Local gem: noun a hidden or little known eatery serving up the most amazing food / drinks that is sure to rise to fame and have diners flocking and queueing up outside when word spreads.
I get so excited whenever I find a local gem. Venchi is one such gem in the jungle of concrete mazes in a foodie’s paradise that is the Central / Soho / Lan Kwai Fong district, and I almost did not want to blog about Venchi to prevent word from spreading and it getting crowded.
Right next to the Pottinger Hotel on Stanley Street, Venchi occupies a small shopfront, and looks exactly like a chocolate shop and cafe right out of the movies. The shop section serves up Italian chocolate delights, such as the pick-and-mix stations, chocolate bars, and beautifully presented chocolate gifts on display all the way from the floor to the sky high ceilings.
The cafe only has 5 bar seats strategically placed around the shop to make the most out of the tiny space. Venchi cafe serves up various chocolate drinks and has a gelato and sorbet bar, with both chocolate and non-chocolate options.
At $40 per scoop or $62 for 2 scoops, the gelato / sorbet does not come cheap. However, the popular Emack & Bolio’s ice-cream shop nearby charges even more (and sells ice-cream, not gelato), so Venchi is a smart choice.
I’ve been to Venchi twice in one week. The first time I had the pistachio gelato, which was the most pistachio-tasting gelato I’ve ever had; lots of flavour and I could tell a lot of pistachios were churned in the process. I also had strawberry milk gelato, which tasted exactly like what I imagine milk and strawberries placed in an ice-cream churner would taste like.
I returned a second time and had the sea salt caramel gelato, which was smooth and creamy, and the balance of sea salt and caramel was just right.
I was tempted to visit a third time within the space of a week – but that would be going overboard with gelato! If I were a local, this will be the gem that I return to time after time.