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Ice Cream: Italian Style

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May 31, 2014 / Ice Cream / By
Nicola

Visit Italy, and you won't be able to leave your hotel without passing a gelaterie or two while you're out. Gelateries are just shops selling nothing but gelato (ice cream) - a brilliant idea, but one which we're not used to in countries with cooler climes.

Gelateries usually sell ice creams in small round cardboard tubs, which you eat using a small plastic spoon. However, sometimes they do offer cones, although these are usually a lot messier!

One variation which I have come across in several gelateries in Italy, is the option of having ice cream with waffles. These shops make beautiful thick, syrupy, sweet waffles, which you can smell cooking from the end of the street. Two of these are placed together, with gelato sandwiched in between. Of course, as the waffles are warm, the ice cream melts, filling the craters in the waffle, and running down to your elbows in the process! It's messy, it's sticky, but it's oh, so delicious. Italian gelato melted between two warm, sweet waffles is pretty much the nearest thing you can get to heaven on Earth!

We've all tried ice cream, but nobody makes it like the Italians. The same goes for their pizza - you just don't know what you're missing until you've tried it. It's thick and creamy, much more so than any other ice cream that I've tried anywhere else in the world. Trust me, I've tried a lot! Italian gelato isn't watery in the slightest, but it's packed with flavour.

Where do I begin with the flavours? There are more gelato flavours than you can think of. There are some of the old, traditional favourites, such as vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, but there are so many more different varieties. Fruity flavours like melon or passionfruit are sensational in hot weather or after a big meal, as they are very light. In flavour, they're more like sorbets, but in texture, they're ice creams: the best of both worlds. Then there are other variations, like coffee, pistachio, cookies and cream, and more. You name it, you'll find it! During the summer months, some gelateries also offer frozen yoghurts, which are just a whole other level of thick, creamy, fruity goodness in themselves. If you have the opportunity to try some Italian frozen yoghurt, don't turn it down.

One of the best things about Italian gelateries selling gelato in small cups is that it's just enough to give you a taste of each flavour, but small enough that you can keep going back time and time again. The small portion sizes mean that they're cheap, each pot only costing you a few Euros at most. Cheap and delicious - what more could you want?

Gelato is one of the best things to come out of Italy. No-one else in the world makes ice cream like the Italians; they surpass themselves in terms of quality, texture and taste. Italian gelato has to be one of the things on your list of top things to try before you die. Nothing quite beats sitting under a starry Italian sky beside a still-buzzing popular landmark, still feeling the heat of the day's sun on your skin, with cold, creamy gelato on your tongue!

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Country: Italy

Province/State: Toscana

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Price Guide:$ (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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