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Paciugo in Forest Park

Paciugo in Forest Park
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  • Paciugo in Forest Park

    Post #1 - November 26th, 2008, 11:29 pm
    Post #1 - November 26th, 2008, 11:29 pm Post #1 - November 26th, 2008, 11:29 pm
    This little gelato shop opened in Forest Park last July. I stopped by this week to check it out. Here's my review.


    What's the difference between gelato and ice cream? Gelato is just the fancy Italian word for ice cream, right? There is in fact a difference. Unlike ice cream, gelato is made from milk instead of cream and is churned at a slower rate to help reduce the air content. This results in a dense, creamy, indulgent dessert that is lower in calories than ice cream.

    Forest Park residents have been enjoying gelato since last July thanks to “Paciugo”. Owners Kim and Bill Devoney are the driving force behind this little piece of Italy in the suburbs. Nestled amongst the boutique shops along Madison, Paciugo is the perfect place to set down those shopping bags and indulge in a creamy taste of heaven.

    Inside guests will enjoy the beauty and artistry of gelato. Made on site daily, the gelato is as visually appealing as it is delicious! Thirty two of two hundred possible flavors are available and on display each day and they are presented as creamy pieces of art. Flavors range from classics, such as vanilla and chocolate chocolate chip to more exotic flavors, like black pepper olive oil, chocolate orange saffron, and black olive.

    Rather than using flavorings, “Paciugo” uses real ingredients, such as cherries hand candied in Italy or pistachios directly from Mexico. It’s this reason that the pistachio has a heightened, true pistachio flavor. While the classics are excellent, were Paciugo really shines is with their seasonal and exotic varieties.

    Some exotic favorites include the “Mediterranean sea salt caramel” which uses its salty undertones to help enhance the sweetness of the caramel. Silky “Black pepper olive oil” leaves a subtle kick in the back of your throat with each passing bite. While the intriguing “Black Olive” had me immediately thinking of mixing it with vodka, to create a dirty martini.

    With the cold and holidays upon us, Paciugo is offering up holiday flavors. For Thanksgiving they are serving up wonderful “pumpkin pie” spiced with clove and “sweet potato pie.” For Christmas they offer rum and nutmeg infused “egg nog” and a spiced “ginger bread.”

    From holiday flavors, exotic creations, to traditional favorites, Paciugo is truly offering a taste of Italy for people of all tastes. While the Chicagoland weather doesn’t have us thinking gelato year round, it would be a mistake not to stop into this Forest Park gem at any time of year.
    Location
    Paciugo
    7510 Madison St.
    Forest Park, IL
    708-366-6080

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  • Post #2 - November 28th, 2008, 6:25 pm
    Post #2 - November 28th, 2008, 6:25 pm Post #2 - November 28th, 2008, 6:25 pm
    "While the intriguing “Black Olive” had me immediately thinking of mixing it with vodka, to create a dirty martinii]."
    Just to pick nits, a Dirty Martini would actually require Green Olives and and Green Olive Juice.
    Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
    Woody Allen
  • Post #3 - November 30th, 2008, 11:50 pm
    Post #3 - November 30th, 2008, 11:50 pm Post #3 - November 30th, 2008, 11:50 pm
    That's why an immediate thought isn't always the correct thought.
  • Post #4 - December 1st, 2008, 11:48 am
    Post #4 - December 1st, 2008, 11:48 am Post #4 - December 1st, 2008, 11:48 am
    RAB and I visited over the summer. We're big fans of gelato and planned a day in the Forest/Oak Park area, and made sure to include a stop at Paciugo.

    We tasted quite a few flavors. While some were pretty good, we found the consistency to be inconsistent, and some flavors just fell flat. It's certainly better than the gelato that's made from mixes. And, it may be one of the better spots in Chicago (we haven't been in Chicago long enough to have found a favorite). But, Paciugo can't touch Capogiro (Philly), Laboratorio (Manhattan), Dolcezza (D.C.), or even the little small-batch gelato shop in the back of a bookstore in Healdsburg, CA.

    I'd like to think that Paciugo was just working out some opening issues - - I think we were there soon after they opened. But, Paciugo is a chain with more than two dozen locations. They should have their recipes down.

