Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gelato - Let's Talk About It


When I first arrived in Italy, I knew the term gelato, but had no idea what it was or what it meant. I just assumed that it was what the Italians called ice cream. After all, I’m pretty sure I had seen some shops back in the States advertising gelato. Rita’s, I think, calls whatever they sell gelato. However, after spending some time here, I now realize that not only is Italian gelato absolutely exquisite, but it cannot be compared to anything we have in the U.S. I’m still not sure how the Italians came up with such an amazing product. Perhaps years ago, their engineers, who should have been out designing a rail system that actually worked, instead were busy creating gelato. That would actually explain a lot of different things. Whatever the case, my hat goes off to them, because this stuff is absolutely delicious.

On any given day in Italy, on any street, you will ALWAYS be able to find the following three things: A gelateria, people eating gelato, and trashcans overflowing with empty gelato cups. Each store sells anywhere from 10 to 30 different flavors of gelato, with some of the staples being chocolate, vanilla, pistachio, banana, melon, tiramisu, coffee, mint, pineapple, and other fruit flavors. Most gelaterias, however, have one or two flavors that are somewhat unique that you may not be able to find anywhere else – things like buttercream, blackcurrent, or chocolate cake.

The gelato itself is made with less cream than our ice cream, which for some reason allows more of the natural flavors to come through. There are no artificial flavorings, and everything is made daily or every few days. If they’re making melon (my personal favorite), they’ll throw an entire cantaloupe or two into the batch. For chocolate, cups of raw cocoa or shaved milk chocolate go into the mix. Thus, you can always find bits and pieces of fruit or whatever in the gelato. After the purchase, it’s eaten with a little tiny spoon, which is more like a plastic popsicle stick. And it melts much faster than regular ice cream, so if you get a cone, make sure you start suckin it down fast, or else your hands will soon be covered in a rainbow mess of sticky delicious goodness. Yeah, so anyway, I guess my point is that gelato is delicious, and everyone should come to Italy and try it. I have no idea why we don’t have it in the States yet – if I could figure out the secret behind gelato, I could make millions.

1 comment:

MOM said...

Hey Brandon...OK I've decided what I want for my souvenir...it's a gelato. Do ya think you could figue a way to get one back? They sound delicious. Hope your stay in Italy is going well, sounds like you had a bumpy time getting there. Hopefully it holds alot for which you will be thankful you finally got there. What a change from where you just left. Each country seems to have its own something for which they're known for and it seems like Italy's is some nice refreshing gelato. Nice talking to you yesterday and I hope the little thing we put together for you brings a smile to you..just a little message from home. Till your next blog..stay safe..love you, mom