I never intended to write about ice cream. As summer approaches, everyone writes about ice cream in Paris, but aside from Grom, the Italian gelato maker who moved on to the rue de Seine earlier this year, the ice cream scene hasn’t changed all that much in years. With nothing new to add, I didn’t feel very inspired.
That is, until @thatparisguy announced that @tavallai (this all took place on Twitter in case you aren’t following) had uncovered a new gelato place in the 3rd and was claiming that it was the best in Paris. I should confess, I know very little about gelato, except that it’s Italian for ice cream, but @tavalli sounded like he knew what he was talking about and so right before dinner, to my boyfriend’s dismay, I took our dog for a walk in search of Mary, who, as @tavalli claimed, was making the best gelato in Paris.
Mary is located in one of those out-of-the-way streets that you might miss if you didn’t have a reason to go there. It’s not far from Republique and is considered the “upper Marais” I suppose. The shop has only been open for about two weeks, but already seemed to be doing well as was evident from all the people I saw eating ice cream as I made my way up the rue Charles-François Dupuis .
Mary Quarta, who is Italian, was there, serving her gelato. She is charming, doesn’t speak much French or English, but thanks to her partner who could interpret, I was able to find out what makes great gelato. First, you must have great ingredients, then know-how and of course love, she told me. Her gelatos were full of flavor and from the way she spoke, you could tell that she was passionate about making them. On the wall proudly behind her was the 1st place award she won in Milan last year for her coffee gelato.
The deep chocolate and crimson colors were beautiful, but unfortunately I got so caught up in my conversation with Mary and her partner, learning about her shop in Milan, how she had studied with a gelato master, and how she loved Paris and spent the past year trying to figure out how to open a shop here, that I walked out, got half way down the block only to realize that I hadn’t even paid and never took a photo of the gelato! So back I went and bought another two flavors—all for the sake of the blog—this time a markedly flavorful hazelnut and pistachio.
As I said, I am not a gelato expert, so I can’t say with conviction that this was the best gelato in Paris. I would love to go back with someone like David Lebovitz to hear his authoritative take. If you want to learn more about gelato then I suggest you read David’s article What’s Gelato, because he can certainly tell you more than I ever could.
In any case, Mary’s gelato is very good, so if you want to taste one of the best, and certainly the newest addition to the Paris ice cream scene, head to Mary.
1 rue Charles-François Dupuis,
Omid Tavallai’s article which inspired me to go: Mary the Gelato Shop
And some Paris classics for ice cream
31, rue Saint-Louis-en l’Ile, 4th.
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays and the second half of July and August—just in time for ice cream season!
You can of course get Berthillon’s all over the Ile Saint Louis but I wouldn’t have it anywhere else but here. This is the original store and somehow it just tastes better here.
45, rue Mouffetard, 5th
81, rue de Seine, 6th
39, rue du Roi-de-Sicile, 4th
59-61, bd de Reuilly, 12th.
David Lebovitz has an exhaustive and authoritative list in his article Paris Ice Cream Shops: Les Glaciers de Paris
And Barbra Austin lists her favourites in an article on her blog: Paris is Freezing
And in French, Figaroscope’s “best” list for 2010: Glaces: Nos plus belles notes de frais !