Madison Butchko

I frequent the Elm Cafe, on the lower level of the Schwarzman Center, for my regular fix of a $4.50 regular-sized mocha. But one day, as I casually perused the menu, my eyes darted to the gelato section. To my surprise, the prices were notably lower — just $3.25 for a single scoop. It was a whole dollar cheaper than my beloved mocha and even less expensive than a latte, which is $4! One scoop of gelato was all it took to convert me to the sweet side.

 At the Elm, they offer both gelato and sorbet, offering a wide array of flavors. Determined not to miss out, I tried every one of them. So, here’s the scoop on all the flavors available.

Olive Oil Gelato 

Olive oil gelato has become my favorite flavor and is now what I typically order, although I’m not entirely sure if it’s due to its exotic nature or simply because of its intriguing name. Surprisingly, it doesn’t taste overwhelmingly of olive oil; instead, there’s just a subtle hint of it in the aftertaste. What truly pulls me in is the gelato’s smoothness — effortlessly scoops up and melts in your mouth, leaving a sensation that’s reminiscent of an elevated, unique vanilla flavor, despite it not being vanilla in essence. Among all the flavors, I highly recommend trying this one for its novelty and, most importantly, because it does taste great!


Passion Fruit Sorbet 

Among all the sorbet flavors, this one stands out as my favorite. The tartness of the passion fruit is wonderfully pronounced, making its flavors pop in your mouth. I particularly enjoyed the texture of this sorbet — it’s not icy at all, but rather delightfully creamy while still maintaining its fruity essence as a sorbet. Scooping it up with my spoon was effortless and satisfying. The pasisonfruit’s bright, vibrant golden-yellow appearance mirrors its equally vibrant taste. Overall, I highly recommend giving this sorbet a try! Its tropical, sweet and tart flavors are well-balanced. 


Dark Chocolate Gelato 

The chocolate gelato, although rich and unmistakably dark, didn’t offer the distinctiveness I anticipated. While it has a deeper, less sweet flavor profile akin to dark chocolate, the difference wasn’t significant enough to set it apart. Ultimately, I realized that if I craved chocolate, I could easily get it in the dining hall. While enjoyable, it lacked the uniqueness and memorability I had hoped for.


Cantaloupe Sorbet 

This sorbet tastes exactly like cantaloupe, offering a refreshing burst of freshness akin to biting into the fruit itself. Its sweetness perfectly captured the authentic flavor profile of real cantaloupe, which is one of my favorite fruits. Despite being less creamy and more on the icier side, the sorbet still had a soft texture. Nevertheless, it remained delicious! My favorite aspect was the accuracy of the flavor — it truly felt like a taste of summer with its vibrant flavors, freshness and sweetness.


Pear Sorbet 

I thoroughly enjoyed the pear sorbet — it truly felt like I was taking a bite out of a sweet Asian pear. Despite its slightly icier texture, akin to shaved ice rather than a creamier consistency, it still dissolved effortlessly on my tongue. Interestingly, the pear, orange hibiscus and cantaloupe sorbets all shared a very similar texture. Overall, I highly recommend giving it a try! With its accurate sweet flavor being a highlight, it’s definitely among my favorites.


Cucumber Sorbet 

This sorbet brought to mind the rejuvenating experience of drinking cucumber water. While the flavor might seem unusual at first, its refreshing and cooling essence surprisingly works incredibly well. This would be perfect for the summer or on any hot day. 


Vanilla Gelato 

This flavor was my least favorite due to its texture. Surprisingly, the vanilla gelato exhibited a similar gritty and grainy texture to the hazelnut variation. Unlike the smooth, creamy consistency typical of gelato, it still felt rough. Although the vanilla flavor was still present, the coarse texture was off-putting and I didn’t love it. 


Toasted Coconut Gelato 

Despite my usual aversion to coconut, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this toasted coconut gelato. Unlike the soapy or strange taste I typically associate with coconut, this gelato offered a genuinely good nutty flavor. The addition of toasted coconut flakes provided a delightful texture to the creamy consistency. Its flavor was sweet and toasted, striking a perfect balance without being overly sweet or overpowering in coconut essence. 


Hazelnut Gelato 

While I typically enjoy hazelnut flavors, I found myself somewhat disappointed with this gelato variation. Despite its accurate hazelnut flavor — a bit reminiscent of Nutella — the texture left much to be desired. Rather than smooth and creamy, it felt grainy, as if there were tiny particles present. I suspect this might be due to the inclusion of literal hazelnuts. Unfortunately, this texture issue detracted from what could have been a more satisfying experience. If you prioritize flavor over texture and really like hazelnuts, this gelato might still be worth trying.


Orange Hibiscus Sorbet

The sorbet had a delightful texture that was less creamy and more reminiscent of shaved ice. The orange flavor was incredibly vibrant and pronounced, offering a delightful balance of tartness and sweetness. I appreciated the slight sourness, which added depth to the overall experience. If you’re a fan of orange and citrus-based flavors, this sorbet is worth trying. 


Gelato can be enjoyed anytime and with anyone. Gelato is not just for Sundaes; it’s for every day. Getting gelato can be a study break or a casual hangout. But why stop there? Gelato could be the sweet ticket to romance. Picture this: you, smooth as gelato, finally muster up the courage to ask out that cutie from linear algebra. If they say yes, sweet victory! And, if you can’t get the cutie, you can still get the sweetie aka gelato. It’s a win-win situation either way.