My friend Evan Kleiman was in town the past two weeks. Among the major projects we set out to accomplish, eating gelato was at the top of the list. Last May I made the rounds of some of the best gelaterie in Rome, and wrote up my list of favorites. A lot of you wrote in and I realized that I was missing some important artisans. So, Evan and I set off in Sophie’s Smart car (even though we probably should have been walking between cones) and worked our way across town.
Why does Prati have such a high concentration of great gelaterie? I guess since it’s so densely residential, as well as having some great shopping districts. In other words, a lot of foot traffic. I always think that a test of any ice cream place is their nut flavors, and Gracchi came out with flying colors. We tried both pistachio, and pistacchio with merengue. Both were creamy and full of big chunks of pistachios. Like all the best gelaterie, the flavors here reflect the season, since they only use fresh ingredients. persimmon was out of this world, like biting into a big juicy piece of fruit. But our hands down favorite was roasted chestnut.
Fior di Luna
A lot of people wrote to me about Fior di Luna. It’s located smack on one of the busiest streets in Trastevere, where you’d expect to find something much more commercial. But Fior di Luna goes directly in the opposite direction, using incredibly hard-to-source, organic and fair trade ingredients. It was really good, and I really liked the peanut, especially when paired with chocolate. But…there was something a bit too healthy and honest about the ice cream. Some of that fair trade chocolate just isn’t the best you can get, and it tasted a bit off. Don’t get me wrong, Fior di Luna is very good. Just not as good as some of the rest on my list.
I’d always heard about Il Gelato, but since it was way the heck out in EUR, I knew I’d never be going there. Thankfully they have made the effort to open a store closer to me, on Viale Aventino. Thank you very much. I would have never discovered it if my friend Jane hadn’t brought me there this summer, after we went swimming in a friends pool on the Aventino. (Private pool, then great gelato? Doesn’t get any better than that). So, the verdict? After trying all the rest, both Evan I have declared that this wins the Evan and Elizabeth Ice Cream Award for November 2010. We spent a half hour there and tried, I think, most of the flavors (the girl must have thought we were insane). Our favorites? Don’t be shocked, but we loved loved loved both the celery and the habanero. I know they sound strange but they weren’t. Brie con Frutti di Bosco was creamy and just cheesy enough. Evan’s faves included Fior di Sesamo and Zabaione. Don’t worry, they have ‘normal’ flavors too. After Evan and I each had a large cup, plus another cone, we bought some of the more normal flavors to take back to Emma and Domenico. Yes, we helped put that away as well.
Via dei Gracchi 272
Fior di Luna
Via della Lungaretta 96
Viale Aventino 59