Oooh Gelato, I love you…
Alright I’ll come clean… I love gelato. Or maybe I should say “I love eating gelato in Italy.” The ritual of going on an evening stroll along one of the shop lined via’s is one of my favorite ways to wind up the day. Gelato is also a great way to deal with the mid day heat. Oh sure, you may think that’s just a quick way to pack on the pounds but truth be told, after all the walking we do sightseeing, we have yet to gain weight. Now if we could only keep it up at home we’d be doing great.
The Gelatoria’s use a variety of ways to grab your attention so that you’ll stop in to buy cup or cone of this delicious creamy treat.
The easiest way snare customers is to plop a large colorful fiberglass sculpture of gelato in front of your shop. Next, wait for travellers like me to stop in and shell out a couple Euro’s for a taste. This technique always works on me.
If you build it … we will come… to taste your gelato that is.
Another effective way to attract the ice cream crazy traveller is to build a shop and dress it up with neon signage and colorful ceiling tiles. This is the snare that the Festival Del Gelato used on me. A 30 foot long display case filled with multiple flavors of the tasty treat sealed the deal.
The Hill Town of San Gimignano has an especially clever way of maximizing gelato consumption.
This city of towers has 2 competing gelateria shops within feet of one another. Gelateria dell’ Olmo has claimed it has “The Best ice cream in the world.” I’m not sure who gave them that title so you may have to take that with a grain of salt.
The second shop, Gelateria Dondoli has won the the Gelato World Championships from 2006 to 2009 therefore, they also lay claim to be number one. This fact gives them the edge in the creds department I would think.
What makes this rivalry such a clever one is, how can you judge who is best without trying them both? You can’t! You need to try both of them. As I see it, it’s a win win scenario. The Gelateria’s get their customers and we get to savor two cups of gelato guilt free.
Now you probably are wondering which shop I chose as being the best in Piazza della Cisterna. They both were awesome for me so you’ll just have to go there and decide for yourselves!
The lure of the refrigerated display case!
Clever colorful signage can grab your attention however, it’s the display cases that seal the deal. The curved glass fronts of the case is all that stands in the way of you and happiness. That and money! If you look close you can probably see my niece’s hands and nose prints on the glass that protects the goods.
Some believe that gelato which is stacked high is not as good as the smaller batches. It is said that the larger the batch, the less fresh it will be. This position states that high stacks need to be stored for a longer time as they can’t sell it all during a business day. Small batches are made fresh daily resulting in a fresher taste experience. I can agree with this view for the most part, however, you also have to take into account how busy the shop selling it is. In Siena, (the above vendor) had hands down, the highest stacks of the delicious treat we have come across.
Located just outside the Piazza del Campo, this gelateria sees high volumes of people who are all just waiting to enjoy their own portion of the deliciously crafted ice cream. I believe that the shear volume of patrons dictates the need for the high stack in some cases.
In the end it’s the taste that will win you over when it comes to gelato
The great thing about gelato is that it comes in so many flavors that will tempt your taste buds. Personally, I always go for the sour cherry (Amarena) while Tammy prefers the taste of the real vanilla bean blend. Close seconds are strawberry, pistachio, lemon, mint, melon… you see where I’m going with this. Check out this great link to Gelato Flavors. It will make your mouth water!