It seems the Songshan area is turning into my second ice cream hunting ground. First it was Tenten Gelateria, and now Matias’ Gelato; meanwhile, the number of Songshan addresses on my ice cream hit list continues to grow. But Songshan isn’t the all-you-can-eat window shopping and food-gawking buffet that its neighbour Zhongxiao Fuxing/Dunhua is. Things are a little more spread-out here – you have to do a little work to find the goods! Hidden in plain view on Fuxing North Road, Matias is one of the easier shops to find.
The owner has an interesting story – he spent 10 years living in Argentina, which apparently has a large Italian population. He fell in love with Argentina’s Italian-style gelato and decided to bring it home with him when he moved back to Taiwan. Just like the traditional French-style ice cream at O Rose, Matias’ Italian-style gelato is true to its roots except for one modification – less sugar! That’s truly one of the best things about eating ice cream in Taiwan – you can enjoy the purity of the ingredients so much more when there isn’t a mountain of sugar getting in the way. Like most of the shops I’ve reviewed, Matias offers a mixture of local and exotic flavours, with nearly all of the fruits coming from local growers in Taiwan. Most of the fruit flavours are actually sorbets, which he keeps as pure as possible. All Matias’ Gelato sorbets are dairy-free and vegan!
後面: 巧克力、香草、及萊姆葡萄乾冰淇淋。前面: 黑芝麻、瑞士巧克力冰淇淋。我試吃了巧克力口味，對我來說巧克力味很普通，有點淡，可以再苦一點會更好吃，但台灣不太流行我愛吃的苦巧克力，所以這樣大概比較適合當地的胃口。
Rear: chocolate, vanilla, and rum raisin gelato. Front: black sesame and stracchiatella gelato. I sampled the chocolate and found it pretty standard – probably well-suited for local tastes, but not bitter enough for me!
To the right, there’s matcha gelato (rear) and banana (front). I forgot to ask if the banana was a gelato or a dairy-free sorbet, but I suspect it may be the latter because its fruit content is so high – it’s rich, dense, and bursting with the caramelly flavour of fresh, local bananas.
Rear: matcha gelato, longan honey gelato, and mulberry sorbet. Front: mixed berry, lychee-raspberry sorbet . I was excited about the lychee sorbet, but found the texture a little icy and the flavour a little sweet for my taste.
Rear: mulberry sorbet, passionfruit sorbet. Front: lime sorbet. I tried the super-pure lime sorbet. Flecked with flavourful bits of freshly-grated lime zest, this sorbet is especially low in sugar, retaining a strong, natural acidity. It’s light, refreshing, and low-cal. People who enjoy tart fruit flavours are sure to appreciate this fresh lime sorbet!
Local Miaoli longan honey gelato, $65NT/scoop. This unique gelato features local honey as its star ingredient – not just as a sweetener for something else. I expected it to be fairly neutral and vanilla-like, but then I had a bite, and…wow! The intense, richly complex flavour was a sweet surprise! The initial explosion of fruity sweetness mellows to a full, almost smoky aftertaste. Matias’ honey comes from a farm in nearby Miaoli and is produced from flowers of the longan fruit, a relative of the lychee. This delicious, natural gelato is worth a trip to Songshan!
Passionfruit sorbet, $65 NT/scoop. Made with locally-grown passionfruits, of course! Some shops like to leave the seeds in for crunch, but Matias has painstakingly strained them out for a smooth sorbet. You can still see a few little black flecks left over from broken seeds, making the bright orange sorbet even prettier to look at!
Passionfruits have a lot of flavour, but almost no substance – they’re pretty much just juice and seeds, very low in sugar and with almost no pectin or fibre. It’s tricky to make a smooth-textured passionfruit sorbet without adding other stuff to give it body. That’s why you usually see “passionfruit-mango sorbet” or “passionfruit frozen yogurt” instead of pure passionfruit sorbet. The texture of this sorbet was a little on the watery side – I expect because the owner likes to keep his product as pure as possible, without adding a ton of sugar and stabilizers – but it blew me away with its super-concentrated, 100% passionfruit flavour.
The shop offers a full range of beverages and afternoon-tea snacks at friendly prices a little below average.
Matias’ Gelato | 馬提亞手工義式冰淇淋
電話: 02 2546 8758
時間: 週二至週日14:00~21:00 (週一公休)
Address: No. 469 Fuxing North Road, Songshan District, Taipei
Tel: 02 2546 8758
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 14:00~21:00 (closed Mondays)