Sugar Rush: Hazelnut Gelato at Cold Fusion Gelato, Newport, Rhode Island

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Cold Fusion's Hazelnut steals the show, but I wouldn't say no to a scoop of the Mocha Chip. [Photograph: Kate Shannon]

I spent a few summers waiting tables in Newport so I like to think that I've acquired a sort of half-local, half-tourist status. I still appreciate the town with all the enthusiasm of a visitor, but I've learned which places are total tourist-traps and which ones have food worth eating.

Cold Fusion has gelato worth eating. Actually, it has gelato that's a delight to eat. It's a relatively unassuming space—bright and clean with a handful of tables and two service cases full of gelato and sorbet. By now, I've had little square tasting spoons of just about every flavor and, OK, full scoops of most them.

I've been impressed by most of the flavors, but the hazelnut gelato ($4.31/small) always leaves me absolutely floored. It has all of the rich decadence you would expect of small-batch, handmade gelato (each flavor is made fresh every day). Couple that with the purest expression of hazelnuts you can possibly imagine, and you've got an idea of this flavor.

Hazelnut isn't necessarily one of my favorite foods, but this gelato makes me a hazelnut fanatic. It also makes me a little mad that hazelnuts are so often tied up with chocolate. Because, with my apologies to Nutella, this is what happens to hazelnuts when they die and go to heaven: they become Cold Fusion gelato. And there's good news for those of us don't have full-time local status in Newport—you can buy Cold Fusion by the pint in twenty stores around New England.

Cold Fusion Gelato

389 Thames Street, Newport RI 02840 (map) 401-849-6777; www.coldfusiongelato.com

About the author: Kate Shannon is a cheesemonger by day and line cook by night. Although she calls Boston home, she hasn't lost her love for the fried cheese curds and Chicago-style hotdogs of the Midwest. She believes that leftover Thai takeout makes the best lunches and that strawberry shortcake is meant to be breakfast, not dessert.

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