Maybe the rambling, effusive message we left on the San Rafael-based company's answering machine at 11 p.m. had a different effect than the one we intended. What else were we to do? We had questions to ask. A friend had brought over a stunningly good pint of caramel balsamic ice cream ($8 at Whole Foods), and our brains were caked in a sweet, slightly sour, and perfectly creamy Fiorello's film. We found a half-constructed Web site
with a Sistine Chapel motif and no helpful links -- just contact information. We e-mailed. Then we called. We even contemplated renting an economy car to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge in search of the low-profile manufacturer's remote lair.
The trail was as frigid as East Antarctica.
Fortunately, ice cream is fine without details. We don't usually get all Eddie Murphy about frozen treats, but Fiorello's caramel balsamic is addictive: subtle and just sweet
enough, with winy undercurrents squirming through the mellow caramel base. Oh, and if you'd rather not deal with Whole Foods, you can get it at Victoria Pastry Company (1362 Stockton at Vallejo).