Iorio's Gelateria just opened a store on William, across from Tower Plaza. I stopped by last night to try some gelato and talk to Mary, a recent U of M graduate who runs the gelateria. She and I had been put in contact by a mutual friend and, after exchanging a couple emails, Mary invited me to stop by to sample some gelato and talk about the company. Iorio's started as a catering business in 2004 when Mary asked her father why they couldn't get good Italian ice in Michigan. Since that time, they have expanded to a store in Lansing and their newest store here in Ann Arbor.
Iorio's has over 500 flavors of gelato, sorbetto, and granita. According to Mary, the company's top researchers are constantly working on the cutting edge of gelato research to develop new innovative flavors as well as perfect more traditional ones. Their gelato selection is diverse and they use locally sourced ingredients as much as possible. Iorio's also has a good selection of dairy-free options for those of you who are vegan or have dairy allergies. While I was there, I sampled the lime basil sorbetto, which was light and refreshing. I also tried some delicious, custardy "Zuppa Inglese" gelato. Mary treated me to a complementary small cup of cream puff gelato, which was a wonderful mixture of rich chocolate and vanilla with large chunks of cream puffs in it. Iorio's has other cool things too: some sort of Italian slushy and gelato stuffed cannoli-gelatoli. Before going to Iorio's, a small part of me just thought "gelato" was a pretentious way of saying "fancy ice cream." Now though, I'm convinced it's a much better medium to showcase strong flavors and unique flavor combinations than ice cream is.