Cumpari’s Gelato & CaffePosted: 03/02/2012
One of the things I like most about Hong Kong (I was born there, and have since visited 3 times since I moved to Vancouver almost 18 years ago) is that there are a plethora of dessert shops everywhere– within a short walk from my family’s apartment, there are at least 5 awesome places where I could get my sugar fixing, whether it was 10 in the morning or 10 at night. In Burnaby, there are very few places to choose from, and honestly, I can only take so much bubble tea before I feel sick.
Thankfully, the discovery of Cumpari’s on North Road near Lougheed Mall a few years ago meant that I could grab dessert without having to go too far from home. In the last two years I’ve been going there about once a month– it’s a great environment for everything from family outings to girls’ night outs to date nights– but it does get a little pricey. But hey, it’s dessert… it’s not like I go every single day. (;
My most recent trip to Cumpari’s was the night of Valentine’s Day. Accompanied by Angela, David, Darek, Hui, Jason, Scottie and Yvonne, it was the perfect way to finish off the night. There were a surprising number of tables available when I got there at 9pm, but as the night wore on, the cafe got more and more crowded, to the point that some who were unable to find seats had to leave.
On our Cheap Date nights, Samson and I usually order a gelato and a slice of cake to share (after having dinner at some obscenely cheap restaurant to make up for partaking in expensive treats). With him away on co-op, I ended up only getting a Medium Mango + Raspberry Gelato. At Cumpari’s, a medium scoop is actually just two smaller scoops of gelato—you can choose to get two flavours, or just one large scoop of a single kind. I tend to order two fruit gelatos (I guess you’d call them sorbets, then) as I find the chocolate-y ones too sweet for my tastes. The mango and raspberry flavours were appropriately sweet. They don’t get goopy or syrupy towards the end, which happened to me once before at a different gelato shop, and they were very refreshing, which means that they served their purpose. They aren’t anything too-too spectacular, but I always enjoy myself.
I again (this might start to become a trend; there are just too many choices to be had!) had a slight dilemma in choosing a dessert, as Cumpari’s was offering a limoncello cake and lemon tarts among their other desserts that night. Thankfully, David and Yvonne ordered one of each, and so I had the pleasure of trying a bit of both! The Limoncello Cake slice was big, though not quite as large as the slices are at True Confections. It was basically a fluffy white cake with layers of lemon cream and white chocolate cream topped with white chocolate shavings. Most white chocolate cakes (those that I’ve had, anyway) tend to be either way really sweet and heavy or really bland; this one, however, was just sweet enough without being overbearing. The lemon cream really enhanced the white chocolate flavour (if that makes sense at all).
Yvonne’s Lemon Tart was housed in a pistachio butter tart shell and topped with white chocolate shavings. The lemon filling was smooth, creamy, lemony—everything I look for in a lemon tart! This lemon filling was tarter than the one used in the Limoncello, but I found that it was the right balance with the nutty, buttery shell. This was a strong offering, but at $6.95 I found it to be on the expensive side, especially since I’ve had similar ones elsewhere for less. I did like this tart filling better than the dessert offered at Provence though.
Hui’s Fruit Tart was comprised of a similar buttery shell (no pistachios this time), custard filling, strawberries, white chocolate shavings and a larger piece of printed white chocolate with a heart cutout. I personally liked the shell here better than the one used in the Lemon Tart, and the strawberries were very sweet (even the ones without powdered sugar). However, I thought that the custard was too thin. I mean, it wasn’t running off the sides, or leaking out of the tart shell, but I just like my custard to be a wee bit thicker. The piece of white chocolate wasn’t very good either; Hui said that it tasted really artificial. Overall, I’d say this was my least favourite dessert of the night.
This was my first time coming to Cumpari’s on Valentine’s Day, so I was pleasantly surprised when the owner came out with a tray full of milk- and white- chocolate dipped strawberries “for the ladies” who were in the café. These large, plump berries were juicy and sweet, and the chocolate dip was very smooth, though a little thick at the bottom of the strawberry (but that’s understandable). Service here has always been pretty good; the people behind the counter are very helpful in their recommendations, and are always very polite and accommodating. One thing I would remind people is that their credit/debit machine is on the slower side, so you should bring cash, especially if there’s a long line and you’d rather be sitting and eating than waiting for the “Please Remove Card” message to come up. Cumpari’s is a great place to visit, and does offer a (sometimes much-needed) break from Dairy Queen or bubble tea; you just have to be prepared to pay the prices, as the desserts don’t come cheap.
Cumpari’s Gelato & Caffe
535 North Rd