Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mission Gelato--Best Gelato in Italy?

Getting daily dosage of gelato is a must when traveling in Italy. Determined to savor the best of the Italian gelato in cities we were visiting, I did an obsessively amount of gelato research before our recent trip.

Armed with my own gelato map that I made in Photoshop, we meandered through the maze-liked streets with high hope. I have to confess that a few gelaterias on my map came highly recommended by an article from well-established newspaper, who shall remain nameless here. Perhaps our anticipation was heightened by the warm weather and the hardship of locating the gelateria, our taste buds became more discriminating and demanding, and we left those gelaterias unsatisfied. After consecutive disappointments, we decided to toss the map and rely on our intuition.

To make our mission more successful, we made some mental notes of "what not to do". We decided to skip the gelateria displaying large mount of ice cream in the style similar to what you see in Coldstone. This turned out to be a good strategy because we later learned that many of those places carried mass-produced gelato from large ice cream manufacturers. Dodging tourist trap is another key--we avoided the tempatation of trying gelato in major tourists areas, or places with prominant signs in English. How did we know that those places were no go? Dehydrated, sweaty, and out of desperation, we had gelato at a few major city squares, and we were sorry that we even went there.

After many trials and errors and tasting of some bad, mediocre, good, and exceptional, the one gelateria that tops our list is Gelato Zeno e Cioccolato in Verona. Not only does Roberto Bonato, its owner and creator, insist on using only fresh seasonal ingredients, he went one step further to use only locally produced ingredients--"low carb" as it's called, meaning low carbon emission. Here's a short video clip from CBS on Gelato Zeno e Cioccolato.

What are the flavors to try? Let Roberto be your guide. Because the flavors change with seasons and the availability of local ingredients, be adventurous and your taste buds will thank you.

Possible the best gelato in Italy, certainly the best of the ones we tried during our trip, it is probably one of the greenest ice creams out there.

Gelato Zeno e Cioccolato
Piazza San Zeno 12a, Verona

best_gelato_italyCouple more bonuses... Gelato Zeno e Cioccolato is located in Piazza Zeno, where St. Zeno Basilica is located. We were there on the third Saturday of May, and were happy to find a local flea market bustling with actions.


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