Gelato Goes West

Pairing gelato in Culver City

Westsiders need not battle a freeway obstacle course for a scoop of L.A.'s finest gelato.

Leo Bulgarini's new presence at Culver City's Teaforest has brought his eponymous and much-lauded gelato down the hill from Altadena. The new collaboration is under development, but Bulgarini envisions a space where gelato takes center stage, with cheeses, wine and beer offered as thoughtful accompaniments.

The intensity of his flavors is born of his ability to procure the finest ingredients and preserve them at their prime. He has even traveled to Sicily to escort prized pistachios back across the Atlantic.

Skilled at matching scoops, the former sommelier is not so much a gelato artisan as he is a flavor maestro. We were told to try pistachio and pomegranate–for good reason. The pairing recalls a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

We loved the salted chocolate ($2.50 per scoop for gelato and sorbetto) served with pear sorbetto, the latter providing a restorative foil to the dense punch of salty cacao. Alas, acknowledging the fickleness of seasonality, Bulgarini has now left pear behind until next year. But two new sorbettos, pineapple and blood orange, will escort us through the winter until blueberries start ripening up north.

Bulgarini Teaforest Café, 8686 Washington Blvd., Culver City; 310-815-1723 or bulgarinigelato.com