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{take me away № 31 | gelato tasting in italy}

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gelato

As the soft and sweet aroma of freshly baked golden waffle cones drifts from the open doors of a gelateria, one things is for certain, it is sure to stop one right in her tracks and detour for a few moments; stop in to perhaps order a “gelato affogato” [gelato with espresso poured on top], and be on one’s way again . . .

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. . . for there are few pleasures to be found more delectable and refreshing than a heaping scoop of pastel-hued gelato during the summertime.

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Tucked within a crunchy, sweet cone, a scoop or two of decadent gelato lies, and is one of the greatest treats and traditions in Italy — whether you are traveling through incredibly elegant Milan or the rustic countryside and rolling hills of Tuscany, gelato can be found throughout the country, within many, many quaint little gelaterie, and is enjoyed by a great many — young and old, men and women, children, and in some cases, a beloved dog, throughout the day — morning, noon and under the evening stars . . .

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And perhaps only in Italy, as beautiful as the notes of sunshine that linger through the fallen evening, gelato is very much a part of the culture and living — a part of Italy’s fascinating history that lives on today with every scoop that is shared by visitors and locals alike. Whether you favour a dark, classic chocolate or prefer to try something interesting and new, such as “riso e zafferano” [rice and safron] you are sure to find something delightful — a lingering taste of Italy to bring back home with you. And so today, we turn our faces to the sun, and happily invite you to join us for a rather delicious excursion to explore an array of the best and most charming gelato spots in all of Italy . . .

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{gelato’s beginnings & italy}

Gelato’s history dates far, far back to ancient Egypt and Rome, and was originally a frozen dessert of sort, made of snow and ice that had been brought down from the mountains and preserved below ground. It was also said that even before, its earliest beginnings [though not entirely linked in the way of ingredients and processing], frozen desserts originated in China, and were realized as far back as 3000 B.C.

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It was only many, many years later, that frozen desserts truly gained appeal and began appearing at banquets at the Medici court in Florence. And in 1565, Florentine chef Bernado Buontalenti invented ice cream, and shared his newfound recipe and innovative techniques with Catherine de’Medici.

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The recipe was then brought to Paris, and in 1686 the Sicilian fisherman Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli perfected the first ice cream machine. In fact, he opened a café in Paris called Café Procope, which quickly became one of the most celebrated haunts of the literary establishment in France.

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Meanwhile, over in Italy, the art and craft of traditional gelato making was passed on from father to son, improved and perfected right up to the 20th century, when gelato makers began to emigrate, taking their new-found knowledge and craft to the rest of Europe . . .

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{ice cream or gelato?}

The Italians refer to gelato as something sweet that is frozen, and is made with cream, a great deal of milk, a variety of sugars, and flavouring, such as delicious fresh fruit of the season. One of the greatest differences between the two lies within the content — ice cream as we know it tends to be created from a great deal more cream than gelato. Traditional gelato is made with all natural ingredients, fruits and milk, and only contains 5% to 8% butter fat; while ice cream, on the other hand, contains 10% to 15% butter fat. It is also said that gelato has very little air added to the making process, resulting in a velvety, creamy texture, and flavours that are rather rich and full.

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An interesting little fact : it is said that Italy is the only country in the world where the handmade gelato versus industrial one is over 55% — all the more reason to take a trip and enjoy the wondrous tastes of gelato first-hand . . .

{a few helpful hints & tips}

* according to experts, the best gelato has no artificial flavouring and/or colour, and the colours of the gelato should be like the ingredient — for instance, a very soft yellow, not bright, for banana
* many places ask how many flavours you would like to order, rather than number of scoops
* if you see large mountains of gelato in bins — perhaps select another gelateria — the flavours are most likely not fresh, especially when entering the bottom of the bin
* the very best gelaterie make fresh gelato on a regular basis [and some, every two hours]
* the best gelato is often found in metal countainers, not plastic — a sign of gelato that may be mass-produced and purchased off-site
* many places request that you pay for your gelato before ordering — be sure to observe when you enter the establishment
* while trying gelato in Sicily, you will likely find that it is most often served within a brioche bun
* if you see pre-printed flavour labels on the gelato containers, you will know that the gelato has been made from a mix or delivered [not the best]
* you may ask those working in the gelateria as to which flavours work well together — they often know best!
* often, you may ask to sample flavours if you are not sure which you would prefer
* if you see a sign reading “fatta in casa” that means “made in house” — a good sign!

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{the language of gelato}

And just for fun, if you are feeling most especially Italian during your visit, perhaps try a few phrases while ordering a scoop or two:

* cono [koh-noh] : cone
* coppa [koh-pah] : cup
* gusti [goo-stee] : flavours
* con panna [con-panna] : with cream
* prego [preh-goh] : please
* grazie [gra-zee] : thank you

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. . . and a few popular flavours to make note of:

* mandarino [mahn-dah-ree-noh] : mandarin orange
* fragola [frah-go-lah] : strawberry
* lampone [lahm-poh-nay] : raspberry
* melone [meh-loh-nay] : melon
* pistacchio [pee-stahk-yoh] : pistachio
* mandorla [mahn-door-lah] : almond
* nocciola [noh-choo-lah] : hazelnut
* cioccolato fondente [cho-koh-lAH-toh fawn-den-teh] : dark chocolate
* cioccolato al latte [cho-koh-lah-toh ahl lah-tay] : milk chocolate
* cocco [koh-koh] : coconut
* caffè [kah-fay] : coffee
* gelato affogato [affo-gato] : gelato with espresso poured on top

An interesting little fact : gelato shops in Italy are called “gelaterie”, and “gelato” means frozen

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SOME OF THE VERY BEST GELATO SHOPS IN ITALY | a selection

01 | Gelateria La Romana, Italy

A beautiful selection of incredibly fresh and delicious gelato [made on site] can be found within this gem — in fact, the gelato is never, ever prepared for longer than two hours before serving to customers. There are a number of shops throughout Italy, so you won’t miss this lovely place no matter where you intend to travel.


