Sunday, June 28, 2015

Vivoli Gelateria Review (Downtown Disney/Disney Springs)

When you think of Italy's finest exports, most of them are not gluten or dairy-free: pasta, artisan cheeses, and other delicacies. Luckily, Orlando's newest import- Vivoli Gerlateria- is different because it is an equal opportunity business, offering plenty of dairy-free and dairy-filled offerings to please one and all.

What's really neat about this gelati emporium is that it's sister store is a beloved time-tested family-run gelato parlour in Florence, Italy. That's right, there's only two places in the world where this gelati can be found: Italy and right here in Orlando at Downtown Disney. 

Arriving early before a morning movie at the AMC theater at Downtown Disney, my mom and I decided to try out the newly opened establishment. Sorbet for breakfast was certainly a delicious prospect to me!

Vivoli Gelateria opens at 10 AM every day, so I could easily stop by for a peek and a taste before my 10:40 movie. I figured it would be easier to stop by before the crowds were really bad, and to minimize cross contamination by getting first pick at the gelati before the flavors were depleted.  

Entering, I asked the friendly workers which ice creams were dairy-free, and instead of getting a blank look, I got an excited smile. It turned out that the worker serving me was dairy-free herself, so I immediately felt more at ease giving the sorbet (non-dairy gelato) a try. 

What's really neat, is that the vast array of gelato and sorbet in the display case is easily identifiable. White handles indicate dairy-filled gelato while the blue ones indicate dairy-free ones. Gluten, too, is easy to identify, because it is hidden in obvious places- cookie mix-ins in some of the gelati and their pastries. Mouth watering just looking at the spread? Don't worry, samples are free and seemingly endless.



The day I visited, the following flavors were gluten and dairy-free (Italian names are noted):
  • Mango (Mango)
  • Pear (Pera)
  • Pineapple (Ananas)
  • Cantaloupe (Melone)
  • Lemon (Limone)
  • Cinnamon Apple (Mela e Cannella)
  • Strawberry (Fragola)
  • Lemon Basil (Limone e Basilico)
What excites me is that these flavors are not your average sorbet flavors. Usually ice cream shops offer one or two token flavors, but these were nuanced and made with just as much craftsmanship as the dairy gelati. I sampled the strawberry (refreshing and tastes like fresh picked berries), lemon basil (sweet and savory), and the cinnamon apple (think: apple pie in a cup). The worker who helped me was really patient with my waffling and sampling, and generously gave me recommendations as to her favorite flavors.


It turned out that her suggestion to try the cinnamon apple flavor led me to taste and fall in love with the unique flavor. I loved the spiciness of the cinnamon and the sweet tartness of the apple. The sorbet may have been an Italian export, but it was 100% Americana in its flavoring. The small sized cup was the perfect serving size, not leaving me in a sugar-induced coma. Although unconventional, it was a delicious breakfast, and had me dreaming of my next return to the shop the moment I left. I will definitely be coming back for more tasty adventures several times this summer! 



While I entered not expecting to be able to eat anything, I left with a happy belly and taste buds. The staff were really friendly, and genuinely excited about the sorbet and gelato. It's a special place where you can get treats to please every member of the family without breaking the bank. Of all of Disney Spring's new acquisitions, Vivoli Gelateria might just be my favorite one yet. It's a magical experience to taste the culinary expertise of Italy without even getting a passport stamped.



The Basics

Address: Downtown Disney/Disney Springs
Cuisine: Gelato, sorbet, paninis, baked goods
Ideal For: Lunch, Snack, Dessert
Price: Small $5, Medium $6, Large $7, additional preparations vary in price
Accessibility: Easily wheelchair accessible, shop could be tight

Disclaimer: This review is based upon the information I have at the time of the review and does not reflect changes in ingredients or availability of items. Please contact the restaurant directly for up-to-date information and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.

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