Chances are you’ve had dessert from Il Laboratorio del Gelato, but you just didn’t know it.
The 15-year-old shop has a storefront on Ludlow Street, where it serves a rotating selection of 48 gelato and sorbet flavors. But its main business is wholesale; it supplies more than 600 New York City restaurants — including Prune, Pearl Oyster Bar and Dos Caminos — with its flavors and custom creations, as well retailers such as Murray’s Cheese and Zabar’s with its pints.
This week, The Lab, as it’s known, is offering customers another way to try its gelato, with a new retail location opening in Greenwich Village on Dec. 15, at 56 University Place.
There, you can find a selection of 48 rotating flavors, like avocado, cucumber and chestnut, available by cone, scoop, milkshake and, starting next month, ice cream sandwich.
Il Laboratorio del Gelato also has a selection of cakes on offer, including a limited holiday ice cream layer cake, featuring layers of eggnog gelato, chocolate Kahlúa gelato and amaretto cookies, with a peppermint stick gelato coating.
“It just made sense to do something for the holidays,” said The Lab’s founder Jon Snyder.
“The peppermint stick seems to be everyone’s favorite — it’s like salted caramel, you can’t seem to get enough of it this time of year. I love eggnog — I could drink a gallon of it. We put it together and it worked.”
The holiday ice cream layer cake is available now through at least the end of the year in three sizes: Small ($39, serves 6-10) and medium ($69, serves 10-15), which are both round, and large ($89, serves 18-25), which is rectangular.
Here’s a breakdown of Il Laboratorio del Gelato’s holiday ice cream layer cake:
Eggnog gelato: Snyder tried making his own house-made eggnog last year to mix with his gelato base but couldn’t get it to his liking. “There’s something to that stuff that you buy that’s really hard to duplicate,” he said. “We use a good, quality, store-bought eggnog.”
Chocolate Kahlua gelato: Snyder’s dark chocolate is a mix of Cacao Barry Cocoa Powder and 62% Belcolade, a Belgian chocolate. It’s then mixed with Kahula. “I love Kahula,” he said. “There’s something about it that seems to be holiday-ish. Any liqueur this time of year. I also used it to give it a different color.”
Amaretto cookies: Snyder buys the cookies already crushed up from a supplier and uses them in a few gelato flavors, including amaretto crunch. “We go through a lot,” he said. “It’s very popular in the shop and for the restaurants, too.”
Peppermint stick gelato: Snyder has been making this seasonal flavor for at least a decade. “There are a few restaurants that always look for it — every winter Mary’s Fish Camp waits for it to be available,” he said. Typically the shop would crush the candy canes with a food processor. “It was very labor intensive, and 25 percent of it becomes dust that you have to strain out,” he said. But this year Snyder found a source for crushed candy canes, A. Panza & Sons. “They sell everything related to the ice cream world,” he said.