Sailing Italy: Not All Gelato is Created Equal

GelatoGelaterias in Italy are the equivalent of Starbucks in the Northwest: there’s one on every corner.

I rarely eat ice cream at home, but when in Rome…

One of our sayings on our sailing trip in Italy was, “It’s our last night in (insert city name here). We should have gelato!” Never mind that we were in a different city almost every night. Needless to say I tried a lot of gelato, and as I found out as I worked my way through Italy not all gelato is created equal.

I had been curious about one thing: where did all of the gelato come from? It obviously didn’t come in prepacked tubs like ice cream, because it always looked like it had been poured into the pan and decorated by hand no matter where you bought it. But just like ice cream there were definitely varying degrees of quality.

I was wandering the streets of Rome on one of my last nights in Italy when I stumbled upon a place called Gelateria Valentino. I walked in and asked the attractive middle aged man behind the counter my burning question. “Do you make your own gelato?”

Turns out the man behind the counter serving up gelato was none other than Valentino himself, who explained that most of the gelaterias around town used a powdered mix that they pour into a gelato machine. Ah ha, I knew it! I knew there was a difference.

Valentino explained that he used only fresh fruit for the sorbet-like gelatos, and in fact he grew his own lemons, oranges and grapefruits for his fruit flavors. I tasted the lemon and it was like nothing I had tasted at any other gelato stand. You could tell it was the real deal. He insisted we sample almost every flavor in the shop, and explained how he hand crafted each one.

By the time I left Gelateria Valentino with my small Biscotto gelato I had spent 30 minutes with Valentino who was kind enough to not only  share pictures of his wife, his son, and his grandchildren, but to share with me the culinary delights of hand crafted gelato.

Gelateria Valentino – Via del Lavatore 96, Roma (Fontana di Trevi)

Valentino's Gelato



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