You know that feeling you get when an acoustic guitar starts up as the actors drive into some glaring sunset on an open road at the end of the film?
Schelato – pronounced with a sharp ‘shhhh’ (please don’t try pronouncing it with a mouthful of ice cream) – comes pretty close to hitting that G-spot. Life is good here at Schelato, the ice cream salon that’s just opened up in Vienna’s 8th district.
If you’ve ever seen a sunset streaming down Lerchenfelder Straße, you’ll understand why Schelato’s location adds to this place’s special summer atmosphere. Not that it needs a sunset to set its chilled summer mood. Somebody has gone to work here with their imagination – I realise this as I stand up on the little stools provided for the little people in front of the mosaic ice cream bar, and look over this small world ruled by ice cream, created by wild imaginations.
This sweet, sweet spot is the result of when owners, Philipp (formerly out of the theater and film industry) and Luciano (a fashion fiend), went looking for something to build with their creative inklings. Why not an ice cream salon?
The ice cream is organic and the flavours are outlandish which first strike you with their colours and odd ingredients, and then hits you with their unusual, yet delicious taste.
Beetroot and poppyseed warrant our first, hearty WTF?!!! Followed by the flavour containing avocado. But, damn is the taste outstanding. And they’re not just scoring points for their originality. Even the more plain sounding flavours like lemon sorbet, buffalo milk, the mango and French caramel inspire a moment of silence after the first spoonful.
Also special about this place is that the ice cream comes to life in a laboratory beneath the salon. Philipp takes me down into the lab where his fellow ice cream scientist, Luciano, is working away. The smell of fresh milk permeates and I let out one of those WOW’s that come with seeing behind the scenes of how something you love is made.
How do you come up with the flavours, I ask Luciano – “It’s just a matter of trying different things, thinking up unique unisons, experimenting.”
I don’t know what kind of clothes Luciano designed before, but I for one am very happy he gave it up to make ice cream.
While we have no doubt they exist here, we don’t see one parent or child in the place while we’re there. Instead, 20-somethings are chilling in the atmospheric garden out front which nestles up to a florist – another perfect union created. Flowers from the florist spill into Schelato – they’re everywhere. Meanwhile, we suspect it may be the beer alongside the Italian soft drinks in the fridge, the collection of Italian schnapps and quality coffee which draws the young crowd along with the ice cream. This isn’t your typical ice cream salon, yet more like a café/bar that allows you to satisfy that kid inside of all of us that would rather socialise with an ice cream in hand than with a vodka.
Philipp and Luca have found the perfect home for their ice cream in space that’s been an ice cream salon since 1954, and while the place looks completely different (except the original homey bench seats) it’s still got ice cream at its heart. This place is a prime example of when a tired concept in a crowded market can be reinvented with the right amount of imagination.
Summer brings many great things in Vienna – bikinis in the parks, Schanigärten, smiles on people’s faces, naked dancing in the city’s fountains at 2am. Schelato scene just joined this list.