Pedlar’s Inn Gelateria is the first, and perhaps only, authentic Italian gelato shop in the charming colonial district of Galle Fort. It’s connected to the Pedlar’s Inn Hotel which also features a nice art gallery, a jewelry store, and one of the more popular restaurants in town. Apparently, the gelateria arose out of a friendship between the owner of Pedlar’s Inn and German whose family ran a gelato business. After trying the family’s Gelato, the owner invited the young German to bring his talent and his authentic Carpigiani gelato machine to Galle.
It really is a lovely treat to have ice cream in Galle. It’s Sri Lanka so the heat and humidity can get overbearing, especially in the mid-afternoon. There’s no better way to cool off than getting a frosty gelato or milkshake and settling down on one of the shaded benches to watch the people pass by.
The flavors on offer range from classic European flavors like chocolate, hazel nut, and black cherry to fresh topical flavors like mango, pineapple, coconut, and mango. They mix up the menu on a fairly regular basis and have new creations which usually feature fresh local fruits. The prices are more or less what you’d pay for gelato in Europe.
Pedlar’s Inn Gallery is a charming and bohemian art gallery and jewelry shop that’s part of the Pedlar’s Inn complex which also features a cafe, a lovely gelato shop, and a hostel. The gallery features paintings, prints, and photos from mainly local artists, many of which are really quite good, especially the photography. The exhibits change on a fairly regular basis, so if you’re passing by just pop your head in and see what’s being shown.
Inside the Pedlar’s Inn Gallery, there is also a small jewelry shop selling original high-end jewelry to tourists. My wife isn’t very keen on jewelry (yes, I’m the luckiest man on Earth) so we didn’t venture to have a look. Rather, we just hung out on the shady veranda admiring the works on display.
It’s not a major tourist attraction by any means, but it’s a pleasant place to stop by if you’re having a relaxing afternoon just wandering the streets of Galle Fort from cafe to cafe (which, by the way, is not a bad way to spend an afternoon in Galle!).
Heritage Cafe was one of my favorite places in Galle, especially for having a cup of delicious Sri Lankan milk tea while we waited out the brief yet powerful afternoon downpours. The cafe is housed in a lovely colonial building (it apparently used to be the bakery) and has a beautiful interior courtyard with covered and uncovered seating, lots of unbelievably green plants, and an original colonial-era wood-fire oven.
The menu is a mix between Sri Lankan and South Asian cuisine but it also features some Western cafe classics like wraps and club sandwiches. The Heritage Cafe is especially popular for its milkshakes (rumored to be the best in town) and smoothies made with fresh local fruit. For me, I’d suggest just going for a relaxing cup of tea or coffee in the afternoon to enjoy the beautiful colonial courtyard before moving on to one of Galle’s many romantic colonial restaurants for dinner.