The Gelateria del Teatro also does a terrific granita — something that can be even more refreshing than gelato on a hot day
Let’s be clear: gelato is not simply Italian ice cream. As any aficionado will tell you, it’s very different indeed. For starters, there’s less butterfat in gelato, meaning that it freezes less solidly and thus has a smoother texture. And whereas water and air are often cheekily added to ice cream to increase its volume and weight, the same is not true for gelato, so you get a stronger flavour. Finally, gelato is not made for long-term storage. It’s made in small batches, to be eaten fresh.
Not all gelato vendors are artisans, however. So steer clear of places with puffy clouds of gelato, as they are likely using artificial thickeners. Also be wary if the colours are too bright — they might have thrown in some chemical to get those tantalising hues.
Fortunately it is not at all hard to find good gelato in Rome. Ciampini on Piazza San Lorenzo, between the Spanish Steps and the Parthenon, do a divine marron glacés with bits of candied chestnut mixed into their gelato. Combined with the dark chocolate gelato it is sinfully good.
For something a little more refined head to Gelateria del Teatro, not far from Piazza Navona. Excellent natural ingredients and and creative flavours are what make this place. Try the white chocolate and basil or the garden sage and raspberry — they work!
If you want to see the artists at work, then you can try I Caruso, not far from the Termini train station. Here they make their gelato on site, and you can watch them at it. It’s almost as mesmerising as those Lindt adverts with the master chocolatiers and the thick coils of melted chocolate falling from a whisk.
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