It’s been a year or two since I last dusted off my handy ice cream maker, and every time I gaze at its shiny, white shell (which is admittedly not often), I grow wistful for those heady days when I would pour fatty custards into its spinning innards and find glorious ice creams and gelatos waiting for me thirty minutes later. Damn, I love ice cream.

I mean, I really love ice cream.

Of course, who doesn’t love ice cream? Lactose intolerant people, probably. Or maybe people with six-packs. For most of us though, we all scream for ice cream, which is why I was particularly excited when a large box filled with complimentary Nancy’s Fancy gelato arrived at my doorstep last week. The creation of acclaimed pastry-chef Nancy Silverton, Nancy’s Fancy promises a luxe dessert experience, but does it deliver? And is it worth the $10.99 price tag? Yes, you read that correctly: Nancy’s Fancy retails for $10.99 a pint.

To find out the answers to these pressing issues, I brought two pints — Coconut Stracciatella with Bittersweet Chocolate Strands, Frutti di Bosco – Greek Yogurt and Mixed Berries — to my friend’s house for a group tasting. This was all rather convenient as we were all assembling anyway to play the zombie board game “Dead of Winter.” Zombies + Nancy Silverton = an intriguing night to say the least.

Pictures and revelations after the jump…

First things first: let’s just admire this giant, dry-ice-filled gelato box. For a moment I thought I had just been sent a new subwoofer. A perishable subwoofer.

Nevertheless, here we are in our fictional board game town, which has been overrun with zombies and soon gelato (no one ever said the apocalypse couldn’t be fancy). The game hasn’t even started, but we’re already in trouble: our survivors need food and guns. Oh, and it’s winter (hence the name “Dead of Winter”). Luckily, the five of us will all work together to stave off the zombies… unless someone in our ranks is a traitor, which could happen.

No gelato for traitors.

I control this guy. His name is Andrew Evans, and he’s a farmer. He excels in rummaging around the grocery store. We are very alike in that way. I doubt he would be willing to pay $10.99 for gelato, but luckily for him, looting is welcomed in the zombie apocalypse.

Daniel has procured a horse for his character, Annaleigh Chan, and now he’s ready to do some searching at the gas station. Julia is clearly suspicious.

Tyler is all smiles after a narrative twist reveals that his two characters, school principal Arthur Thurston and student John Price, have been carrying on a secret love affair. The Walking Dead was never this good.

Michelle is just loving the gay twists!

Annaleigh Chan may have a horse, but she can’t ride away from her demons. In an unexpected moment of dread and guilt, the feisty lawyer up and KILLS HERSELF! I’d like to see “Chutes & Ladders” take that sort of turn!

Still loving it.

With all the statutory rape and casual suicide in this game, we think it’s time to bust out the Nancy’s Fancy.

Since I have a strange hatred of berries, I let the others take on the Frutti di Bosco. The group likes it, but they don’t love it. The Coconut Stracciatella is a big hit though. Great texture, super strong coconut flavors, and the bittersweet chocolate strands put it all over the top. It’s the clear favorite of the two.

After our gelato break, it’s back to the game, and things are getting tense, which in turn is making Tyler sick (note the finger-in-throat situation). We remedy this by eating more gelato (also note Julia scooping more in the background).

Daniel enjoys his flavor combo — the better to mourn Annaleigh Chan with.

It’s nearly 1 AM, and we’ve been playing for almost three hours. We’ve turned things around, and victory is in sight. We just need Michelle to kill a zombie and build a barricade. That’s all. But she refuses. Instead, she seems intent on letting waitress Jenny Clark DIE by feeding her to the undead. And oh, by the way, that would lead to us ALL LOSING THE GAME.

Now we’re HELLA suspicious. Michelle tries to convince us she’s on our side, but she can’t even keep a straight face. How can you be on our side if you’re willing to kill Jenny Clark???!?!!?!?!


Don’t let her joy fool you: she is EVIL!

In the end, we thwarted Michelle’s macabre plan and EXILED her out of the town! And then the rest of us won! Or at least, the guys did. Julia lost (she didn’t fulfill her secret objective). Fun times had by all! Oh, and strangely enough, Michelle wasn’t the betrayer after all. She just had a very strange secret agenda. Sorry, Michelle! Love you xoxoxo!

If anyone was a betrayer, it was me because I left this third pint of Nancy’s Fancy at home. And this isn’t just any old pint. It’s Butterscotch Budino, based off of Nancy Silverton’s iconic dessert found at Pizzeria Mozza (see my attempt to make it at home here).

I busted out this madness the next night (¡Cinco De Mayo!) with my dear friend Sly, and it was immediately clear that this was head and shoulders above the rest. The gelato is intensely sweet with a butterscotch flavor that thwomps you in the face (much like a beleaguered farmer fending off zombies at the local Albertson’s). Swirls of salty, perfect caramel offset the sugar rush — just as in Silverton’s original Budino — making this gelato a standout. Not pictured: me scraping every last bit of caramel out of the bowl

Overall, major enthusiasm for Nancy’s Fancy; however, one cannot ignore that price tag. As much as I enjoyed the gelato (and was ever so thankful to receive it), I don’t see myself shelling out $10.99 for a pint. I respect the craftsmanship that goes into Nancy’s Fancy, and clearly the ingredients are top notch, but people, I just won “Dead of Winter,” not “Monopoly.”
I don’t got that kind of money! That being said, maybe I’d splurge for Nancy’s Fancy in a very specific scenario — perhaps at a memorial for Annaleigh Chan? (Clearly that pullquote is going on the gelato’s poster.)

As for “Dead of Winter,” if you don’t have this game, and you love twisty, exciting, and hilarious social experiences, please do yourself a favor and buy it right away. That’s one splurge I can wholeheartedly endorse.

One reply on “Fighting the “Dead of Winter” with Nancy’s Fancy Gelatti & Sorbetti”

  1. I just went to a play party where we played the test version of Exploding Kittens. We did not have fancy gelato, just cake. I’m jealous of your fancy gelato, but I have to know about the coconut. Was it a fresh coconut taste or was it the flaked dry coconut taste? The former is divine, but I cannot stand the latter. Not that I will be paying so much for fancy gelato… I will definitely mention Dead of Winter to my gaming friends (actually, they are getting married, this may be the perfect wedding gift)!!

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