Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hey! Ho! Gelato!

When in Italy, one of the first foods to try is gelato. Not only is it a staple in the Italian diet (no, I'm not kidding. People actually go for their "camminare" (walk) after dinner to get gelato in order to help with digestion. And although one may think that gelato is just the Italian word for ice cream, one would be wrong... gelato is actually healthier (and, in this blogger's opinion, better!) Gelato has a lower fat content and a lower sugar content than ice cream.

I personally can't get enough of the stuff. I think it's smooth, light, full of taste, and extremely delicious.

And so, I've compiled a list of my favorite gelato places in the city of Rome that I've been fortunate enough to try at this point. I'm sure there is an endless list of amazing gelato places here in Rome... but if I were to attempt to hit every single one before I left the city, I would be forced to do nothing except eat, sleep and breathe gelato (hmmm.... maybe this doesn't sound like such a bad idea....)

Located right by the Argentina 8 tram stop, this gelateria is "artigianale," meaning it's all made with real ingredients instead of artificial ingrediants. With flavors like "Frappe" (a fried dough with powdered suger), "Biscotti Rum," and "Dolci di Leche" it has some pretty unique gelati. I highly recommend trying it right when you get off the 8 Tram. It's quite delicious, they pile it on, and they even include a shortbread cookie!

Checco er Carettiere
Not only a Gelateria, but also a delicious pasticceria and restaurant located on Via Benedetta in Trastevere, right off the Tiber River, this little place is by far the best place to satisfy a chocolate craving. Not only are their pastries, hot chocolate, and cakes very good, but their Nutella gelato is out of this world. Mix it with their fresh (and made with real) Banana gelato and you've got yourself a party in your mouth. Trust me. I have yet to have a better Nutella/Banana gelato in the 5 weeks I've been here.

Fior di Luna
My first gelato in Rome on my third night in the city (sadly, it took me three nights to have my first gelato. If you're even in Rome... or Italy... don't let this happen to you). Located on Via della Lungoretta Their gelato is packed with flavor and made with fresh, in season, and organic ingrediants, so don't expect Fragola (strawberry) in the winter months. However try the pistachio and chocolate... it won't let you down.

How about a heaping helping of gelato after a long morning walking around the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and Pantheon? Head to the back streets the Pantheon and you'll be greeted with the huge lettering of this gelateria, found on Via Uffici del Vicario, that was featured in the famous movie Roman Holiday. Not only is it famous for the movie, but its gelato lives up to the hype. After paying at the front register, head to the back to squeeze your way through the crowds to the counter to ask for a variety of flavors. After picking not one, not two, but three flavors, you'll also be asked "con panna?" ("Whipping cream?") Obviously, the only answer is yes, after which you can elbow your way back out into the streets to enjoy your treat... that is... if you can avoid the tempting other sweets the shop has to offer.

Old Bridge Gelateria
Spending any amount of time in Rome and not going to Old Bridge to get gelato should be a crime (or a sin, I suppose, for it's location near to the Vatican and St. Peter's). It's claim to fame is being the oldest gelateria in the city, and it's located on Via Bastioni di Michelangelo. Their fruit flavors are, almost literally, to die for. Try the arancia and ricotta canella (orange and cinnimon ricotta) and you won't be disappointed. I was so surprised by how incredible the ricotta canella was the first time I had it, that I literally went back immediately and ordered more. Not to mention, the servers behind the counter are some of the kindest I've experienced here in Rome--they're fun, jovial and always willing to listen to you botch Italian as you try to order like a local.

Romagnani Cafe
Last but not least, I've included my neighborhood gelateria--Romagnani. Hard to miss thanks to its huge pink neon-lettering, located on the corner of Via di Monteverde and Via della Donna Olympia, this little cafe has quite tasty gelato. Certainly not the best in the city, but the best in my neighborhood, for sure. Sitting at the outdoor tables, enjoying a cappuccino and gelato--typically their crema and fiordilatte--is a great way to ease my stress after my class days. Obviously out of the way for the typical tourist visiting Rome for only a few days, it's worth checking out if you live here for several months in the residential area of Monteverde.

Have you ever been to Rome? If so, what's your favorite gelato place? Or do you have a place near your home that serves gelato?

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