It’s no secret that I am hopelessly obsessed with Claudio Torcè’s gelato. Nor is it a secret that Torcè is obsessed with making extraordinary gelato. His passion and creativity are contagious and in the past he has taught Rome’s top gelato producers, who, in turn, have opened their own stellar shops including Fatamorgana and Gelateria Gori.
In June, Marco Radicioni, another Torcè alum, opened Otaleg on Via dei Colli Portuensi in southwestern Rome (props to Tavole Romane for breaking the news). I first met him last summer when he was apprenticing with Claudio and working at the Il Gelato flagship in EUR. He was hopeful and determined. After more than a year of study, he opened his own space with the help of the maestro. The name is simply “gelato” spelled backwards, which Marco says manifests in the shop’s inverted design in which the laboratorio fills the storefront, rather than being hidden in the back.
Otaleg severs and array of savory, fruity, and creamy flavors, which are made in a stunning vertical Cattabriga machine that would be the envy of any world class gelataio. The ingredients are all natural and make use of high quality ingredients like Valrhona chocolate, Bourbon-Madagascar vanilla beans, IGP Tonda Gentile Trilobata hazelnuts, and more. The resulting gelato is rich, compact, and creamy.
Last week I tried 8 flavors, allowing Marco to choose for me. He is proudest of his zabaione, which is made with a healthy dose of Marsala Florio Targa Riserva 1840. The alcoholic notes were intense and the gelato’s consistency was pleasantly compact without being heavy. I loved his pairing with ricotta/dark chocolate ganache/amaretto and hazelnut. The fruit flavors–watermelon, banana and mango were intense, though the consistency was a bit too slushy for my liking. The finale, cream and chocolate with freshly whipped cream, was classic decadence.
Otaleg is located at Via dei Colli Portuensi 594. Open daily 11-23. Website.