During the winter in the valley is the best time to get sweet, frozen treats. Gelato won’t melt as quickly and eating something cold in the desert makes it feel more like winter.
Tucked inside of the Metro Center Mall is Lombardo’s Gelato, a family-owned and operated business with another location at Arizona Mills.
An Italian refrigerator specifically made for gelato, which sits about 12 degrees warmerthat an ice cream freezer, holds the creamy treats.
“Gelato should be creamy, not hard like ice cream,” says Bebe Lombardo, the 79-year-old mother of the maestro gelaterie, the Italian word for master gelato maker.
“They call me ‘Mama Gelato’,” says Lombardo.
In 2004 the Lombardo’s went to Italy and found a maestro gelatiere to relocate to Phoenix, Arizona. For almost two years Sandro Proia, an Italian maestro gelatiere from Della Palma, Rome, taught his family recipes, techniques and secrets to Peter and Gerard Lombardo.
The Lombardo’s opened their business in Phoenix 12 years ago and have been open at the Metro Center Mall location for nine years. Their mission is to make the best quality gelato they can while bringing good cheer and happiness to their customers.
“The gelato maker is passionate about making his gelato outstanding in every way,” says Lombardo about her son, the maestro gelatiere.
“Everything is made from scratch- everything! He makes chocolate fresh, the mint is from Italy and all the fruit used is fresh,” says Lombardo.
“Our most popular flavor is the strawberry and white chocolate gelato,” says Lombardo.
This flavor has fresh strawberries folded with white chocolate from Belgium. The strawberry and chocolate gelato tastes light, airy, sweet and tangy.
“We are the only gelato place in town that folds their gelato,” says Lombardo.
Flavor options include cappuccino, maple pecan with fresh-cut nuts in every bite, raspberry, horchata, dulce de leche, cheese cake, Oreo, strawberry banana, mint chocolate chip, pistachio, coconut, chocolate and more.
“The maple with the pecans I like the best. It’s really good. It is smooth and has good flavor. It tastes fresh,” says Marianne Alvarez, a customer at Lombardo’s Gelato.
For those not just looking for a dairy treat there are different low-fat options, sugar-free options or lactose-free options like limone, mango, patron lime, raspberry and pineapple.
Also offered are espressos, smoothies, chips, sodas, shakes, lemonades and floats.
“Be happy. Don’t be sad if you can help it. Life is great, you have to be happy,” says Lombardo.
With a creamy scoop of gelato and sweet and kind wisdom from ‘Mama Gelato’, Lombardo’s Gelato is somehow one of the warmest places in the valley.
Lombardo’s Gelato is located inside Metro Center Mall at 9617 N Metro Parkway W, Phoenix, AZ 85051. There is also a Lombardo’s Gelato kiosk located at Arizona Mills mall, 5000 S Arizona Mills Circle, Tempe, AZ 85282.