    If we lived in the area, we'd be likely to try Paciugo again. Given it's a bit of a trip for us, we're unlikely to return.
  • Post #5 - December 2nd, 2008, 7:47 am
    Post #5 - December 2nd, 2008, 7:47 am Post #5 - December 2nd, 2008, 7:47 am
    Thanks REB. Based on the above and the photos, I'd placed it on my "must-get-out-there-and-take-a-look" list. It's now been transferred to my "if-I'm-in-the-neighborhood" book. Philly's Capogiro is still my gold standard, too (altho considering their prices, perhaps platinum standard should be the term). For those who haven't been, here's a look:

    http://www.capogirogelato.com/
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #6 - December 2nd, 2008, 7:59 am
    Post #6 - December 2nd, 2008, 7:59 am Post #6 - December 2nd, 2008, 7:59 am
    Non-scientific observation: gelato places in the US serve it much colder than they do in Italy. Super-hard and frozen is not as tasty as soft and on the brink of melting.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #7 - December 2nd, 2008, 9:44 am
    Post #7 - December 2nd, 2008, 9:44 am Post #7 - December 2nd, 2008, 9:44 am
    jbw wrote:Thanks REB. Based on the above and the photos, I'd placed it on my "must-get-out-there-and-take-a-look" list. It's now been transferred to my "if-I'm-in-the-neighborhood" book. Philly's Capogiro is still my gold standard, too (altho considering their prices, perhaps platinum standard should be the term). For those who haven't been, here's a look:

    http://www.capogirogelato.com/
    Agreed. Capogiro, unlike Paciugo, is not only a "must-get-out-there-and-take-a-look" spot, I'm pretty close to saying it's worth the price of a plane ticket to Philadelphia. It's also the best I've had in this country. And, unlike Paciugo, which is proud to have high quality imported ingredients, Capogiro strives to use what's best and fresh locally.
  • Post #8 - March 5th, 2009, 5:57 pm
    Post #8 - March 5th, 2009, 5:57 pm Post #8 - March 5th, 2009, 5:57 pm
    I went to Paciugo yesterday for the first time with my 2 year old to try their gelato. They let me try about 12 different flavors and were very accommodating, even bringing out flavors from the back room (not hard to do when no one else is in the place). I thought the flavors were for the most part strong and interesting and very tasty, although I am still mad that no one can get the right creamy mouth feel of gelato here in the states like they do in Italy (at least of all the gelato I have had in the US).

    The flavors I went with were: Amaretto Black Cherry Swirl, which had a smooth Amaretto taste with some real candied cherries thrown in for good measure; Black Pepper Olive Oil which was actually quite good, with a lingering pepper spice at the back of the throat; Double chocolate/chocolate chip, although not truly a dark chocolate in taste was still deep and rich; and Mediterranean sea salt caramel, with a nice saltiness overlying the sweet caramel undertones. I liked that with just the small cup you could still get 3 flavors to try (and 4 for the medium).

    I do like the fact they use fresh ingredients, and although no match for real Italian gelato, I plan on coming back in the summer when I can ride my bike here. Overall a nice addition to Forest Park.
    "My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people."

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  • Post #9 - April 26th, 2010, 8:35 pm
    Post #9 - April 26th, 2010, 8:35 pm Post #9 - April 26th, 2010, 8:35 pm
    I don't think I should start a new thread but I went to the one in Lakeview tonight.

    I had the pistachio, pannacotta (wedding cake), & Italian Trifle. They were delicious & DH loved his extra dark chocolate as well.

    I'm glad it's not that close because it would be painful to my waistline.

    It's literally just opposite of the Melrose Diner at Melrose on Broadway.

    Paciugo
    Chicago / Lakeview
    3241 N. Broadway Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60657

    Manager: Ani Poddar
    Email: chicago01@paciugo.net
    Phone: 773-248-8433
    Fax: 773-248-1944

    Does this location offer catering? Yes

    Store Hours:

    Spring Hours
    SUNDAY - THRUSDAY 1 PM - 10 PM
    FRIDAY - SATURDAY 1 PM - 11 PM
    Last edited by pairs4life on May 1st, 2010, 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • Post #10 - April 28th, 2010, 8:12 am
    Post #10 - April 28th, 2010, 8:12 am Post #10 - April 28th, 2010, 8:12 am
    There is a new branch opening soon in lincoln square, facing the plaza near Cafe Selmarie.

