In Italy, I tried to eat gelato on average every day. (For nearly every day I missed, I had another day where I had a double helping!) That being said, here were my favorites from four weeks in nine cities:
- Along with blood oranges and mozzarella di bufala, what I will miss most about Italy is their chocolate gelato. In America, chocolate ice cream tastes like chocolate ice cream, not like chocolate. It is tasty, but very different from what the Italians do, nay, accomplish: An explosion of flavor, like a concentrated form of a fine artisan’s chocolate. And the sensation grows with each bite! It burrows itself in your very being!!! You feel like you are walking on chocolate, people!!!!! My favorite place for chocolate gelato was Rome's Il Gelato di Claudio Torcé(pictured), located at the south end of Metro line B. This gelateria has 100 flavors to choose from and at least 20 are different varities of chocolate gelato. I went with the darkest ones they had, which were practically black: Pura Madagascar, Pura Araguani and Pura Trinitario. On a non-chocolate note, I would also recommend Pera e Cannella (Pear and Cinnamon).
- My favorite combination of flavors was amarena (cherries in sweet cream) with mirtillo (blueberry) sorbet on top. I was witness to this holy union thanks to what might have been the least flashy place in Venice, a small place called Edy Bar near Campo San Zulian. This was the only instance in my trip when I finished my cup and immediately re-ordered the same thing.
- Arancia rossa (“Red orange”) or, as we call it in the states, blood orange, a name that may not be appetizing but is at least grammatically satisfying. For the ever-presence of this fruit in Italy, surprisingly few gelaterias offered the flavor. If you see it, like I did at Rome’s Giolitti, buy it. For those not in Italy, Ciao Bella makes pints of blood orange sorbet that will quickly remove your socks with the power of its flavor.
Next time: Tips for ordering gelato!