Gelato in Italy is a no-brainer, right? Get off the plane, drop your bags, and head out searching for that first cone. But like all else in Italy's tourist triad (Rome/Florence/Venice) sorting out the best from the tourist-aimed drudge takes some planning.
As a food writer in Italy, I get a lot of gelato questions. The most frequent being: "What's the difference between gelato and ice cream?" The easy answer is that gelato is simply the Italian word for ice cream. But why gelato tastes so much better and different is another story.
According to sweets authority David Lebovitz, who I trust when it comes to all things ice cream, the machines used in gelato-making move much more slowly and so incorporate much less air into the finished scoop. The result is a denser, thicker and smoother feeling frozen treat.
But when it comes to making top-notch artisanal gelato, the machine is only half the equation. Ingredients, of course, are key. No pre-mixed bases please. Real milk, organic eggs, seasonal fruit and nuts—these are musts.
Almost daily I receive an email from someone asking for Rome gelato advice. You'll be happy to know that Rome is currently undergoing a bit of a gelato renaissance.
While most tourists, and even Italians, used to content themselves with the classics like Giolitti and Fassi (which are still pretty good by the way) a new generation of gelatai are taking things up a level.
Sourcing out not just fresh pistachios, but only pistachios from the Sicilian town of Bronte. And not just any organic eggs, but eggs lovingly raised by egg-meister Paolo Parisi in Tuscany. The result is gelato heaven, and more flavors that you can hope to eat on one trip to Rome. Which is just one more reason to move here, right?
About the author: Elizabeth Minchilli writes about all sorts of good stuff from Rome. You can follow her adventures on her own blog Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome. She's the author of two apps: Eat Rome and Eat Florence and six books. Follow her on Twitter: @eminchilli.