Tucson Food: Allegro Gelato near UA
Did you know that in Italy there is one gelato store for every 2,000 people? Here in Tucson, not so much.
So two young guys from Italy — Ivan Lucchina and Marco Rapella surmise that Tucson needs more gelato. They could be right on about that.
The store located on the SE corner of Campbell & Sixth Streets, caddy-corner from the UA football stadium conveniently is sandwiched between Sam Hughes Place Restaurant and Grimaldi’s Pizza. Pizza + gelato are a perfect pairing.
Allegro sparkles. Two round stainless steel cold displays look like grounded “Wheels of Fortune” separated into 12 pie-shaped sections of gelato slowing rotating at a hypnotic pace. Overhead, rectangular lighting provides a contrast to the rounded display. Small cafe tables in stainless steel almost glow and the seating reminds me of oversized screaming orange eraser stumps.
Of course, tasting is de rigeur.
Allegro opened in September and started to slowly toot its own horn. Each gelato flavor is made in small batches. Lucchina who is a master gelato maker from a renowned gelato university in Italy insists that every flavor has a different formula and must be made specific to its own formula. He lamented that even in Italy, gelato is getting too industrialized being made in big batches of one basic type with the pastes and flavors added afterward.
Not so at Allegro — this is authentic gelato made au naturale.
When I asked Lucchina if he uses pastes from Italy, he showed me bags of fresh hazelnuts and pistachos (see photo). And the fruit used in gelato and sorbet comes from the locally-owned Ron’s Produce.
Try the coffee and cinnamon gelato together in one cup for a sublime jolt of deliciousness.
Allegro gives back to the community by hosting percentage nights. Sororities, clubs, schools, neighborhood associations can have a pre-arranged gelato night and a percentage of sales goes back to the group.
446 N. Campbell Ave
Tucson, AZ, 85719