“Allo, howa are you,” said in his sharp, innocent, charming Italian accent. He doesn’t know my name, and I don’t know his but it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t know my name, and I don’t know his – but it doesn’t matter. I love him like a regular at a pub loves the barman. He’s my iceman.
He’s always there, every day scooping out different vibrantly coloured balls of ice cream, smearing it into cups, or onto cones for thousands of hours throughout summer. But he always greets me with a smile, a handshake and a “howa are you”. All the staff dressed in orange are just as sweet as the gelato they serve up at Bortolotti Eissalon.
This is not to be confused with the other ice cream salon chain which one can find on Marihilferstraße, Paolo Bortolotti. No, people of the 3rd district know Bortolotti well, and for them it’s like a birthmark in the district – it’s always been there, holds memories, and unusually long strands of hair grow out of it (ok, maybe not the last one).
Every single delicious flavor at this old-timer ice cream salon is made out back with fresh ingredients, and your tastebuds would know this fact even if we hadn’t told you. On a hot day, there’s always a line out front and as everybody knows, lines out the front of ice cream parlours don’t lie.
The flavour range includes the classics, yet is vast – from a lemon sorbet that will make your eyes bulge like a penguin that’s getting a bear hug, to a creamy, bitter chocolate that you would still lick at if it was smeared all over a hairy, 64-year-old geriatric’s body.
It’s owned by an Italian family, who pride themselves on two things – ice cream (obviously) and their breeding of a champion Formula 2 racing car driver, their son Mirko Bortolotti. I meet him on the day I’m there.
“Not much has changed here since Bortolotti opened over 50 years ago.”
‘Also the square on which it’s on looks pretty much the same as well.’
Bortolotti is located on a pleasant neighborhood square, hanging off of Landstraßer Hauptstraße. And visiting the ice cream parlour is like taking a trip back in time. This may have something to do with the orange and purple décor which has a look somewhere between a 60’s nightclub and a game show set. It certainly has a flair of its own.
While the cup or cone choice is offered through a hole in the wall at the front of the place, one can also sit and have one of their elegantly presented ice cream cups (including some odd creations, like Schnitzel-Eis (schnitzel ice cream) in the pleasant garden spread out under a shady tree on the square, or in their booth seats out the front. My fruit cup (Fruchtbecher) looks like a Caribbean dancers’ costume.
The best thing is: this place opens early, and closes late. Simply perfect for these long Summer days.