There are some occasions when I get a call asking me to visit somewhere and I literally feel like I have the best job in the world. This was one of those occasions. I was lying on the beach sweltering in the sun on a particularly roasting day (during what has been the hottest summer we have experienced since I moved to Brighton sixteen years ago) when I received the call asking if I would like to visit my absolute favourite Ice Cream parlour, Boho Gelato. Of course I jumped at the chance and literally couldn’t wait to try some exciting flavours from their ever changing repertoire of seductive offerings.
For anyone who has not heard of them, Boho Gelato have been one of Brighton’s go-to foodie destinations since they opened their flagship institution in Pool Valley nine years ago, and have since opened a parlour on Ship Street, as well as more recently expanding to open stores in Worthing, Weymouth, and Swanage. This is the brainchild of founder Seb Cole, a former mixologist, who after spending some time in Italy eating a lot of ice cream, decided to utilise the skills he honed through creating intricate flavours in drinks. He would use these skills to make great tasting Gelato, going back to Italy to study the art before returning to Brighton to open up shop.
My wife Sally commented that I was like “a kid in a sweet shop” when I turned up at Boho Gelato later that day. We were greeted by store manager Lottie who was incredibly welcoming and keen to tell us all about themselves. Luckily Sally took detailed notes for this article, as I was having the time of my life, sampling as many of the twenty four flavours that were on display at the time (as well as some especially brought out for me from the back) as I could.
While her colleague loaded me up with pots of some of their most popular flavours to try, an infectiously enthusiastic Lottie explained that Boho Gelato is run by a fantastic team of people who love ice-cream. Everything is made on site using only the best quality, locally sourced ingredients, a state of the art Gelato machine, lots of skill, care and attention, and a sensitive palate to make sure the Gelato tastes just right! Their style of Gelato has a very low air content, plus lower fat and sugar than other ice creams which means it is very dense and luxurious, but also fresh tasting and sweet. As I tucked into wonderfully creamy and decadent flavours such as Sea Salt Caramel, Soul Cherry, and Carrot Cake, I could not help but to nod unreservedly and make approving noises in agreement.
Boho Gelato are well known for their exceptional vegan flavours, made with water, soya and rice milk, in which they make over one hundred ever changing options, one of which being the next one I tried; a Peanut Butter Caramel Sorbet! This is a firm contender for my favourite. I could not get enough of it. I tried washing it down with another vegan offering; an alcoholic Pornstar Martini sorbet, however Sally’s ears perked up when she heard, and she took this one straight off me for herself, knocking it back and giving herself brain-freeze in the process. I had to settle for a vegan After Dinner Mint flavour, which was still mind-blowingly delicious. I savoured each mouthful with a slightly smug grin on my face, as Sally held her head in pain.
The staff on site have total control over what they want to create on the day, often experimenting with new ideas and taking inspiration from customer requests. With the Gelato’s on display changing daily, and often throughout the day, you will often find some weird and wonderful innovative flavours on offer, such as Liquorice, Basil and Black Pepper sorbet, Avocado, and Pink Champagne. Upon hearing this, I requested the weirdest Gelato they had on sale at the time. Thankfully it turned out to be Battenberg Cake flavour, which tasted just like the real thing, and took me back to my childhood visits to my Nan who seemed to always have a slice plated and ready for me when I arrived.
Unsurprisingly, being a blisteringly hot summer day, the store was incredibly popular, but with autumn just round the corner I wondered if this was the case in the colder months of the year. Although footfall through the door drops a little, it seems Brighton still has a taste for Gelato whatever the weather. Lottie explained by using seasonal ingredients they can create concoctions that fit with the time of year. Grabbing me a pot of incredibly lavish Blackberry Gingerbread and White Chocolate Gelato from the back room, she provided welcomed evidence to this. Popular Autumnal flavours include Spiced Pear Sorbet, Cinnamon Waffles and Banana Custard, and Honeycomb Donut, the latter being the next I had the pleasure of tasting, and my eyes honestly rolled into the back of my head in pleasure at each mouthful. I can only imagine what delights they bring out at Christmas time! They also keep themselves busy with collaborations with local food and drink businesses, with some of the top restaurants in Brighton serving Boho Gelato bespoke and often unusual flavours created especially for them. The Brighton Food Festival is also fast approaching, where from the 6th to the 16th September they have a “flavour takeover” asking local businesses to come up with new and exciting flavours for them to create.
As Sally had been doing all the talking whilst I was busy scoffing ice cream, I brought her a large tub of Chocolate Orange Nougat Gelato for the journey home, which she had been eyeing up the whole time we were there. I then proceeded to dig in, wondering how I had missed this remarkable velvety smooth chocolate speckled fruity creation.
I have no doubt I will be stopping by throughout the autumn and winter months. This visit has truly rekindled my love of ice cream and you will not find any more outstanding, diverse and exciting flavours than Boho Gelato.