• Lemoncello Gelato, G/F, 11 Travessa da Sé (beside Lou Kau Mansion), Macau, Phone: 2858 9508

On a back alley off the center of Macau‘s central shopping area, I spot an unmistakable sign with an ice cream cone that says “Limoncello.” It can only mean one thing: gelato is near.

After experimenting with the street food of Macau, I’m ready for something satisfying and safe. But gelato in Macau… can it really be good?

At the counter I motion my hand to my mouth like a child and point to a curious brown flavor, indicating that I would like a sample. “Would you like to try something?” she asks in perfect English.

Embarrassed, I nod politely and thank her. She hands me a swirl of Rose Tea. It’s flowery and its near perfect replication of the actual drink leaves me speechless.

I sample more. The Black Sesame is grainy and thick, sticking to the roof of my mouth. I try something else with Tofu, whose origins I did not ask, and several sorbettos: Guava and Grapefruit, refreshing and sweet, sharp and sour.

After tasting nearly the entire case, it is with great difficulty that I decide on three flavors: Rose Tea, Banana Hazelnut and Ginger

The tea is the most particular, a flowery light taste with a slightly burnt aftertaste. I am careful to eat each flavor before moving on, as each is a different experience. The ginger burns when it goes down, but serves as a great palate cleanser between the two polar opposite flavors. I must wait in-between bites for the burn to settle and my craving for the freshness to liven. I don’t struggle to finish.

The banana hazelnut‘s secret is the use of fresh bananas and real hazelnuts. The flavor is unmistakably overload of fruit and absolutely delicious. It’s richness is satisfying, and the bite of cone makes for a little sugar rush. It’s flakey and light, and gone in seconds.

The ladies are very accommodating and patient while I interrogate: “What percent of cacao is in the chocolate? Are the sorbetto’s made with milk or water? Do you use fresh fruit or frozen?” Their responses are impressive. “60 percent real cacao. Mostly water. And fresh fruit, of course.”

Afterwards I was confident. They knew their ice cream and the secrets to a good gelato. Thick texture, fresh ingredients and creativity. Who would have thought a little taste of Italy could be had in Macau?

It would have been better if… it had been a little cheaper, not even in Italy a cone costs $6.