If you’ve never tried gelato, you must on your trip to Italy.
Il gelato translates roughly as ice-cream, but it’s not the same. Ice cream in America has a hard, thick texture, whereas gelato is creamy and soft. American ice cream is made with milk and/or cream where as gelato is a type of frozen custard. The differences are unmistakable as are the tastes.
Gelato is probably, hands down, my favorite Italian dessert besides panna cotta, cannoli, and tiramisu. You’ll find most Italians prefer a cone (un cono) to a cup (una coppa or una coppetta), both of which come in various sizes. Gelato, despite its soft texture and apparent lightness, can fill you up fast. You’ll find gelato at a gelateria. Some gelaterias serve other desserts, such as cookies, cakes and other Italian treats as well as espresso and other light refreshments.
In Rome, one of my favorite gelaterias is San Crispino’s. They have a few locations around Rome, but my favorite location is near the Trevi Fountain, Via Della Panetteria 42 (it’s closed Tuesdays in the autumn and winter). Their web site lists their other locations and hours.
The location near the Trevi Fountain is open until 12:30am weekdays (except Tuesday) and 1:30am on Fridays and Saturdays. Gelatos are great to have after a meal while you partake in your own stroll or passeggiata through the streets of Rome. There’s no sprinkles or jimmies and the usually topping is unsweetened whipped creme over the top. I don’t particularly like the creme which I think detracts from the gelato, but you’ll see most Romans and Italians enjoying their gelato with a dollop of creme on top.
The price of a gelato is pretty reasonable, too, and a great way to cap off a wonderful evening and relax after a hard day of sightseeing or shopping.
Finally, if you know of other gelato shops in and around Rome, leave a comment on the blog!