Tucked away at the end of an unassuming parade of shops in Salford is a tiny ice cream parlour that is big on charm, and where punters queue down the road to savour the homemade gelato.
Named Taste IT after its Italian owners, husband and wife duo Simona and Gianfranco Fattore are working flat-out creating traditional artisan gelato ice cream and hand-stretched pizzas six nights a week at their Blackfriars Road shop.
It opens on weekdays from 5pm to 10pm and on weekends from 3pm – 10pm – but demand is so high they sometimes sell out within hours of opening.
It has been such a hit that it’s now rated best for ice cream across the whole of Greater Manchester on TripAdvisor.
Fans who have posted reviews hail it ‘Salford’s hidden gem’, ‘the best ice cream in Manchester’ and ‘best gelato ever’.
There are daily changing flavours, from the mouth-watering salted Bronte pistachio, ricotta and pears, Oreo and Kit Kat, Sicilian pleasure, black cherry amarena, Lotus Biscoff and a range of vegan gelato including peanut butter and strawberry.
You can get a single cone for £3.50 or go the whole hog with a triple scoop cone for £8.50.
Mega-fans can get a whole tub of the dreamy homemade stuff to take home – large tubs are £10.50 or go super-sized for £15.50.
Simona’s ice cream making skills were honed at the Italian School of Gelato in Perugia, while husband Gianfranco developed his pizza-making skills at Italy’s University of Taste.
Together they would make a match made in culinary heaven – and the couple were able to finally realise their dream of opening their own pizza and ice cream parlour in Salford in 2017 after moving from Napoli.
At first people asked them why they took the rather ‘hidden gem’ location – which you can quite easily drive past and miss – but they say they have loved making it the base for Taste IT.
It is around a ten minute walk from Deansgate (be warned there’s a lack of parking close to Taste IT), opposite the big Renault garage at the crossroads with Trinity Way.
Gianfranco, 37, says: “We opened up here in 2017 and people said why did we chose this place? But do you know what, it works for us.
“We love this place. Manchester is changing every day, the food is so interesting that you can travel all around the world in food in Manchester.”
Simona, 33, adds: “We love our customers, it’s always exciting and so multicultural here.”
The couple first met when they were both working on a cruise ship in Italy, and together they worked on making their dream for their own food business a reality.
Simona busily works creating new gelato flavours which are made fresh each day at the premises, while Gianfranco creates the Italian stonebaked sourdough pizzas which come in a range of flavours, priced from £6 for 10″ and from £8 for 12″.
Originally opened as a small cafe, they are now takeaway only to comply with the ongoing coronavirus restrictions.
And it’s not uncommon to see a queue snaking down the busy Blackfriars Road on sunny weekends from those eager to give it a try.
Simona said: “Last year the support was incredible, even through lockdown.
“And we know when it’s a hot weekend we are going to get busy.
“Some days we have to close early because we have simply run out of as much as we can make.”
Pizza flavours include Italian favourites like the Napoli with anchovies, garlic and black olives and Siciliana with aubergines and fresh basil.
And Gianfranco has also created two specials as a nod to their new adopted homeland – the Manchester which comes complete with beef meatballs, pancetta and pepperoni from £8.50, and the Salford which boasts chicken sweetcorn, roasted peppers mushrooms and jalapeno for a bit of a kick from £9.
Taste IT is at 69 Blackfriars Road, Salford, M3 7DB, and is open Tuesday to Friday 5pm – 10pm, Saturday and Sunday 3pm – 10pm