With tummies full (and ice cold), I’ve returned from Rome and Florence with a college bestie who came to visit me in London. Why ice cold? Well, near certain we consumed our weight in gelato.
A quick rundown of Rome – yes, the Pantheon is breathtaking, make sure to sneak into the churches (you might just spot a Caravaggio) and go to Tazza d’Oro for one of the cheapest cappuccino and cornetto combo’s in all of Italia. And with that being said…
…time for the detailed gelato analysis.
When in Rome (screech at the joke), sample as many Italian gelaterias as possible! Gelato is a lighter version of ice cream made with milk instead of cream so the flavors really shine through. While I love a simple vanilla or strawberry flavor, do as the romans do and try out the traditional Italian flavors. Here’s a run down of our favorite local flavors:
Nocciola – what famous Italian brand does this gelato flavor sound like? You got it–Nutella! However, this flavor is straight-up hazelnut. I’ve eaten plenty of Nutella in my life, but alas not enough pure hazelnut flavor. Absolutely delicious! This flavor can be found at most gelaterias.
Bacio – now this is essentially Nutella in a cone. Bacio translates to ‘kiss’ but is typically chocolate and hazelnut mixed together (New business idea: Bacio Lip Balm!) Often there’s another version that is much thicker and denser, as if they reduced the milk content.
Crema Florentina (Cremino) – while this flavor was more common in Florence than Rome, I ordered it in both cities. My favorite was during much needed sugar rush before climbing to the top of Piazza Michaelangelo for some of the best views of The Duomo. They love their hazelnut complemented with…pretty much anything, so this is a white chocolate and hazelnut fusion.
Salted Peanut – Craving something nutty but not a fan of hazelnut? The (don’t remember Italian word) is essentially a peanut butter ice cream but a little lighter. We had an excellent sample at Gelateria La Carraia overlooking the Ponte Vecchio in Florence–and at 1 EUR, cheapest we found!
Stracciatella – got a nut allergy? This classic flavor is similar to chocolate chip ice cream, except the chocolate is shredded (‘stracciare’) up. This was the perfect introduction to Rome, tasted at one of the biggest, best, and most lavishly decorated pasticcerias/gelaterias in Rome–Giolitti.
Frigidarium – this bonus flavor isn’t a common scoop in Italy, but can be found at one of the best gelaterias in Rome, appropriately titled Frigidarium. Many gelaterias offer a house specialty flavor, and this one in particular caught my eye. Caramel and chocolate combo with crunchy chocolate cookie pieces folded in, and topped off with a star-shaped decorated cookie!