By William Johnson
After a only a month of operation, Paciugo Gelato & Caffe, in McKinney’s Historic Downtown, is bustling with eager patrons. This gelateria delivers a regional Italian treat to north Texas customers.
As I soon discovered, There is an obvious difference between American ice cream and Italian gelato. Paciugo advertises that it’s frozen foods contain 70% less fat than traditonal ice creams, a fact well hidden by it’s luxurious taste. This hand whipped treat is prepared fresh, and onsite for daily consumption. From chocolate and fruity, to alcohol and dairy, Paciugo has a flavor for everyone.
The atmosphere in Paciugo is calm, even when full of customers. The hardwood floors and intricately stylized ceiling designs set free into the air the European gelateria vibe the store aims so accurately for. The walls are decorated in a simple theme, containing the occasional contemporary piece of artwork or cupboard of the stores many ingredients. The customer service is unusually patient while may patrons experience gelato for the first time, answering the many questions that come their way.
Eating gelato is an experience that the people behind the counter at Paciugo whip together daily for customers. With three different sizes to choose from, patrons can mix up to five flavors together in a cup or cone . The superior taste in gelato is often attributed to the proportion of whole milk to creme. While standard ice cream contains a legal minimum of 10% milk fat, gelato has a more proportionate amount of whole milk to creme, giving it a richer taste. Also, gelato is whipped at a slow pace that ice cream, leaving less opportunity for air to be mixed it, and making it a denser dessert.
For those of you looking to avoid fats entirely, the water based sorbet comes in various fruit flavors with zero fat content. Made from fresh fruit, sugar and water, this Pacuigo advertises that it’s sorbet fits the standards for a healthy food. I bought a mixture of lime and the store’s signature Tutti Fruitti flavor, a daily changing mix of four seasonal fruits.
Another alternative for the health conscious are the store’s non sugar recipes. These 100 calorie desserts blend healthy lifestyles with Paciugo’s trademark taste.
After watching a fellow satisfied customer, I plan to go back for a cup of the store’s Affogato. This inspired blend is a mix of coffee and milk based gelato. In a similar fashion, the store’s Affogato al Cioccolato brings together Italian hot cocoa with intensely flavored gelato.
Overall, this store delivers a rich indulgence for a price that has proven to be worth it by the customers that come back to it ever so frequently. And with options for those with their health in mind, a market commonly overrun with bland boxed meals, Paciugo has a selection for everyone that walks through it’s doors.