Thursday, 18 June 2009

Food Adventures in Florence: Part II

One of the few Italian dishes to which I will admit total love is gelato. Virtually every corner in Florence had a gelato stand. Some were branded, and sold mass produced Carte D'Or, but most advertised themselves as home-made.

The majority displayed their wares in freezer counters, with the ice cream towering high. Some decorated this mini-mountains with items representative of the flavour. Maybe a few nuts, pieces of fruit, or a few shards of coconut. However, I was much more drawn to the old fashioned style places, that kept their gelato in silver buckets.

Grom's Gelato Counter

became a regular stop in Florence, after a particularly over-priced experience near the Ponte Vecchio. Tucked away in back street, prices at Grom were more reasonable, and the flavours more interesting than some of the more touristy places. A large cup of ice cream cost €5 in Grom, and most of the ingredients were sourced using Slow Food pinciples. We tried the lemon and strawberry sorbets, the chocolate fondant, yoghurt, baci, and "crema di Grom", a kind of cookies and cream flavour. If we were lucky we'd snag a seat on the bench in the shop, and I'd strain to overhear a tour group being shown round the back of the shop, but most of the time we'd just stand outside looking slightly shifty.

Strawberry sorbet, baci and yoghurt

We also found a nice gelato shop in Pisa, which didn't seem as well populated with the stuff as Florence was. This had most of the standard flavours, but we couldn't work out what one of them was. So we ordered it to find out - it was a kind of toffee and almond flavour and delicous.

I've been trying to think of a food-based job, and part of me really wants to open a grown up ice cream parlour. There's a couple of Italian places in Edinburgh already, but they don't seem to have the crazy range of flavours we found in Italy. Maybe Scotland just isn't ready for fresh milk flavour...