Tuesday, September 6, 2016

An Ode to Gelato

I'll be honest.  What is the difference between gelato and ice cream?  At the end of the day I have no idea.  Milk, cream, yada yada yada.... bottom line is they are both delightfully delicious.  And in hot hot hot Europe in July gelato was pretty much mana from heaven.

But there is a very important lesson to be learned in order to become a true connoisseur of gelato.  All gelato is not created equal.  And good gelato is worth it's weight in gold.  Bad gelato..... you can't complain, it's still a cold sweet treat.... but sometimes it's pretty terrible and very disappointing.

The ways to spot good gelato:

1. No nasty heaps or mounds of gelato.  (Even if they look good, heaps or mounds means it is artificial and cheap)

2. Natural looking colors.

3. A line out the door is always a good sign.

So gelato was a huge part of our life almost every single day in Italy especially.  Funny fact that I'll talk about again when I talk about all the food of Europe.  But funny fact all the same: we ALL lost weight in Europe.  So obviously eating gelato once, twice, three times a day is the best thing to do if you want to shed some pounds. :)  It was fun to see each family members gelato preferences.  My dad always got  some type of fruit, Chad loved the mint, Maddie loved the chocolate, Nick loved coconut, and Jason.... he was always the wild card.
This was our first night in Florence.
My dad with his strawberry, mom with peach, and me with hazelnut.
This gelato place was right by our apartment but we later learned it wasn't that great of gelato.

Us in Rome.  Not very good gelato but dude it was hot.  So it was amazing.  
Here's Chad buying his 3rd mint gelato of the day...

So I figured I should make a top ten most delicious flavors of gelato I had in my time throughout Europe.  Some are pictured, some aren't.  Because you kinda feel ridiculous taking pictures of every single cone of gelato.

My go to that isn't even on the list was hazelnut.  For me, hazelnut was the safe bet.  I was never disappointed with it.  But of course I wanted to try and venture out and see what else the world of gelato had to offer.

10. Pistachio in Monterosso al Mare, Italy.  (You can tell this is good pistachio gelato because it is an ugly green brown color which means it natural.  Fake pistachio is a bright beautiful green)

9. Ricotta - I loved ricotta because it was kind of like cheesecake.  Not super sweet but a delicious hint of cheese.  I got ricotta whenever it was available.

8. Peach  - Whenever I saw peach that looked like it had actual chunks of fresh peaches I would get it.  One of the best peach flavors we got was on a side street in Florence by the Duomo.

7. Milk.  Yes, plane milk was one of my favorite flavors.  It was very simple and sweet.  I would always get it with a fruit flavor if milk was available.  This picture is milk with lemon in Vernazza, Italy.

6. Lemon Basil in Genova, Italy.  I saw plain basil offered a few times and I didn't dare get it.  So when I saw a lemon basil flavor I jumped all over it.

5. Sicilian Citrus by the David Museum in Florence.  This flavor was amazing.  I had it multiple times.  It had the zest of lemon, limes, and other citrus mixed in for a power house of flavor!

4. So number 4 is a bit confusing... you see, often times the flavors were in Italian so you were just guessing based off the color.  So Jason got a flavor once that was absolutely delicious!  It had cherries in it.  So any time we saw an "A" word Jason always got it.  Sometimes it was fabulous and sometimes it was just alright.  Now that I have researched it a little, it makes a lot more sense.  Sometimes it was Amarena flavored - which is a bitter cherry grown in Tuscany and sometimes it was Amaretto black cherry.... a delicious alcohol flavor.  Either way they were both delicious.  This picture was in Prague.  Jason got Amerena or Amaretto (we don't know which because Czech was even harder to translate) and it looks like I got milk and blood orange.

3. Rosemary Peach and Honey in Corniglia, Italy.  So our homeboy Rick Steves told us about an AMAZING gelato ship in one of the Cinque Terres.  We searched it out and sure enough the gelato was unreal.
2. Ginger mint and Fig  - Over the River in Florence.  We randomly stopped at this cute trendy gelato shop one night after watching the sunset at Michelangelo's Piazza.  I wish I had a picture because man was it delicious.

1. Lavender  - on a side street of the Duomo

The best gelato I had was the night before we left Florence.  My dad had discovered the most delicious natural gelato shop the day before so we had to return.  The flavor I got was lavender.... and I will dream of that cone of gelato for the rest of my life.  Sounds dramatic I know.  But man oh man it was delicious.

You know I love my baby because I shared!!!
I had two gelato flavors that were pretty bad news.  Pink Grapefruit - I blame it on the fact that grapefruit weren't in season.  It was terrible.  Tasted like the biter white part of a grapefruit.  And sadly Tiramisu was pretty bad too.  It didn't taste anything like it.

The flavor that I am super bummed I never tried... probably because I didn't know what cinnamon translated into in Italian so I didn't ever see it.  But I hear cinnamon is killer.

Now if only I could have a cone of gelato right now................

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