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What is Bern’s secret pleasure?

June 9, 2011, 9 Comments

Sometimes the only way to find out about the best places to go in a city is to live there – or know someone who does. Only then can you ferret out the spots that are rarely in the guidebooks or touted by the tourist board. And even then, no-one can know everything about everywhere, but you can get close when you have friends who live in a different part of town. Luckily I have just such friends, the kind who know where to find the best ice cream in Bern, for instance. So this week, purely in the name of research of course, I went to taste a scoop, or two, at Bern’s best-kept secret: the Gelateria di Berna.

It really is the kind of place you need to be told about or taken to as you’d never stumble across it by accident. That’s because it’s tucked away behind the university and main station, up in the Länggasse quarter of Bern, which is so much more than a studenty part of town. This is the area where Toblerone was first made (it’s a Bernese creation), though the original factory is now the Unitobler building within the university. So perhaps it’s rather apt that there’s a new reason for sweet-toothed visitors to walk up the hill from the city centre. Or take bus number 12 if you’re feeling particularly lazy. You’ll definitely be walking back down, if only to work off some the excess indulgence.

The hardest part about a trip to the Gelateria isn’t finding it (just follow in reverse the stream of people walking and licking at the same time) but choosing which flavour to have. All are made on the premises, using local organic milk and cream, and new flavours pop up depending on what fruit is in season. So alongside staples like (heavenly) chocolate, pistacchio or yoghurt, there might be rhubarb, strawberry or mango. Not forgetting specials like lime & ginger, stracciatella with Alpine mint, or pine nut. Or even wasabi & pecan. It’s the kind of choice that means you just have to go back again, to try something else or see what new flavours have appeared.

A small cup or cone costs 3.50 francs and a large one 5 francs, though you get two generous dollops in the small – perfect for trying two flavours together. I went for blackberry, which was so fruity it almost felt like eating a sorbet, and the divinely creamy yoghurt. You can also buy bigger tubs to take home, though the chances of any of it reaching my kitchen freezer would be slim. I can see that there might be a few more trips up the hill for me this summer. So thanks Marcela, for the insider tip from a Länggasse quarter resident.

You can enjoy the delights of Gelateria di Berna every day from midday until 9pm (6pm on Sunday) at 15a Mittelstrasse. It only opened last summer but it’s already so popular, it looks set to expand. So next time you’re in Bern, make sure you sample this taste of local life.

9 Comments on "What is Bern’s secret pleasure?"

  1. Sarah Thursday June 9th, 2011 at 03:19 PM · Reply

    Oh Diccon, you just told your worl-wide communitiy about THE SECRET!!!
    Even befor your blog you had to wait half an hour ore more (on a perfect sunny sunday). At least everybody waits perfectly (almost english) queued up in the shadow between those two houses infront of the gelateria. And – even more important – everybody knows: It’s totaly worth it!!!

    Well, now that the secret is out and all your followers join the stream to the hidden treasure/pleasure they (three brothers and a girlfriend) really do have to expand!

    And if ever you don’t like ice cream they do have a coffee bar right next to the gelateria with a fantastic brunch!

    See you soon there!

    • swisswatching Thursday June 9th, 2011 at 03:34 PM · Reply

      that’s why I went midweek. I’d heard that the Sunday wait was long – but done in a perfectly un-Swiss queue.

      • Fergus Miller Thursday June 9th, 2011 at 06:33 PM · Reply

        Thank goodness the Italians have influenced the cuisine in Switzerland! If only the English like you Diccon could show them how to queue!

  2. Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf Thursday June 9th, 2011 at 09:56 PM · Reply

    yes, thank you marcela is right ! and thanks to you both, i may just find myself on a train to bern soon — if not for the stracciatella with alpine mint alone, yummm. this is my kind of place. of course my sweet radar went off when you posted this, diccon ! thanks so much for the sweet *scoop* !! 😉

    now, if you can please convince them to open a gelateria di züri, that would be a perfect addition to sweet zürich tours…

    • swisswatching Thursday June 9th, 2011 at 10:10 PM · Reply

      Funnily enough I had a feeling you might like this post. Truly it’s your sort of gelateria. great homemade flavours – and one you don’t see so often like zuppe inglese or walnut. I’m not around now til mid-August but if you can wait til then, we can go together 🙂

    • Fergus Miller Friday June 10th, 2011 at 12:56 AM · Reply

      We live in canton Zürich near this great one http://www.ilgelato.ch/ in Stein am Rhein which is great for a day out and you can also visit the Rheinfall http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhine_Falls which are close by & the largest plain waterfalls in Europe!

  3. Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf Thursday June 9th, 2011 at 10:24 PM · Reply

    done. you’ve got yourself an ice cream date, mister bewes. already can’t wait… 🙂

  4. Mateja Kramar Saturday June 11th, 2011 at 08:59 PM · Reply

    In Bern I always try also http://www.giolito.com/en/home.html at Spitalgasse 16-Spitalgass-Passage.
    Chili Chocolate is something …and all the sorbets!

    And now with the Secret Gelateria another great reason for me- a gelatoholic to come more often to Bern.

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