Caffe Prada had tempted us beyond our limits with their Facebook posts and Tweets of gelato flavors like Sriracha Chocolate, Raspberry Chipotle, and Guinness. We headed downtown to the corner of North Broad and Fourth Street in Winston Salem to treat ourselves to some yummy dessert. Owners Jim and Dana Moody took over Caffe Prada last fall and have kept customer favorites like the wine tasting, coffees, pastries, and gelato. We had a great time chatting with them during our visit.
As soon as we walked in the door, we made a beeline for the gelato counter. The beautiful variety of colors reminded me of frosting on a cake. Gelato may surprise you if you’ve never tried it before. It’s softer than ice cream due to it being kept at a higher temperature. However it is denser because it has less air whipped into it. You get hit with the flavors upfront. We tried the Show Me the ID, Guinness, Bananas Foster, and Sriracha Chocolate. The Show Me the ID (chocolate) and the Guinness were made with Guinness Irish Stout as a key ingredient. Guinness beer has a very prominent bitterness reminiscent to a strong dark roast coffee. This came through in both gelatos. My favorite was the Sriracha Chocolate. After the rich dark chocolate melted away, you were left with a lingering spicy heat in the back of your throat. I can’t wait for the habanero fruit flavor they are targeting to release in May. Jerry’s favorite was the Bananas Foster. The light spice of cinnamon dominated this banana flavored gelato. There were so many creative flavors to try: Fruit Loop, Mint Chocolate Chip, Blood Orange, Salted Caramel, and Butterfinger to name a few.
Caffe Prada is a fantastic source for local products of businesses that don’t have their own brick and mortar store. The classic vanilla cheesecake by atelier del Valle, a fully-licensed and inspected home-based custom bakery in Winston, was dotted with vanilla bean seeds and decorated with whipped cream, a ripe raspberry and gold shavings. Pablo del Valle’s specialty is custom cakes for all occasions.
We took home a bag of WitsEnd Bakery Tap Taps. Ritz style crackers with peanut butter in the middle had been dunked in white chocolate and drizzled with milk chocolate. They were a downhome country-Christmas type of sweet. We were thrilled to discover these hidden-gem bakeries and look forward to ordering custom birthday cakes this year. We didn’t have room for one of Kitchen Roselli’s cream puffs, but I have had them at their restaurant in East Bend. You quickly learn to ask as soon as you are seated, “Are there any cream puffs left and can we please reserve two?” I’m glad to see that we can enjoy this wonderful dessert in Winston now. For breakfast, try one of the Be Nice Bagels. We love the Everything bagel with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, garlic and onion.
If you’re a coffee drinker, the menu is filled with loads of hot and frozen coffee drinks and flavors. Their beverage selection also includes Bellini’s, mimosas, and bottled beers like Bud, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Blue Moon, Guinness, Sweet Josie Brown, Peroni, and Redd’s Apple. I would like to see them carry more NC craft beers. To quote the NC Beer Guys, “Drink Local and keep your beer dollars in North Carolina.” Caffe Prada has a selection of wines that you can enjoy with their appetizer plates of hummus, cheese & crackers, salsa & chips, or tzatziki.
The pastry counter drew our attention before we left. The enticing array of baked goods (brownies, cookies, cinnamon buns, scones, layer cakes, Alfajores, muffins, croissants, pizelle, and biscotti) almost overwhelmed us. We agreed on a brownie to share at home later. The huge brownie with chunks of nuts was an explosion of chocolatey goodness. The cracked crust, like wrapping paper on a present, gave way to a moist and insanely chocolate, cakey, fudgey brownie. Have a glass of milk ready!
We returned to Caffe Prada Friday evening for their free wine tasting from 6-8 pm. There’s no pressure to buy the wine, and they do a generous pour if you decide to have a glass. We sampled two whites and two reds from McManis Family Vineyards and picked up a bottle of Viognier. The person doing the tasting was friendly and knowledgeable. He answered all of our questions and chatted with us as we tried the wine.
After the wine tasting, we couldn’t resist checking out a few more flavors of gelato. The Cherry & Rosemary tasted like it was fresh out of my herb garden. The rosemary was distinct and didn’t overpower the cherry; the two flavors paired well together. The Cheerwine gelato tasted exactly like the soft drink. All I could think of was what a perfect float it would make. They are more than happy to let you sample a few flavors if you can’t make up your mind on what to get.
We took home a slice of coconut layer cake made by WitsEnd Bakery for a late night snack. I’ll need to look closer next time, but there were at least six layers of cake with a coconut cream pudding like filling and an inch of whipped cream frosting and shredded coconut on the top and sides. The enormous slice of moist yellow cake was delicious.
The next day for breakfast we shared an Alfajores. This dulce de leche cookie sandwich was like shortbread with caramel in the middle. The crumbly, crunchy cookie was dusted with powdered sugar and coated in flaked coconut; it reminded me of a Danish wedding cookie.
We splurged and tried all five of their homemade cookies too (Rocky Road – chocolate and marshmallow with a crispy edge and soft moist center, Peanut Butter – chewy and nicely browned on the bottom, Chocolate Chip – chunks of intense chocolate, White Chocolate Cherry – tart cherries and sugary white chocolate, Oatmeal Raisin – wonderful texture from the oats and plump raisins).
Caffe Prada is a great place to grab your morning coffee and pastry, visit with friends over a glass of wine in the evening, or drop in with the family for a scoop of gelato or one of their baked treats. We’re hooked on their gelato and can’t wait until they announce the next new flavor.