In the News
"Serious gelato has landed in Portland! Pinolo Gelateria (on SE Division) is the real deal folks." – Karen Brooks,
James Beard-Awarded Food Critic
"Pinolo only opened in June, but immediately took over as the best gelato in town—and the others are not even close. We agreed it compares favorably to most of the places we visited on our respective trips to Italy in May. No surprise. The equipment, many of the ingredients and even the owner—an amiable beanpole from Pisa named Sandro Paolini—are all Italian imports."
"Serving sizes are generous. Paolini's fior di latte (plain) gelato is fresh and sweet, like good mozzarella. The pistachio has the bite of really good baklava. The chocolate is rich and bitter. As good as the gelato is, though, I'm more impressed by Pinolo's dairy-free sorbetto, which has none of the iciness of most local sorbets, shining shockingly bright with fruit flavor. Paolini is really embracing seasonal fruits here, so selection varies a lot. On a recent evening the peach tasted like fresh fruit puree and the strawberry like a handful of fresh-picked fruit on a sunny morning."
"A mixture of Italian and English seem to be spoken at every opportunity when you enter the shop. Just as in Italy, part of the experience is the joy of the conversation and the process of choosing the flavors you want to mix. In Italy you will typically find gelato is served with two flavors, regardless of the size of the portions, and Sandro has kept that tradition at his shop in Portland. Individually the flavors are relatively simple, yet there is a distinct art to pairing the flavors in order to bring out different aspects, similar to the concept of food and wine pairings. Sandro acts as the gelato-tender, finding what’s just right for each customer."
"His pistachio tasted like a journey to the center of the earth, nutty and salty to the core. The raspberry floated somewhere between a cloud and a berry patch. Fior di latte, the true test of a gelateria, was pure as the driven snow, and the chocolate? Forgeddabout it. Lush, bitter, and sweet notes jumped in every bite, made from little more than milk, a hint of cream and sugar, and a power-shot of Italian chocolate—three kinds, each organic and bean-to-bar. Boom. Every option surged with simplicity and intensity, backed by just the right temperature and creamy attack."