Friday, April 8, 2011
What am I doing in Florence you ask? Eating. And then eating some more. And after that, more food. All in the name of research of course. Yes. I’ve started work on the next app: Eat Florence. And as my too tight jeans can attest, I’m taking this all very seriously.
My first order of the day was gelato. And I do mean first order of the day. I hit the ground running (at least at first) and started off my gelato trot at 10:30 am and just kept going. Ok. I didn’t eat gelato the entire time. I was also eating tripe, focaccia, bistecca and....well, you get the idea.
Since it’s unseasonably warm in Florence these days, I figured I shouldn’t make you wait for the App (which should be out by end of May) for the gelato report. So here it is.
Via Ricasoli 60r
Carabe was opened by Antonio and Loredana Lisciandro, as the Florentine outpost of their highly successful branch in Forte dei Marmi. They are from Sicily and so the flavors definitely reflect that. The pastiera was rich and creamy, with just enough cinnamon and bits of chocolate and candied fruit. It paired perfectly with almond. I will definitely be going back for one of their granitas, which was what three other people ordered while I was there (At least I wasn’t the only one there at 10:30)
Via dell’Isola delle Stinche 7r
I know I know. Vivoli isn’t the best gelato place in Florence any more. But I’ve got a soft spot for this place, since it is around the corner from where I lived in Florence for two years. And even if it isn’t cutting edge artisan quality, they are still pretty good. I stopped by my first evening in town, and had a cup of Festina Lente, just because I liked the name (Go slowly with haste). It turned out to be an intensely flavored and slightly spicy ginger ice cream, full of big chunks of candied ginger and orange peel. I also couldn’t resist their riso, which was as good as I remembered, studded with slightly chewy bits of rice. (Plus, I love that you can sit down in the back without paying extra.)
Via Lambertesca 18r
This is the one that everyone is talking about, with good reason. Only fresh, seasonal ingredients, fresh whole milk, the best chocolate, etc. The result is incredibly rich and smooth gelato, with intense flavors. The ice cream is made daily, and stored in refrigerated tubs with lids to keep things air tight. And what doesn’t get used up the in the course of the day, gets thrown out. It’s that fresh. Their main store is on the edge of town, but they’ve opened a smaller branch right near the Ponte Vecchio.
Borgo degli Albizi 11r
“Please tell everyone we are also a gelateria.” Although you might know Vestri as purely a chocolate shop they are - as the owner pointed out to me - also a gelateria. With six flavors that change daily, they are a very good one at that. As you can imagine the chocolate flavors are what they excel at.
Arte del Ciocolato
Via Porta Rossa 7r
Again, not an ice cream shop per se. Just the best chocolate store in town. So, not surprising that they have the best chocolate ice cream.
Via delle Oche 24r
I know it’s a chain, but it’s a very good one. The Florence branch is right by the Duomo and there is usually a line. But don’t worry, it moves fast. The flavors change each month which I guess is a good thing. But I got really addicted to Caramello al Sale. Does anyone know if they are opening one in Rome??
Gelateria della Passera
Piazza della Passera
A pocket sized gelateria opened in the cutest piazza in Florence by the guys that brought you Cafe degli Artigiani. Don’t worry if the door is locked (as it usually is) just walk two steps to the Cafe and they’ll come serve you. My favorite was a delicate Earl Grey sorbetto.
Il Re Gelato
Viale Strozzi 8r
This was my very last stop in Florence before hopping on the train back to Rome. I was literally dragged here by my friend Salvatore Denaro. He is a chef from Umbria and I think he came into Florence for the day basically to make sure I made it to this gelateria. And I am glad he did. Using all fresh ingredients this Sicilian gelateria is strong on flavors like almonds from Noto, pistacchios from Bronte and all sorts of granitas. But Antonio Cafarelli goes beyond this, serving us up some freshly made - and heavenly - olive oil gelato. In fact, Salvatore was there that day to work with him on creating a passito gelato. If you want to go all out Sicilian, order one of their freshly made brioche and have it stuffed with your favorite flavors. Salvatore had two.