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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Review: Giovanni’s Gelato Cafe serves Tucson a taste of Italy

    Nick Smallwood
    Giovanni’s Gelato Cafe, located on Oracle Road in Oro Valley, Arizona, on Tuesday, March 2. Giovanni’s opened last semester at its Oro Valley location and prides itself on having authentic gelato from Italy.

    Ice cream and milkshakes are no doubt a great way to stay refreshed during the impending Arizona heat, but if you’re feeling a little too mainstream, then the time has come to switch up your taste palette. Giovanni’s Gelato Cafe offers a unique gateway to Italian delights for the Tucson community.

    The Oro Valley area welcomed Giovanni’s in fall 2015. The cafe prides itself on the notion that all the ingredients and aspects of the gelato shop contain Italian authenticity.

    Giovanni Rizza, the founder and manager, takes immense pride in the cafe that he and his wife Agnes established. The couple dreamed for years of opening the cafe in the Tucson area.

    The cafe, located in a small plaza adjacent to the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, offers Oro Valley a cultural sensation.

    The interior theme gives off an eccentric and modern vibe. Ornate miniature chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and color changing lights illuminate it. The enormous display of gelato flavors, however, steal the show. UA art history junior Gretchen Bunch could hardly contain her excitement upon seeing the display.

    “It’s like looking into the face of a rainbow,” Bunch said. “All of the colors contrast each other, but blend perfectly at the same time. The birthday cake flavor looks insanely delicious with all of those blue and yellow hues mixed together.”

    Apart from the colorful gelato display, the fact that the cafe’s staff includes Rizza’s immediate family proves its authenticity. Each employee exhibits a sincere pride in delivering Italian treats to the community. Rizza himself worked with the staff, providing feedback and encouragement. Rizza showcased a genuine enthusiasm for his gelato mixes.

    “If you want to have authentic and true gelato, it has to truly come from Italy,” Rizzo said. “All of our ingredients, apart from the milk and sugar, come from Italy. As a native Sicilian, I grew up learning the importance of traditional food. We have 49 different flavors here.”

    The pride and joy expressed by Rizza and his family create a refreshing ambiance. The cafe interior showcases Italian pride and expresses true dedication. However, there is one drawback to this Italian gateway. Located in the heart of Oro Valley, the commute to Giovanni’s is about 30 minutes.

    Despite the drive, the taste of the gelato proved to be flavorful and enticing. The cafe showcases a cute display of Italian chocolate treats and tiramisu candy sticks, accompanied by an authentic taste.

    Communications junior Kelsey Cardenas preferred the Oreo gelato after trying many of the intriguing flavors.

    “I know Oreo can be a basic flavor,” Cardenas said. “I’ve always assumed that gelato was only made out of neutral flavors like chocolate or vanilla. I’ve only had gelato once before, and it wasn’t the greatest experience. I’m all for it now, especially since the cafe has different flavors that I can try every time—I could never get bored.”

    Giovanni’s has reasonable prices, ranging from $3.75 for a small cup to $5.55 for a large. Giovanni’s menu also offers other Italian desserts like tiramisu, cannolis, coffees and teas. And, the staff prepares the delights rather quickly, despite the crowds.

    The modern and family oriented establishment gives patrons the chance to unwind and refresh with true Italian delights. If you find yourself up in the Oro Valley region, or desire a change of scenery from the downtown Tucson area, check out Giovanni’s Gelato Cafe for a delicious and refreshing Italian experience.

    Follow Sammy Cherukuri on Twitter.

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