Watch out Chicago gelato businesses – you have competition! Corporate pastry chef of Chicago’s Siena Tavern restaurant, Amy Arnold, is on fire with her ingenious and very unique gelato flavors. Siena Tavern, located on 51 West Kinzie, in Chicago, has only been open since early 2013. Besides the delicious selection of popular pizzas, pastas, and meats, foodies and diners keep coming back for Arnold’s out of this world gelato. Arnold also is the head pastry and dessert chef for gastropub, Public House (400 North State Street), and bar and grill, Bull and Bear (431 North Wells).
Amy Arnold kick started on her pastry mastery when her children were young. She would make cakes and take them to their school and her work. Everyone raved about her desserts, and with her creative culinary flair, she started to experiment and create her own recipes. Arnold also does this with her gelato recipes at Siena Tavern; she just mixes whatever tastes good to her. She also never follows recipes exactly.
I was invited to come to Siena Tavern to meet Amy Arnold and sample her in-house gelatos, as well as the July gelatos of the month. Being a huge gelato fan, I was (super excited) extremely pleased to try her flavors.
The in-house and June flavors I sampled included pistachio (with lots of nuts), salted caramel (vanilla ice cream with sweet, salty, and savory), double chocolate (for the true chocoholic-dark, devilish and sinful), vanilla (creamy with real vanilla bean), strawberry (wonderfully fruity), tiramisu (the wonderful dessert in a glass), brown butter and peanuts and fudge (with candied peanuts), bourbon peach cobbler (hints of bourbon with cinnamon and pieces of peach and biscuit pieces), and milk chocolate with honey and bee pollen.
Without a doubt, I could not get enough of the two latter flavors. The bourbon peach cobbler automatically made me think of an outdoor, summer picnic in a park or on a beach. The sweet hint of smooth bourbon with the sweet, tangy peach was a splendid, tasty combination. I also highly enjoyed the milk chocolate with honey and bee pollen. I tasted an incredible, yet subtlety delicious arrangement of flavors.
Moving on, there were the July flavors of the month, which were the four featured gelatos I had the opportunity to taste: strawberry pie, blackberry and lemon curd, crème brulee, and orange amoretti. All four were exceptional. The strawberry pie had real strawberry jelly swirled in vanilla gelato with broken up piecrust. The crème brulee, like the tiramisu, was dessert in a glass, while the orange amoretto was loaded with orange zest and amoretti cookie crumbs.
For me, personally, the blackberry and lemon curd gelato stood out amongst the other three July flavors. I had no idea that the flavors would burst and stand out on my taste buds! The blackberry (was perfectly tart) had the perfect tartness, while the lemon curd added a fantastic tangy, citrusy finish. Who knew that such two different fruits could combine in such delicious harmony?
Finally, Amy Arnold had me sample her special, secret birthday cake gelato. (This gelato is given out to Siena Tavern diners on their birthday-shh!) It was a delight to taste the vanilla gelato with its sprinkles, white cake, and butter cream. Again, it was a delicious dessert in a glass.
When I left Siena Tavern, I was filled to the brim with a wide variety of incredible gelato samplings. Amy Arnold also sent me packing with three pints each of double chocolate, honey, and tiramisu. (I was sad that she had no more bourbon and peach cobbler to give away as well!) I did agree with myself, as I went home, that these pints would not last too long in my freezer…
*Gelatos pints are available in house upon request.
Siena Tavern is located at 51 West Kinzie, Chicago, IL 60654.
Hours of Operation
Sat & Sun 10am-3pm
Kitchen Closes at 11pm
Pizza Bar Open til 12am
Thurs, Fri & Sat:
Kitchen Closes at 12am
Pizza Bar Open til 1am
For more information about Siena Tavern or its gelatos, or to make a reservation, visit the Siena Tavern Website or call (312) 595-1322.
Photos: Jennifer Lunz (Amy Arnold photo and gelato with four cups)