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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hit Lakewood's New Sweet Spot for Italian Gelato with American Flair

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 3:28 PM

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"Ice cream is my favorite food," confesses Celeste Blau. "I decided if I was going eat it all day long I'd go with something that had half the fat."

That turned out to be gelato, aka Italian ice cream, which Blau made the centerpiece of her new Lakewood sweet shop. Opened on July 7 in the old Stanton's flower shop, The Sweet Spot is an "American gelateria" that offers approximately 30 varieties at any given time.

Made mostly with milk rather than cream, gelato is indeed leaner than our high-fat counterpart. But it is also whipped with less air, leaving it creamier, denser and richer in flavor. "It also gives it a cleaner flavor," Blau adds. "You shouldn’t taste residual flavors in your mouth an hour later."

Made in-house with Ohio milk, organic unrefined sugars, and many local ingredients, the gelato ranges from tried-and-true flavors like pistachio to clever creations such as Hopped-Up Grapefruit, made with organic grapefruit and brewing hops. Strawberry lemon basil is just like it sounds, while the Cleveland Brownie pairs orange gelato with fresh-baked brownie pieces. Fruit-based (and dairy-free) sorbets are also on hand, as are a handful of vegan varieties.

In addition to the gelato, which is sold by the single, double, pint or quart ($3, $5, $7.50, $12), the shop also stocks locally baked pies, cookies and cupcakes.

Blau, who runs the shop with her husband Patrick Cleary, is a N. Olmsted native who resides in Lakewood. She ditched a job in marketing for the ice cream biz because it's more fun, if you can believe that.

"Marketing and PR isn't as much fun as they make it seem in college," she says. "Turns out, it's mostly sitting behind a computer all day."

Tell me about it.

Sweet Spot (17806 Detroit Ave., 216-221-8870) is open Sunday through Thursday noon to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon to 11 p.m.

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