02 | Grom, Torino

Quite a famous stop in Torino, [often there are line ups out the door], award-winning Grom has built a strong reputation [and is highly recommended by the New York Times] for their high quality artisanal gelato, thanks to a number of factors, but most especially due to the top quality raw materials — the foundation for creating the gelato. “ What makes us happy?” they ask. “A child smiling while eating a Grom’s gelato.”


03 | Vivoli, Florence

Considered the eldest of gelaterie in all of Florence, [and some say the very best in Italy], this elegant spot calls many tourists and locals alike to gather on a bright Sunday afternoon for a visit, and throughout the week for that matter. Fresh ingredients are key, and warm service can be expected upon visiting.

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04 | Gelateria di Piazza, Siena

One of most iconic hot spots in Italy, this is highly recommended gelateria to visit, particularly for those who adore chocolate, for they have won the award for the best chocolate gelato in the country. Frequented by celebrities, chefs, locals and vacationers alike, from across the globe, they proudly state that they offer “quality that makes the difference”. Furthermore, master of gelato, Sergio, has created a number of wonderful flavours that have now become quite famous throughout the world, yet originate from this lovely gem.


05 | Carabé, Florence

No industrial gelato here! “With modern industry you see perfect gelati. Not mine. My gelato is alive. Imperfection, strength and quality, these are the elements that matter—that make healthy products.” —Antonio Lisciandro, quoted in the New York Times Style Magazine

Owner Antonio has been described as a “walking encyclopedia of gelato” — having learned the secrets through generations of family in the business of gelato. According to customers, his enthusiasm can be tasted in the quality and beauty of the gelato that they serve. One can expect fresh gelato without preservatives, and an abundance of flavours that might just call a second visit.

{p.s} visit their website and discover a little treat for your first visit to either one of their two establishments!

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06 | Riva Reno, Italy

With multiple locations throughout Italy, this popular and chic choice has been given a five-star rating by travel guides. Raved about is the fact that “you can feel the ingredients” while enjoying the velvety texture and intense flavors. And, amoungst their many awards is the Best Gelateria in Italy, awarded by Golosaria Magazine with more glowing reviews in Gambero Rosso, the Lonely Planet and the Michelin Guide.


07 | Fatamorgana, Rome

Their philosophy is quite simple: “no dyes, genuineness of products, deep knowledge of the raw materials used, ongoing commitment, and gluten free . . . everything!” Considered a fine atelier in frozen desserts, quality, handmade gelato is at the core of their business. Be sure to visit their fresh and lovely site for more information about their Roma locations, flavours and to view enticing photographs of their gelato!


08 | La Boutique del Gelato, Verona & Venice

Considered to be one of the top places for the most prime gelato in both Verona and in Venice, this highly spoken of boutique offers a small but wonderful selection of gelato in their warm shop. Some say they have never tasted better!

buon appetito!

Sarah

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p r e v i o u s l y :

* take me away № 01 | perfectly packed
* take me away № 02 | luggage to last a lifetime
* take me away № 03 | tips for buying luggage
* take me away № 04 | vintage & antique luggage
* take me away № 05 | the travel file
* take me away № 06 | an equestrian escape
* take me away № 07 | la maison du chocolat
* take me away № 08 | holiday etiquette
* take me away № 09 | st. petersburg, russia
* take me away № 10 | holiday etiquette, part two
* take me away № 11 | travel by train
* take me away № 12 | venice, italy
* take me away № 13 | a wintry escape
* take me away № 14 | the magic of winter gardens
* take me away № 15 | bora bora
* take me away № 16 | valentine’s inspiration for a romantic getaway
* take me away № 17 | the most beautiful rose gardens around the world
* take me away № 18 | a glamorous guide to champagne
* take me away № 19 | barcelona, spain
* take me away № 20 | a tour of a few of the best millinery studios around the world
* take me away № 21 | city guides № 1 : paris
* take me away № 22 | what to pack for paris
* take me away № 23 | dublin, ireland
* take me away № 24 | hong kong, china
* take me away № 25 | the enchanting world of lace
* take me away № 26 | the cherry blossoms of tokyo
* take me away № 27 | mykonos, greece
* take me away № 28 | the lavender fields of provence
* take me away № 29 | city guides № 03 : london, england
* take me away № 30 | sail away with me

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Sarah Klassen
Contributor, Vancouver

Even as a girl, Sarah spent hours curled up in her home library, exploring enchanting tales, lands to be discovered and explored, intriguing stories, and timeless beauty. What resulted is a lifelong passion for love and authenticity, delightful simplicity and beautiful moments. Educated in design, marketing and English, Sarah’s keen eye and aesthetic allow her to immerse beauty and heartfelt passion into both her personal and professional projects.
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