Buried in a tiny strip mall that lies hidden in the shadow of the Kendale Lakes Plaza is a treasure called Via Veneto. You won't find gold or precious stones here, but flavors that once required a trek to the South American hinterlands.
Via Veneto offers traditional Italian flavors of homemade gelato such as vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and stracciatella, but its glory is Latin favorites that are elusive even in Miami. Lucuma gelato seems to be as popular at the shop as it is rare in the States. A fruit native to Peru, lucuma has a rich, maple-syrup sweetness, and desserts made from it have a mellow orange hue. The shop also offers a sorbet made from Peruvian staple chicha morada, as well as the Argentine bariloche, which has a chocolate base.
Via Veneto serves several exotic fruit sorbets — including chirimoya, tamarind, and maracuya — plus Miami jewels mamey and guanabana. You can grab a sugar cone for $4 or choose from a variety of sizes to take home. A container that holds almost two cups costs $8, and the largest, which holds about two pounds, can cost up to $60, depending on the flavor. The shop is open from 1 to 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 1 to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.