Il Capriccio Creperie Gelateria, Gaios 490 82, Paxos, Greece, $$
When you were a kid, what did you want to become when you grew up? For some of us, the answer may have been a doctor, a lawyer, a writer, or a dancer. But Michalis Mitsialis, Greek confectioner, most definitely had a passion for the sweeter things in life. Decades later, he’s transitioned from baker to ice cream maker.
Now, he’s earning a name for himself across the Mediterranean as a man who takes his Venetian-inspired gelato very, very, seriously.
As luck would have it, Michalis’ wife, Litsa, rivals his sense of passion. Recently, she invited us in to explore their sweet-and-satiating goods shop to see for ourselves what’s got guests raving.
Coming from a background in design, Litsa is the yin to Michalis’ yang. The ambiance and eclectic-feel-at-home decor are her doing entirely. The sensational hospitality? That’s a mutual strength, though she’s definitely the conversationalist of the pair. Through this partnership in love and in life, a sense of wonderment has manifested itself in the form of an artistically styled ice creamery in the heart of Paxos.
Welcome to Il Capriccio Creperie Gelateria.
But this is no regular Gelateria. Here, on an unnamed waterfront road in central Paxos (Gaios), there’s a secret waiting to be discovered: the floor above the cafe's main servery is the very factory where their creations come to life.
Invited in by the owners, Travlr Blog got a sneak peek - and taste - of what may just be the niftiest gelateria in Greece.
Premium ingredients arrive each morning as Michalis prepares to make good on his ‘fresh daily’ motto. Not only does he opt for premium milk, cream, and natural flavours (no syrupy-vanilla-artificial extracts here); the fruits, and key ingredients are sourced as close to home as possible. Take the ever popular strawberry, just as an example. Coming from nearby farms while in season, Michalis and his team clean, prep, and store them onsite at Il Capriccio. When it comes to the sorbets, the refreshing citrus notes can be attributed to the yellow and green acidic fruits hanging from the very trees dotting this Ionian landscape.
So, how’s it all done?
In this case, Michalis and his assistant load up the top-of-the-line gelato machine with naturally sweeten strawberries. Next comes the milk and cream. Then the magic happens. The machine churns this pink liquid-and-berry-mix into creamy, fluffy, consistent goodness. In 10 minutes it’s ready to scoop into tubs and be brought downstairs for visitors to indulge in. Not before samples are passed around though.
He makes it seem so effortless, but the strict ratios, spin cycles, machine types, and push for fresh, locally sourced ingredients is the culmination of years of experience in the business.
Why we love this place:
Each ice cream is made early in the day and ready for guests to enjoy throughout the afternoon and evening. Then the process starts again in the wee hours the following morning. Talk about fresh obsessed.
In addition to popular favourites like strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate (you haven’t had it ’til you’ve had it here), Michalis and Litsa spend their off-season experimenting with new flavour combinations. The latest to make waves through the Island: Lemon & White Chocolate. Want something rich? How about the intense, double black - a chocoholics daydream come true.
Il Capriccio, doesn’t stop at ice cream though. While Michalis is busy with his team in the factory upstairs, Litsa spends the day below, serving up some of the most generously made crepes. From breakfast favourites graced with homemade granola and local cherries to savoury after-drink crowd pleasers like ham and cheese enhanced with a variety of additional toppings that guests can choose from to build their own.
The coffee frappe, fresh squeezed OJ, and quaint bar in the back keeps guests aged 8 to 80 happy. All the while, we’re content sharing several samples as we take in the lapping waves just meters (or yards for you Americans) away. The sailors mooring their boats in front is the cherry on top that just confirms authentic Greece still awaits the voyaging bon vivant.
Travlr Blog gives Il Capriccio 5 out of 5 ice cream scoops up!