Fior Di Latte opens a brick-and-mortar spot in Boulder

Bryce and Giulia De Meo Licht had been talking about opening a location for their amazing Italian gelato in downtown Boulder for quite a while, and now -- after a lot of work and planning, including a Kickstarter campaign that netted the project $10,143 -- their dream has been realized: Fior Di Latte will open at 1433 Pearl Street as soon as tomorrow. It already hosted a soft opening this past weekend, where the excitement was contagious. See also: Fior Di Latte keeps things cool at the Boulder Farmers' Market As I approached, a woman rushed out of the elegantly designed cafe exclaiming, "It's all free. The ice cream, the cakes -- all free. And so delicious. You have to try them." Inside, customers clustered at the counter examining the array of gelatos; others sat at the small tables; still more kept coming through the door.

Many of us were already devotees of the Lichts' gelato -- not ice cream, Giulia says firmly, but the true Italian treat. And their website explains the difference: Gelato is made from all fresh, natural ingredients -- as many as possible, though the Lichts order pistachios from Sicily and hazelnuts from the Piedmont. Their gelato contains none of the stabilizers and emulsifiers you find in commercial brands of ice cream, which means it has a short shelf life and has to be made daily.

That's one of the reasons you can't find Fior Di Latte in local stores, and why so far it's generally available only at the Boulder Farmers' Market. And it's also why so many Boulderites suffer gelato withdrawal when the market isn't in season, our tastebuds having been irretrievably ruined for the regular stuff.

At this party, of course, there's a glistening array of gelato on display, including pistachio, strawberry, melon,and a deep, rich chocolate; by opening day, Italian coffees should be available, too.

What's new from the Lichts is a spread of small pastries, each no more than a bite or two, and each more sophisticated than anything sold at any Boulder cafe since Amy DeWitt closed up her Cream Puffery some years ago. DeWitt now teaches at the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, and it's no surprise to learn that Joanna Powell, the chef who produced all these perfect little treats with the help of assistant chef Caroline Patterson -- opera cakes, tiny diamonds of layer cake, miniature fruit tarts, cream puffs and wonderfully chewy, almond macarons -- studied with her there.

Boulder boasts many first-rate coffee shops, but the Lichts are offering something new: dazzling treats served in an atmosphere that makes you nostalgic for Paris, old Vienna or Giulia's native Venice -- whether or not you've ever been to those places. Call 720-443-3467 for official opening hours.

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