    Paciugo's gelato is very high quality and I think they do an excellent job maintaining that quality throughout their chain. Having this new branch much closer to my home will be a constant temptation.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #11 - May 1st, 2010, 8:45 pm
    Post #11 - May 1st, 2010, 8:45 pm Post #11 - May 1st, 2010, 8:45 pm
    After driving by the Lakeview location a number of times, my wife and I finally ventured in for some gelato on Tuesday night. Thought there were some interesting flavors I hadn't seen before. I ended up with violet, cinnamon and ruby red grapefruit sorbetto. The grapefruit was pretty tart and true to the fruit's flavor. Very refreshing. Didn't necessarily go too well with the other flavors I'd selected, but I kind of expected that and just wanted to try it out. The cinnamon was among the best cinnamon flavored ice creams/gelatos I've had. The violet was the most unique and my favorite of the three. A very delicate flavor that probably would be better paired with something like vanilla. Can't remember all that my wife had, but the chocolate chili was great -- creamy chocolate to start, then a real kick of heat. We went back on Thursday night and got to sample a few more flavors! This visit, I went for the roasted banana, strawberry lavender and ginger vanilla. The strawberry was my least favorite of the three. The banana was good, a bit more nuanced that most banana gelatos. The ginger vanilla was refreshing, with an apparent ginger flavor yet not overpowering. Similar to the Hagen-Dazs ginger ice cream but with a better texture. My only complaint is that in two visits, they've had no mango... which is my favorite gelato flavor. I've yet to find gelato in Chicago as good as I'd had elsewhere, but Paciugo is near the top of the list in town.
  • Post #12 - August 17th, 2010, 8:10 pm
    Post #12 - August 17th, 2010, 8:10 pm Post #12 - August 17th, 2010, 8:10 pm
    I agree with REB that Paciugo does not come close to Capogiro in Philadelphia (the best gelato I have tasted in the US, and better than much of what I tasted in Italy), but I'm learning that Paciugo is pretty damn good. Since they opened up in Lincoln Square (2324 West Giddings, in the plaza across from Cafe Selmarie), I've been a few times and have really enjoyed some of their gelatos and sorbets. The gelatos generally have a nice, creamy consistency and some of the flavors are really good. The other day, I really enjoyed the Amarena Black Cherry Swirl. Considering the only other ice cream-focused spot in the immediate area is Coldstone, I'm welcoming Paciugo to Lincoln Square with open arms and a big smile.
  • Post #13 - August 17th, 2010, 8:27 pm
    Post #13 - August 17th, 2010, 8:27 pm Post #13 - August 17th, 2010, 8:27 pm
    Paciugo is indeed very good stuff, but I'm a bit disappointed with how the chain has changed during expansion.

    Early on, their flavor selection was dominated by classics with a handful of more "modern" flavors thrown in.

    Now, the last couple times I've stopped in, there wasn't a simple "hazelnut" or "pistachio" or even a "stracciatella" to be found. Nearly every gelato flavor seemed to have curry, olive, chili peppers, or at least triple chocolate fudge chunks. I don't mind the experimentation and gimmick, but more often than not I'm just interested in classics.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #14 - August 17th, 2010, 8:42 pm
    Post #14 - August 17th, 2010, 8:42 pm Post #14 - August 17th, 2010, 8:42 pm
    eatchicago wrote:Paciugo is indeed very good stuff, but I'm a bit disappointed with how the chain has changed during expansion.

    Early on, their flavor selection was dominated by classics with a handful of more "modern" flavors thrown in.

    Now, the last couple times I've stopped in, there wasn't a simple "hazelnut" or "pistachio" or even a "stracciatella" to be found. Nearly every gelato flavor seemed to have curry, olive, chili peppers, or at least triple chocolate fudge chunks. I don't mind the experimentation and gimmick, but more often than not I'm just interested in classics.

    Best,
    Michael


    FWIW, I have found the same thing with Black Dog. I fear this trend is pervasive. During my last visit, there were very few "stand alone" or classic flavors, but lots of gourmet flavors, such as balsamico. For me, a tiny scoop of balsamico goes alongside a strawberry shortcake as part of dessert, not to munch in a cup of ice cream. I like pistachio, or caramel, or even a plain old milk chocolate. I'm sure their flavors rotate, but during my last visit, very few of them appealed to me.
  • Post #15 - August 17th, 2010, 9:41 pm
    Post #15 - August 17th, 2010, 9:41 pm Post #15 - August 17th, 2010, 9:41 pm
    aschie30 wrote:
    eatchicago wrote:Paciugo is indeed very good stuff, but I'm a bit disappointed with how the chain has changed during expansion.

    Early on, their flavor selection was dominated by classics with a handful of more "modern" flavors thrown in.

    Now, the last couple times I've stopped in, there wasn't a simple "hazelnut" or "pistachio" or even a "stracciatella" to be found. Nearly every gelato flavor seemed to have curry, olive, chili peppers, or at least triple chocolate fudge chunks. I don't mind the experimentation and gimmick, but more often than not I'm just interested in classics.

