Thursday, 12 July 2012 10:18

Gnammi Gnammi...Ice Cream!!!

God's Own Ice Cream

A gelato crawl to some of the best ice cream parlors in Rome, Italy

When is really hot, eat always a good Ice - Cream !!

Although not quite the ice cream mecca Florence is, Rome's gelato is still heavenly.

Any gelateria (ice cream parlor) that advertises produzione propria (homemade) will have a high-quality, tasty stock, but who has the best gelato in town?

Well, that's a question fiercely debated by any and all ice cream lovers.

First, a few ground rules:

  • Don't call it ice cream. First thing to know, to call gelato "ice cream" is insulting to gelato and unfair to ice cream. Gelato is much richer, smoother, and more flavorful than ice cream.

    It is churned, not whipped (as is most traditional American ice cream), so it is far denser, giving it a richer mouth feel. Gelato also is not as laden with sugar and cream, so the subtle tastes of its flavoring comes through much better than in ice cream.
  • Get it at a gelateria: Second thing to know, gelato is something you go out for at a special parlor called a gelateria, and most of it is consumed during the early evening passeggiata stroll—not that gelaterie aren't equally busy during the heat of midday, or late at night...

    I mention this because, unlike in America, gelato is not typically eaten after a meal—or at least you typically don't order it at the restaurant.

    Restaurants often do offer "gelato" on their dessert menus, but this is almost always of the pre-packaged variety. This is fine (I'm partial to a tartufo, a Gobstopper-like sphere of vanilla, chocolate, and fudge dusted with cocoa) but it's not real gelato.

  • Cram in as many flavors as you can think of: Third thing to know, you pay by the size of the coppa (cup) or cono (cone), not by the scoop. That means you can (and are encouraged to) squeeze two or even three flavors into even the smallest cup.

    Italians taught me that even unusual pairs go great together; a personal favorite: cioccolato e limone (chocolate gelato and lemon sorbetto). No, really; try it.

    (Also most Italians order by the cup; the cone is a fun—if messy—American addition to the options, but not too popular).
  • The best gelaterie in Rome

    ★★★ San Crispino - Everyone's favorite "secret gelateria," which is code for "not (yet) crammed with tourists". In point of fact, it's a pretty poorly kept secret, for which we should all be thankful... Full story

    ★★ Caffè Giolitti - Perhaps the most famous gelateria in Rome, going strong since 1900 and still serving the best classic Roman ice cream... Full story

    Tre Scalini - Classy cafe on Piazza Navona serving the classic homemade tartufo, a gelato gobstopper with a cherry in the center... Full story

    The granita cart - On warm, Roman summer nights, the last remaining traditional shave-ice stand in Rome parks on the banks of the Tiber River in Trastevere.... Full story

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    Published in eating & gourmet

    Rome's climate :

    Summertime weather in Rome, Italy.

    Rome's climate in summer can be described in one word : hot!!

    Here you'll find all you need to know about the weather in Rome, Italy, during the summer months, suggestions for things to do in Rome and tips in how to keep cool in the heat. 

    As the gorgeous warmth of spring in Rome grows into the heat of July, Rome takes on a different character. Lots of businesses close while their Italian owners head away from the city heat to the coast, and famous sites become packed with queues of tourists often tired and sometimes bad-tempered in the sweltering sun.

    When is Summer?

    July and August are definitely the height of the summer months, with the heat often carrying through into mid-September. Even October can stay quite warm as Rome's climate in autumn is fairly temperate.

    Temperature in Summer :

    Officially, you will find information telling you that Rome's average climate in July and August is about 17°C, 91°F, dropping at night to around 17°C, 64°F.  In fact, temperatures very often reach a minimum of 40°C (104°F).  After August these figures can fall a little but it will remain around the 80°C mark for a large part of September. 

    Hot, hot, hot!!

    What about rain? :

    There's generally very little rain during these months, although there is the chance of an odd squall which cools the air.  It may be hard to foresee this when you're shivering in the winter months but Rome's summer climate is so hot that you'll find yourself welcoming the rain if it comes!

    So what's good about Rome's climate in Summer?

    No need to worry about what clothes to take! - the predictability of the heat of Rome's climate in summer means that light clothing for both men and women is the order of the day.  And nights are lovely and warm so eating outside while watching the world go by is a real pleasure.

    It's very, very hot! 

    There's not usually much of a breeze around Rome either, so the air can become extremely humid. 

    You'll find yourself sweating copiously and your energy will be sapped in the hottest part of the day between 11am and 3p.m. 

    You need to plan ahead. Make sure you watch the daily weather forecast for Rome; if you see it climbing, look at how to keep cool in the heat and take note of what you will need to do.

    You should take the possibility of heat- and sun- stroke in the summer climate very seriously even on what may look like an overcast day. And if you have animals in Italy make sure you learn about ways to prevent sunstroke in pets too.

    Around the time of the 'Ferragosto' holidays from 15 August, quite a lot of businesses close down as their owners, unable to tolerate Rome's climate, head for the coast.  Be prepared for some bars and restaurants to be closed.

    Any special things to do in Rome in the Summer?

    There are always lots of outdoor events happening in the summer in Rome, from ballet to modern music festivals and the odd spontaneous party!  These change each year, so keep your eyes open for posters locally or ask at your hotel. 

    One of the most spectacular events to take full advantage of Rome's climate in the summer is the open air opera at the Caracalla Baths which is an unforgettable spectacle.  For more information, use this link to go to the bottom of our page about Ancient Roman bathhouses.

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    Published in useful information