavors. Creamily classy, it's exactly the way a gelato spot should be, at least if it's in Norman, Oklahoma.

Even though it might look like expensive ice cream, gelato is supposedly better for you than the real stuff, carrying half the calories since it uses milk as opposed to heavy cream. At least that's what the Internet tells me.

After taking in the wonderous concoctions and their aromatic scents, we placed our orders. The nephew choose the Cookies and Cream, while I selected the Frankenstein-flavor of the Quasimodo. Each cost about $5.00, comparable to a cup of frozen yogurt at a filling station like OnCue.

My nephew enjoyed the Cookies and Cream, for the most part. It was a perfect treat for the cold Oklahoma night, but I guess his eyes are bigger than his stomach, barely finishing one-third of it

But I was in the same boat. My selection, the Quasimodo – named after a deformed and abused tragic anti-hero in the acclaimed Victor Hugo novel – was tasty, with its almond and chocolate chip flavors expressing the tortured pathos of the novel's tragic premise.

In other words, it was quite good!

Of course, it was far too big. I barely finished half of it. I brought my leftovers to the car, but after a few minutes, it was messy and melty and sticky all the way around, and soon deposited in a nearby trash can.

Overall, I guess I can say I do generally like gelato, especially the Il Dolce brand, and I won’t let simple insults stop me from enjoying a true creamy dessert.

But, you know, I still don’t like being compared to Ron Jeremy.


Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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