Just a stones throw from the Pier and Brighton seafront, you’ll find La Mucca Nera – a small Italian gelato shop nestled on the bustling St James’s Street.
The Gelateria prides itself on it’s Italian heritage and as I step inside it is evident why – the place is brimming with authenticity. From the Italian accents of the staff and the fine selection of Italian alcohol to the smell of coffee, the colourful display of the gelato counter and even the Italian Top of the Pops blaring out of the TV, I immediately feel transported to the streets of Rome.
As I take in my surroundings, I try to decide which flavour to sample from the 12 flavours of gelato they have on display during our visit (though they produce 50 different flavours on rotation through the year). They have a wonderful selection, with flavours ranging from the familiar vanilla to a rich crème brulee with coffee and pine nuts. I am recommended the slightly more unusual ‘Italian Milk’ flavour – Fior di latte – which I am told is one of a kind and rarely featured in any other gelato or ice cream shop up and down the country.
While enjoying our ice creams, we’re told one of La Mucca Nera’s specialties is the affogato, which involves a scoop of ice cream ‘drowned’ in freshly-ground Illy espresso coffee. I decide to go for the suggested milk flavoured gelato, which apparently is nowhere near as popular in this country as it is in Italy. Once I tried it however, I had no idea why. The milk complimented the coffee perfectly and was so good it could easily turn a non-coffee lover into a coffee fanatic.
My friend decided to go for the Stracciatella flavour, which was a perfect blend of vanilla ice cream and chocolate with neither outweighing the other. I’m told that this flavour is particularly popular, and it’s not difficult to see why, its creaminess making an impression long into the afternoon. The selection of fruit sorbets are the more unique and refreshing choice of gelato on offer, I sample a few flavours (mango, raspberry and lemon), all of which provide a well-balanced sweet, fruity taste. I would highly recommend these as the perfect choice for those who are fond of fruity refreshment or as the vegan/dairy-free option.
I am told that they also make and serve a selection of classic Italian cocktails such as a peach bellini and both espresso and dirty martinis along with “the best Aperol Spritz in Brighton” (which, as it has just gone 1pm on a Tuesday lunch time, I’ll have to go back and try for myself another time).
In all, our visit to La Mucca Nera was a success – and we were surprised to hear it’s open until 9.30pm through the week and 11pm at weekends. Whether you’re after a daytime refresher, or a post-dinner indulgence, La Mucca Nera is the place to go: we’d recommend it wholeheartedly.
La Mucca Nera is found at 107 St James’s Street, Brighton. Tel: 01273 933033, lamuccanera.co.uk