“Until you’ve really experienced it, gelato is hard to explain,” says Jean Robertson, co-owner of Medici Gelato in Barrington. “It’s a delicate product that has much less fat. The flavors are really intense. But in Europe, ice cream is gelato.”
The bright little shop opened in 2014 on Maple Avenue. Robertson always wanted to have her own business, and she took classes in gelato-making with her husband Robert. When the property came on the market, they jumped at the chance, and Medici Gelato was born. With its tiny porch and sloped roof, Medici looks right at home on the Rockwellian row. The interior is composed of elegant white walls and a marble-topped counter, and sunlight pours through broad windows. “We wanted people to feel like they were walking into a little shop in Europe,” she adds.
The Robertsons have hosted a few gelato socials at RISD and Roger Williams University, and their biggest hit has been butter cashew. Meanwhile, Medici gelato is easy on the innards, especially the vegan variety. “It’s creamy, like a regular gelato, but it’s made with rice-milk. If you can’t deal with dairy products or are vegan, you don’t have to suffer.”
The name has a double-meaning: according to legend, Catherine de Medici commissioned the first gelato to impress the king of France. More locally, the gelateria is based in the former home of John Medici, the beloved former chief of Barrington’s police department. Adds Robertson: “I think he lives on in this place.” Barrington