This is part 1 of my series on the 9 days Rhys and I spent in travelling on the cheap in Italy across Naples and Rome- you can read about the whole trip here:
Rhys and I arrived back from our holiday in Rome and Naples yesterday afternoon. And do I have some blog posts lined up for you! However, I thought I would start of with one of the most important parts of being in Italy: eating Gelato.
Gelaterias (stores that sell gelato) are absolutely everywhere in Italy, on every street corner. But unlike a Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds, there are hardly any gelato chains: each gelateria tends to make their own gelato, and provide the flavours they like (although these tend to follow a delicious trend). And gelato for some reason is the best ice cream in the world- even better than TipTop, Ben and Jerries, or any other ice cream around.
So naturally, we conducted a nice science experiment which involved eating gelato at least once a day. You need a good sampling size to be sure, right? After sampling gelato at least once a day, Rhys and I were trying to figure out what made gelato so much better than anything else. My tentative idea is this (although I may have to go back to Italy and try a few more samples...):
Gelato is freshly made at each gelateria every day or so. This means that unlike a supermarket brand, there is no need for any weird gelatin, preservatives, or weird chemical replacements. Most of the places we went to even advertised that their gelato only included a few basic ingredients. Since the gelato is made fresh, it is very soft, and perfect for licking up on a cone. No rock solid scoops of dairy-free ice cream here!
The second reason that makes gelato just the best is the flavours. Most of the flavours are fruit, nut, or vanilla or chocolate. There are no lolly candy flavours, or ridiculous look-how-much-sugar-we-fit-in flavours, or even neon colours.
Rhys and I were lucky enough to have a Lonely Planet guidebook while we were in Rome which led is to Rome's top gelateria. This gelateria is so good that Pope John Paul II used to personally have his favourite flavour delivered to his summer palace each day. Not a bad deal! The shop enjoyed a smashing business - even when we went at 10am there was a line for ice cream.
flavours sampled include:
coconut, grapefruit, mango, lemon, melon, fruits of the forest, strawberry chocolate, vanilla, cream, tiramisu, hazelnut, amaretto, baileys whisky....and possibly a few others!
Most of them came in combinations of 3...I won for the worst flavour combination due to a small translation error: amaretto, grapefruit, and chocolate. Fail. Luckily I just ate one flavour at a time, so it wasn't as tragic as it could have been.
|the pope's favourite?|
|my favourite photo of our favourite gelateria: by accident I snapped a photo of a photo being taken. Sweet poses, strangers!|