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For when a flower-shaped cone isn't enough, there are always waffles.

Image: Alice Levitt

When I told my colleagues that Amorino, the gelateria in River Oaks District, is celebrating its first birthday, they couldn't believe how quickly time has elapsed since it opened. I, on the other hand, was stunned that I've been eating so hard around town that I hadn't found time to do what I intended to do right after my first visit. A gelato flower is a beautiful proposition, if a melty one, in these dog days of summer. But frankly, I've never been fond of sugar cones. I prefer something with less standalone flavor. 

For that, there are two intensely Euro options from the French gelato company. One is to get your gelato tucked inside a crêpe. The other, is to choose your scoops, then watch as a hot waffle emerges from the iron, ready to serve as a base for your choice of up to three flavors. Both appealed, though co-owner Nathalie Debbouzzi recommended the latter.

I chose banana sorbet, chocolate sorbet (which I favor over Amorino's chocolate gelati for its intensity) and dulce de leche gelato. Debbouzzi scooped each into perfect tapered oblongs, then covered the upper third of the waffle with whipped cream. "Caramel, gianduja or dark chocolate," she asked, referring to the sauce drizzled over the whole collection. Dark chocolate, of course. It blended especially well with the slightly unripe, green taste of the banana. Eaten inside, the gelati all warmed slowly against the crisp outside of the warm waffle, softening, but not melting before I could (almost) finish. Realistically, eating the waffle probably a two-man job, but I think I acquitted myself pretty well.

It's a treat worth trying anytime, but Amorino's birthday party is an especially good time to visit this week. On August 24 from 4-10 p.m. orders will all be upgraded. For example, smalls will become classic and classic will grow to large cups or cones. For the event, Debbouzzi and her husband, Sebastien, will set up a photo stand intended to make shots with always Instagram-worthy Amorino cones even more polished. Adult customers will be offered tote bags and will be entered in drawings for gift cards, and children can carry away balloons. 

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Amorino Gelato

$ Dessert 4444 Westheimer Rd., Ste. C150

The company is Italian-owned and the gelati and sorbetti are manufactured in France, making a rose-shaped Amorino cone a thoroughly Euro experience—an ideal ...