The real difference between ice cream and gelato

It has been a really long time since I’ve written…but I was travelling to see my friends in parts of Europe. This benefits you because I had some DELICIOUS food that I’ll tell you all about in the upcoming blogs. So, it was all for your own good.

I went to visit a friend in Verona, which was especially exciting for me because the most time I’ve spent in Italy was a few hours in Venice before I flew home from inter-railing. It was very hot and it seemed full of stuck-up cafés who would not let us in to have a drink.

Verona is absolutely beautiful. Marigold and terracotta-coloured houses, a winding green river and lush views with trees galore, I felt like I was stepping into the past, which was probably helped by seeing ‘Via Capello’ and Juliet’s window. I even managed to touch Juliet’s left boob which is, apparently, going to give me luck in love. Actually since I’ve been home my dog seems to like me more so we’ll see what else the fondle brings me.

The food was both as expected and beyond my wildest dreams. This post is going to concentrate on The Best Gelato I Have Ever Eaten. Note that I say gelato and not ice cream. This is a very clear distinction to make: people often say in a low voice that gelato is the same thing as ice cream, a statement that I am going to break down and grind it into dust. Granted, the equivalent of the Italian word “gelato” is “ice-cream” which could confuse the situation. But they are different! I remember reading an article about this in the Sunday Times Magazine which said that gelato is softer than ice cream, and is in between sorbet and ice cream because it has a slightly more dewy texture. I believe gelato is served at a warmer texture which gives it its melty dreaminess.

Daniella and I decided to go to a gelateria called La Romana because she’d heard magical things about this place. The gelato was not visible, hid away in stainless steel tubs, so I asked to try the cream of hazelnut and white chocolate flavour before committing. I was unsure about the white chocolate until I tried it and then it was as if a light switched on in all my senses and I ordered it. I have not been that decisive in a long time.

We both got it and spent the next hour in a stupor of amazement and ecstasy. The gelato was soft and deliciously creamy. There were these OUT OF THIS WORLD molten chunks of caramelly nutella-tasting fudgy pieces which rendered me unable to speak. Each sweet, velvety mouthful transported me to paradise. I could have eaten it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We also went for the traditional melted chocolate in the cone which resulted in a dangerous operation of getting cracked cone spilling with hot chocolate into mouth without getting it on fingers hands top hair and nose. It was an exciting, game-changing gelato which was incomparable to ice cream as I have known it.

Because in Italy it is a thing to have an ice cream a day to keep the doctor away, we discussed whether to go back the next day. We eventually decided against it, to preserve the memory of this gelato flavour and not tamper with it. At this other place I went for the Amarena, an Italian specialty which has cherries in it, and pistachio. The flavours went beautifully together, the pistachio containing a touch of vanilla and the cherry in the ice cream wonderfully sweet. Again, the gelato was silky and refreshing. After these experiences, I can vouch for the clear difference between ice cream and gelato: the latter is far superior.

They say you learn a lot by travelling. In Verona, I learnt where the best gelato is to be found. La Romana.

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