Lynbrook's new gelateria has a definite Italian accent: Owner Anna Franchi and her family recently moved to the South Shore from Ferrara in Italy, and while her 11-year-old daughter now speaks English fluently, Franchi's delivery is a charming combination of two languages along with a few illustrative hand gestures.
Luckily, "la lingua del gelato" is easy for American customers to understand. ViAle's display case has room for 24 flavors. Always on hand are vanilla, hazelnut, pistachio (particularly outstanding), milk chocolate, dark chocolate (which, since it contains no milk, is actually a rich sorbetto), coffee and stracciatella (chocolate chip). Among Franchi's most popular rotating flavors are salted caramel, apple pie and lime cheesecake. Franchi has found her customers endlessly curious about the gelato-making process, and if she can't manage to explain it, she is happy to let them peer into her spotlessly clean kitchen to see the gelato mixer and batch freezer.
Gelato and ice cream are both made by churning a mixture of dairy, sugar and flavorings while it freezes. Ice cream tends to have more cream than milk (and can also contain eggs) whereas gelato is leaner. But ice cream also gets more air whipped into it; gelato is denser. Finally, ice cream can be stored in a super-cold freezer for weeks; gelato is held at a warmer temperature and is much more perishable. (Franchi's flavors last for two days at most.)
Cups and cones at ViAle range from $3.20 to $5.20. She also sells gelato by the pint as well as homemade cakes, tarts and cookies. Befitting an Italian native, she also makes great espresso and cappuccino.
424 Sunrise Hwy., Lynbrook, 516-442-0094