    Best,
    Michael


    FWIW, I have found the same thing with Black Dog. I fear this trend is pervasive. During my last visit, there were very few "stand alone" or classic flavors, but lots of gourmet flavors, such as balsamico. For me, a tiny scoop of balsamico goes alongside a strawberry shortcake as part of dessert, not to munch in a cup of ice cream. I like pistachio, or caramel, or even a plain old milk chocolate. I'm sure their flavors rotate, but during my last visit, very few of them appealed to me.


    Black Dog is stocking classic flavors, but I think they're just having a hard time keeping up with demand. Those may be the ones selling most readily. The first few weeks they were open, their case was full of flavors with additional treats in the secondary case. On my last few visits, it's been about half to two-thirds full with even some of my favorite less classic flavors out (namely, salted peanut) and the second case empty. They've adjusted their hours, they've said, to give themselves more time to make gelato. Fully stocked, I think classic flavors are fairly represented, maybe 50% of their offerings.
  • Post #16 - August 17th, 2010, 9:50 pm
    Post #16 - August 17th, 2010, 9:50 pm Post #16 - August 17th, 2010, 9:50 pm
    And it's not like everything is weird. I had a taste of a fantastic blueberry mint there the other day, an unusual, but hardly a strange flavor. A white chocolate-banana was pretty great, too, especially for two flavors I'm not usually fond of (so don't ask why I ordered it).
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  • Post #17 - August 17th, 2010, 9:56 pm
    Post #17 - August 17th, 2010, 9:56 pm Post #17 - August 17th, 2010, 9:56 pm
    Also, I know little about Paciugo, but I don't really think Black Dog/Jessie's main aim is "classic." The brand's emphasis seems to be modern flavors, spins on classics, so I wouldn't really fault them for being short on more common gelato varieties. It's kind of like going to Vosges and being disappointed that they don't have an unadulterated milk chocolate bar or going to Fannie May and looking for Woolloomooloo truffles.
  • Post #18 - August 17th, 2010, 10:53 pm
    Post #18 - August 17th, 2010, 10:53 pm Post #18 - August 17th, 2010, 10:53 pm
    Ha! I had roughly the same conversation with my wife the other day. I had just had a few samples and then a cup from Snookelfritz at the Daley Plaza market. I commented to her that I preferred Snookelfritz to Black Dog, as the former was all about the cream and very simple and classic flavors while the latter was more exotic, more intense, more striking in its profiles. My wife, of course, prefers Black Dog. It's a good choice to have for sure.

    That said, I highly recommend anyone in the Loop this Thursday to hit Daley Plaza for some ice cream.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #19 - August 18th, 2010, 5:54 am
    Post #19 - August 18th, 2010, 5:54 am Post #19 - August 18th, 2010, 5:54 am
    I've read all the press about Black Dog, I understand what their schtick is (not sure we can refer to it as a "brand" yet), but still, the flavor combos tipped a little beyond . . . what was appealing (to me). The night I was there, the case didn't look extremely empty, but, in hindsight, there were only about 8-10 "odd" flavors offered, which is not a lot (so sellout of classics might have been an issue as it was a really hot night). The Vosges comparison is not really apt, because its combos are hardly "crazy" in conjunction with chocolate, and work really well together; by contrast, a scoop of balsamic ice seems a little like . . . punishment.
  • Post #20 - August 18th, 2010, 6:27 am
    Post #20 - August 18th, 2010, 6:27 am Post #20 - August 18th, 2010, 6:27 am
    Maybe we could split "whether or not we like Black Dog" into it's own thread? This seems like an entirely different discussion than my point that kicked this off which was: "I think Paciugo has changed their flavor offerings significantly over the last year or two and I'm not a huge fan of the change."
  • Post #21 - August 18th, 2010, 7:33 am
    Post #21 - August 18th, 2010, 7:33 am Post #21 - August 18th, 2010, 7:33 am
    Well, wherever this ends up then:

    The thing about Black Dog is that she got started making, and still mainly deals in, gelati/sorbets for restaurants, where novelty is going to be prized. So you're getting a chance to taste what's on the menu of wherever, more than you're getting ice cream for the neighborhood. That said, they're generous with tastes, and I've never had trouble finding something to enjoy a whole bowl of.
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  • Post #22 - August 18th, 2010, 7:59 am
    Post #22 - August 18th, 2010, 7:59 am Post #22 - August 18th, 2010, 7:59 am
    aschie30 wrote:I've read all the press about Black Dog, I understand what their schtick is (not sure we can refer to it as a "brand" yet), but still, the flavor combos tipped a little beyond . . . what was appealing (to me).

