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Tosci's Ice Cream Wins Boston Award

By Katie Jeffreys
Staff Reporter

Toscanini's, a campus favorite for ice cream and coffee, was recently named "Best of Boston" by Boston Magazine. This annual award recognizes outstanding businesses and people in the area.

The magazine acknowledged Toscanini's for its ice cream, noting that it "is outrageously creamy. The consistency is mousse-like without being airy, rich without being heavy."

Toscanini's owner Gus Rancatore is pleased with the acknowledgement of his restaurant's products and service. "Sometimes I think everyone who works here works very hard without getting as much recognition as they are entitled to receive," he said.

This is not the first time Toscanini's has been named "Best of Boston," nor is it the only recognition they have received. The establishment has also been highlighted as one of Boston's best restaurants in Gourmet Magazine, Access Boston, and Microsoft's Boston Sidewalk.

Toscanini's is also known among local restaurants and international customers. About 20 percent of Toscanini's business is wholesale.

Ice cream made for adults

Toscanini's first opened in 1981 on Main Street in Central Square, where all the ice cream is still made. Since then, two new stores have been added. One came to the Student Center about five years ago and another opened in Harvard Square this past spring.

The MIT location "is an odd ice cream store because it's relatively quiet on weekends and in the summer when the Institute is quiet," Rancatore said.

The Harvard Square location "is small, with just four seats and is designed as a takeout or takeaway store. We hope that it looks like the store on Main Street but works like our store in the Student Center, which sells a lot of coffee as well as ice cream," he said.

Toscanini's ice cream is made for adult tastes, Rancatore said. "We make a lot of unusual flavors, but we don't make silly or childish flavors. Other stores may make bubble gum ice cream or shark ice cream."

"We make Indian flavors like mango, khulfee, saffron, and cardamon. We make West Indian or Carribean flavors like grape nut raisin and rum raisin," he said.

Other international flavors include Italian flavors such as Gianduia and Nocciola, and even French flavors like Prunes and Armagnac'.

Ingredients, labor increase prices

With these unusual flavors comes an increased price.Students may note that for one scoop of Toscanini's ice cream, one could buy 10 packages of ramen noodles. However, in comparison with other ice cream stores in the area, $2 for one scoop is better than average.

The seemingly high cost is a result of several factors.The first is Toscanini's use of high quality ingredients. Rancatore said that they "use a lot of expensive ingredients, including chocolate imported from France and Belgium."

Additionally, because of dairy industry regulations, it is illegal for Toscanini's to buy milk products produced outside of New England. Milk prices throughout the area have increased as bills attempting to preserve family farms have been passed.

Rancatore also notes that costs such as labor and paper products have increased, which are reflected in the cost of the product.

Despite the increasing costs, Toscanini's is a treat that cannot be passed up. "We try real hard to be a great ice cream store, which is admittedly a small aspiration, but one that we work to achieve," Rancatore said.