Malga Gelato (マルガジェラート）
Locations (3): Noto-cho, Nonoichi, Kanazawa
Now that summer’s on its way to Ishikawa, I wanted to share some of my favorite places to get ice cream (gelato and soft serve) in Ishikawa.
Malga is, hands down, my favorite gelateria in Ishikawa. The original location is in Noto-cho, in what looks like a trailer tucked behind a post office in the middle of some fields. It’s really a treat to enjoy the view and eat outside when the weather is nice. When I lived in the Noto, I used to go there all the time on the weekends, and Anamizu’s Dontaku and Nagomi, a (tiny) gym and onsen sold cups of it. The owner speaks some English and the menu was in Japanese. (I haven’t been to this location for a few years, so let me know if it’s changed.)
The Nonoichi location looks more like a boutique gelateria and is located near other shopping in the area, and the Kanazawa location is attached to Gold Curry in the basement of the Meitetsu M’Za mall. (Hokuriku Kitchen [北陸キッチン] in M’Za has some in the freezer section.)
The year-round flavors are excellent, but I loved trying the seasonal flavors best. You really can’t go wrong with any of them, but I’m particularly fond of the seasonal kinako-and-soy-sauce, mango, beer, hazelnut, and espresso flavors; the standard roasted almond, sesame, kabocha,sea salt (yes, really), and matcha are superb.
My very favorite flavor is rose (April-May seasonal). I mistakenly took a long time to try the chocolate and the strawberry since I prefer “weird” local flavors, and I regret that: the strawberry and chocolate are actually some of the best gelato of those flavors I have ever had in my life—and that’s coming from someone whose favorite childhood sweet was strawberry ice cream. I also like that you get a free sample as “service”: in Noto and Kanazawa you can choose which flavor you’d like as a bonus.
All the milk is locally produced and most of the ingredients are also local: Suzu sea salt, Akasaki strawberries, Noto azuki beans. Malga also makes cheese and yogurt, which is sold at the Noto location, Noto Wine, and other local gourmet shops. Want some for the road? The Noto and Nonoichi locations can pack some for you in dry ice.
What’s your favorite Japanese ice cream flavor?
Price: 330 for a single; 430 for a double
927-0311 Ishikawa-ken, Hôsu-gun, Noto-cho, Mizuho 163-1
Closed Thursday from November to February; no regular holidays from March to October.
Parking available. Unless you live near enough to walk or bike, you’ll need to take a car.
921-8804 Ishikawa-ken Nonochi-shi, Noshiro 1-20
Parking available. From the JR Nonoichi station (野々市駅) on the Hokuriku Line (北陸本線), exit from the south exit (南口) and walk for about 10 minutes; the shop is in a small strip mall across the street from the V-drug.
Hours: 11:00-19:00 (no regular holidays)
From Kanazawa Station, Meitetsu M’Za (めいてつ・エムザ) is a short and easy walk (15 mins) or bus ride (5 mins) to Musashigatsuji (武蔵が辻); parking is available in several nearby pay lots, including M’Za’s own lot behind the building. On the basement floor, look for the bookstore and Gold Curry (gôrudo karê, ゴールドカレー), which are near the exit to Omicho Ichiba. Floor map.