Fainting Goat Gelato

Fainting Goat Gelato is a treat worth kicking up your feet over. Taking their name from a unique type of goat that faints when excited, this one-shop wonder is enough to get your tastebuds tingling.

The slender storefront, located at 1903 North 45th Street in Wallingford, was opened on Mother’s Day 2009 by Turkish couple Yalcin and Sevim Ataman. They’d emigrated some twelve years earlier, and as their three daughters grew up and out of the house, turned to invest their time in another sweet distraction.

And sweet it is. Fainting Goat has carved itself a distinct niche among a stacked deck of Seattle ice cream shops. Gelato, an Italian ice cream, has less ice crystals and a silkier texture than the American version and also boasts a lower fat content. Fainting Goat’s flavors are slow-churned daily and kept at a warmer temperature, resulting in soft folds of velvety goodness with every bite.

Local favorites include the salted caramel, a sultry ribbon of sweetness flecked with quick tangs of salt. Pair it with a scoop infused with Café Vita espresso and you’ve got a caffeine-addict’s nirvana.

In fact, Fainting Goat’s serving style encourages mixing and matching; a scoop of each of two flavors puts you out a mere $3.75, while three flavors is $5. Stack them in a homemade and hand-folded waffle cone for just $1 more.

Two extended freezers display upwards of fifteen choices on any given night, all seductively swirled in their stainless-steel bins and topped with adorable embellishments – marshmallows, fresh strawberries, slivered almonds.

For tea-lovers, the Earl Grey is reminiscent of a cup of herbal doused in cream and staple flavors, such as chocolate and mint, are also executed with perfection. A vegan pear sorbetto and several sorbets – pink guava, strawberry – offer additional variety.

Fainting Goat uses organic milk as the base of their gelato, sourced from local Fresh Breeze Farms in Lynden, WA. This thick and creamy base is livened up by Northwest berries and fruits, Sicilian pistachios, Turkish hazelnuts, and other premiere ingredients.

The Ataman’s Turkish heritage is reflected in a full espresso menu and signature Turkish coffee ($3). Or for the best of both worlds, take the plunge into a rich affogato: a scoop of thick and creamy gelato doused with two steaming espresso shots ($6).

True to their name, Fainting Goat also features a mastika-flavored gelato, churned from local Grace Milk Goat Farms and flavored with tree resin from the Greek island Chiros.

For the traditional gelato experience, flavors such as Pannacotta, tinged slightly with cherry, and Stracciatella, littered with dark chocolate chunks, are the most characteristic of Italy. Think drinking sweet heavy cream with a spoon and you’ve hit the mark, though these concoctions still manage to leave your tongue feeling light and clean.

The Atamans have dreamed of owning their own shop since moving to the States, and if the lines out the door each weekend (and even in the winter!) are any indication, those dreams have become a sweet reality. And with one bite of this Italian treat, you’ll be a fainting goat too.

Published 13 February 2013 in The Falcon as “Gelato shop is dream come true for owners”

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