A bite of Italy in the Vail Valley | VailDaily.com

A bite of Italy in the Vail Valley

Jessica SlosbergVail CO, Colorado
AE Rimini2 PU 12-28-07

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado At Riminis two locations, Beaver Creek and Arrabelle at Vail Square, old world decadence meets new world luxury.The new dessert shop features 24 kinds of gelato and sorbetto made fresh daily, homemade chocolates, an extensive wine-by-the-glass list and soon, hot panini sandwiches. The chefs, Heather Campbell and Vanessa Noonan, trained with Italian gelato masters to help refine their creations. The chocolates, made with imported Swiss chocolate, are also prepared in the store. Michele Huyke co-owner, trained with Guittard chocolates and Andrew Schotts of Garrison Confections, but the presentation is Vail Valley chic.First things, first. The gelato case, brought in from Italy, holds the marvelous culinary creations. Each flavor is decorated perfectly with whatever it is made from; quarters of pomegranate orbs and their leaves decorated the top of the bright pink icy confection. The flavors range from the classic such as raspberry, pistachio and chocolate to the unique such as avocado and pear marscapone. The chocolates have designs on top the passion fruit chocolate featured vivid purples and pinks. This is not your usual dessert place.We are a great step between fast food and sit down. We are fast casual, Huyke said about the two store fronts. You have the option of taking your indulgence with you as you wander or you can sit back and relax for an hour or four. Either one is fine with the staff. Leaving will be harder once the restaurants start offering paninis for lunch set for this week. We are being true to the Italian gelaterias, Huyke said. In Italy it is common for gelaterias to also have an option for lunch. Why gelato?I believe (gelato) is the next Italian wave, said Mike Schneider, co-owner and publisher of Chocolatier Magazine, Pastry Art & Design Magazine and Frozen Desserts Magazine. The last big thing from Italy was coffee brought to us by Starbucks, he said. Not that he thinks that gelato will be the same cultural revolution that coffee was, but he does think that gelato is here to stay.I do believe Americans really appreciate quality, Schneider said. The owners of Rimini believe in quality and backing up the image theyre portraying. For example, only Sicilian nuts are used in the pistachio gelato. The pistachios are on a similar price point as truffles. They could use other, less expensive nuts, he said, but It wouldnt be who we are. The offerings arent exactly cheap, either one scoop of gelato will set you back $5. The chocolates are between $3 and $4 and a cup of hot chocolate, albeit homemade, is $5. Youll get the best they can offer, but youll also be charged for it, Schneider said. The company is committed to bring a lot of Italy to the valley and not just the countrys culinary traditions. Almost everything in the store is imported from Italy from the gelato makers, to the red mahogany wood panels, to the light fixtures and even the cases that hold the creations.We have brought you Italy in virtually every facet, Schneider said.

If gelato or chocolate doesnt strike your fancy, consider a glass of wine.The shops approach to wine and how they serve (or preserve) it stands out. Both locations have an enomatic machine, a state-of-the-art wine machine that serves wine by the ounce. Once a bottle is opened the air is taken out and replaced with argon or nitrogen, which allows the wine inside to stay fresh for as long as six weeks. This allows the customer to try a very expensive wine that might not usually be available for tastings.Try some wine, get some education, Schneider said about the machine and its purpose. Whether you are popping in after a day on the hill for some gelato or a cup of the hot chocolate or as an after-dinner treat the owners are committed to providing their customers with an authentic experience.We believe this establishment, on a world level, is right up there, Schneinder said. It is nice to have something world class.

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