of Italy in the summertime, and you think of ice-cream.
Having a gelato, whether seated at a café,
or while strolling the streets, is a delightful treat
that is synonymous with sunny weather and leisurely
days. But what to choose? The average Italian ice-cream
shop, or gelateria, offers between 20 and fifty flavors.
These are divided into cream-based (creme) and fruitbased
(frutta). You will see this distinction made on the
menus when you are choosing your coppa, or ice-cream
sundae. If you are opting for an ice-cream to eat
in the street, you will notice that the display is
divided into two: fruit flavors on one side, cream-based
ones on the other.
the classic fruit-based flavours, lemon (limone) and
strawberry (fragola) are always popular and work very
well together. Other ideas could be peach (pesca),
melon (melone), and fruits of the forest (frutti di
bosco). In terms of cream-based ice-cream, there’s
coffee, hazelnut, cream, as well as chocolate, which,
incidentally is the Italians’ favourite flavor.
to eat ice-cream? After lunch as a dessert, mid-afternoon
as a cooling pick-me-up, about 7pm, when it is not
yet dinner time but you feel like a little something,
and after dinner.
to eat ice-cream? Either seated or walking around.
What you choose depends on how you feel. Tired feet
need a rest at times. Sitting under a shady umbrella,
watching the world go by on a café terrace
as you savour a delicious cup of ice cream -- brought
to you on a silver tray by a waiter -- is what memories
are made of. But you pay for the privilege. If you
have bought a cone or a cup of ice-cream from that
same café, and you want to sit and eat it,
then you are expected to make your own arrangements.
Find a convenient wall on which to perch, or a park
bench, or just keep strolling. There’s no rush.
in case you were wondering… what happens to
those delightful ice-cream shops (gelaterie) when
the sunny days become few and far between? Well, that
depends. Some bars where you can buy fresh ice-cream,
just shut down that section between October and April.
Other places keep a small selection, because ice-cream
is a welcome gift when one is invited to someone’s
house for lunch or dinner. Rather than buy a cake,
or even an ice-cream cake, you can take a box of ice-cream.
Now, isn’t that a nice idea?
Roberta Kedzierski writes as http://twitter.com/robertak
on Twitter, where she reports from Italy,
on Italy, and a lot more, besides.