    OK, so you read the press, knew the flavors were beyond what appeal to you, went to the shop and found that you didn't care for the flavor combinations. Just a guess, but Black Dog may not be for you. I think Jessie has built a pretty strong brand with her restaurant accounts. Obviously, the brand will evolve with the shop, but Black Dog isn't new--just possibly more accessible now for gelato lovers (who might like more unusual flavor combinations) who aren't dining in restaurants where her product is served.

    aschie30 wrote:The Vosges comparison is not really apt, because its combos are hardly "crazy" in conjunction with chocolate, and work really well together; by contrast, a scoop of balsamic ice seems a little like . . . punishment.

    I know more than a few people who would say combining ingredients such as balsamic vinegar, green tea or star anise with chocolate is highly unusual, regardless of whether the combinations satisfy them or not. (I reckon roughly the same people would also think combining balsamic or goat cheese with gelato is significantly out of the ordinary.) Again, it seems you kind of knew that balsamic ice would be a stretch for you. You tried it, and it seemed like punishment. I hope you can find ice cream elsewhere that will make you less miserable.
  • Post #23 - August 18th, 2010, 8:14 am
    Post #23 - August 18th, 2010, 8:14 am Post #23 - August 18th, 2010, 8:14 am
    Likewise, feel free to re-post this somewhere else as well.

    You're right. Based upon what I read, I shouldn't even have walked in the door. The new LTH position on food: Read the internet chatter about a certain place, discern in advance whether you think you'll enjoy it, and if not, don't go there at all to try the food. If the current media darling disappointed you in any way, do not talk about it on a food discussion board, because people will tell you that you should have known that such place would not be to your satisfaction, and you should have gone somewhere else in the first instance.
  • Post #24 - August 20th, 2010, 1:31 pm
    Post #24 - August 20th, 2010, 1:31 pm Post #24 - August 20th, 2010, 1:31 pm
    Several of the recent reviews here are clearly not for the Forest Park location.

    FP this week had bacio, chocolate, dark chocolate, lemon, tiramisu, stracciatella, vanilla, caramel, and fresh strawberry. I mostly recently went for half lemon and half chocolate-chipotle-pecan (devilish slow burn), and both the standard and the designer were served at perfect temperature and sweet-sour/savory balance; I'm delighted to have them in town, have taken both Italians and Texan guests who swear by the original Dallas location, and everyone has been pleased.
  • Post #25 - September 5th, 2011, 10:49 am
    Post #25 - September 5th, 2011, 10:49 am Post #25 - September 5th, 2011, 10:49 am
    I went yesterday to the Lincoln Square location with a friend. I had the vanilla lavender, which was as tasty as it was pretty. I officially prefer gelato to ice cream.

    I was shocked to see that they had durian, so naturally I told my friend that she had to try a sample.
    "What does it taste like?"
    "Well, it's hard to say. A little oniony. It's really good!" (I have had a bubble tea at Ben Tre which I rather enjoy, so I wasn't entirely lying.) But the counterperson knew what I was up to, so she gave her the tiniest sample possible.
    Let's just say her reaction was less than favorable. It was heard all the way in back, so when another employee came out with a new tray of coffee gelato, he could admit to hating it too. I believe she defined it as "onion toe cheese." :mrgreen:
    I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love

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  • Post #26 - September 6th, 2011, 12:17 pm
    Post #26 - September 6th, 2011, 12:17 pm Post #26 - September 6th, 2011, 12:17 pm
    Geez...there goes Pie Lady with her Durian again... :roll: What's next, limburger?!

    I've frequented the Paciugo store in Madison, WI, and have found it fairly similar taste-wise to the best gelato I tasted in Sicily, Florence & Rome last year. Probably the best quality I've had in the States. And yes, Paciugo's consistency IS a little stiffer than its Italian counterparts.
  • Post #27 - June 20th, 2013, 8:06 pm
    Post #27 - June 20th, 2013, 8:06 pm Post #27 - June 20th, 2013, 8:06 pm
    Attention durian fans: Paciugo, at least the Lincoln Square location, is currently offering durian gelato. I had a scoop and it certainly delivers durian flavor, although perhaps not in a dose to scare most people away. I believe it was a flavor of the month so you better move quickly if interested.

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