Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 27th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Desperately Seeking Spumoni

dining_spumoniWhere I grew up, pistachios were red and arrived in Christmas gift baskets. My sisters and I would finish off the bag with split thumbnails and pink fingers to show for it.

Later, I found pistachio ice cream in France as ubiquitous as chocolate. Although I wondered silently why it was green and found its flavor odd, surprisingly enough it was familiar, reminding me of spumoni.

As a child, the occasional trip to San Francisco with my grandparents typically included an Italian dinner, most often in the Doll Room at Veneto's. The meals would invariably begin with a Shirley Temple and end with spumoni. It's not that I ever craved this frozen finale, but it was part of our ritual and a rare opportunity for dessert was not to be dismissed. Swirls of chocolate, pink and alien green ice creams contained nameless bits of things found in holiday fruitcakes, but it was cold and very sweet.

From the word "foam" in Italian, traditional spumoni layers mousse mixed with nuts, fruit and sometimes rum with flavored ice creams. Unmolded, it is sliced to reveal multi-colored striations.

While still available in many Italian-American neighborhoods, it is a seasonal specialty elsewhere. Dreyer's spumoni is available locally, but it contains about 40 ingredients including partially hydrogenated soybean oil and artificial this and that.

I visited four markets before encountering a pint of Villa Dolce Spumoni Gelato ($4.99) at Whole Foods. This Los Angeles-based company uses just 12 ingredients, including dark European cocoa powder, sour Amarena cherry paste, and Sicilian pistachios.

The texture is light and icy, the chocolate flavor fudgy. The pink swirl exudes bright cherry essence; the green one pieces of pistachio and roasted almonds. The end is near for that carton in my freezer.

Villa Dolce Gelato, at Whole Foods, 911 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Visit

Comments (2)Add Comment
written by author, February 16, 2011
Thanks for the inside scoop on local Spumoni. Marianne's used to make it seasonally, but they didn't have it this year. Boo hoo.

Polar Bear Spumoni
written by Boomer, December 17, 2010
Locally, Polar Bear Ice Cream makes a very nice spumoni. I don't see it in stores that carry Polar Bear ice cream, but if you go out to eat at Lillian's Kitchen and order spumoni, you're eating Polar Bear's.

It's very good; and if your market doesn't stock it, go out to Polar Bear's store by Harvey West. They have the spumoni.
LOCAL SPUMONI! Do not favor the alien Los Angeles product, eck.

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location