Roman Food: Gelato
Ahh, gelato. Creamy, Italian ice cream. Versions of it have been around at least since Roman times, when winter snow was taken from mounts Etna and Vesuvius, compressed, mixed with other ingredients and served to over-heated emporers and others. It’s mentioned in the bible, and even Sicilian ‘sorbetto’ derives from the Arabic ‘scherbet’ (sweet snow) because one of Muhammad’s entourage figured out a way to freeze fruit juice and mix it into containers filled with ice. Which was a very good thing, because after the fall of the Roman empire flavored ices disappeared in the west and were only re-introduced later. Just don’t tell any Sicilian that his or her fantastic ices and ice creams were first invented by a Muslim Arab. Unless you want some melting gelato staining your shirt.
In case you can’t make a side trip to Sicily to taste the real thing, (there really is no comparing Sicilian grantite (ices) and gelato to anyone else’s. They were the first- the first real ice-cream machine was made in his spare time by a fisherman near Palermo- and they still have the best,) a couple of good choices for a delicious pause as you wander along the streets after dinner are San Crispino, (in two locations, one near the Trevi fountain and the other near the Pantheon,) and the Gelateria del Teatro,( in a small alley not far from Piazza Navona.) At San Crispino try their signature ‘San Crispino’ ice cream or the fig sorbets they make from the end of August through September. Gelateria del Teatro creatively varies it’s flavors, but their coffee, pistachio and chocolate ice creams are always excellent. Order a cone – they might seem small at first but again, here it’s more about flavor than quantity – topped with a little fresh whipped cream (it’s the fresh stuff. As yet you can’t find non-dairy ready-whip here,) and slowly savor it as you stroll your way though the Roman evening.
During the day Ciampini (see earlier post) has great stuff, but they close at 8. If it’s really, really hot and you want something even colder, there are grattachecchi – flavored, grated ice – stands lining the Tiber, but that’s a subject for another post.
link- roman ice cream parlors: https://www.romeing.it/rome-best-of-gelateria-guide/