Well, in the US, anyway. When I'm in Italy & am about to take my first lick of a spoonful of gelato, I am completely silent...because there are no words. This creamy concoction is heaven on earth. It's a religious experience. No screaming for gelato. But after that first taste...the happy dance can commence!
|A gelateria just down the street from the Piazza della Signoria|
Gelato is basically ice cream, but it has lower butterfat than the ice cream that we are used to consuming in the US. It's lighter in that respect, but it's incredibly dense, creamy and has so much flavor, you'll want to dig a hole in one of the giant mounds of gelato displayed at the gelaterie and take up residence.
|Mountains of gelato! (Note the displayed waffle covered in Nutella...YUM!)|
Then you'll have another decision to make. A cup or a cone? Depending on the gelateria, cones might be made in-house, or they could be bought from a manufacturer. Either way, they're delicious. But sometimes, it's easier (and you'll save yourself a few calories) to get a cup. Both are served with a little plastic spoon.
|My first gelato in Italy. Tiramisu. Pardon the out of focus photo...I wasn't exactly concentrating on my photography skills at the time!|
Italians LOVE their gelato. They love it so much that sometimes they have it for breakfast! True story! You will find gelaterie are open in the mornings, sometimes as early as 7:30am! Some will serve a brioche roll, split open and filled with gelato. That's breakfast, my friend!
Depending on the shop, you may find other treats being sold alongside gelato and sorbetto. Walking down the street you may smell a fabulous scent wafting from a gelateria as you pass by. What is that? Ah! It's a fresh crepe filled with Nutella! It smells and tastes absolutely ah-mazing. Is it a little cold out? Step into a gelateria and order a cioccolatea calda. Italy's version of hot chocolate will make your eyes roll back in your skull. It's not the watery hot chocolate we have here in the US...it's thick. SUPER thick. Like hot pudding thick. On a cold day, it will definitely hit the spot. Other treats to be found are cannoli and waffles...and sometimes pastries, but normally, if you want a pastry, visit a pasticceria (pastry shop) and you won't be disappointed.
Gelato...it's something everyone MUST try once...or twice...or fifteen times while in Italy!