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Gelato: It’s Not Just for Dessert Anymore


When I first visited Florence in 2001, I remember seeing a gigantic menu outside what was supposed to be the best gelateria in the city. The list of flavors included carrot and avocado, and I was very disappointed to see that neither flavor was on offer during our stay in Florence. Apparently that list was just about the flavors they could make, or have made, but not the ones they regularly make. Hrmph. I still think carrot and avocado would make lovely gelato – both have a sweetness to them, so it’s not such a stretch to me that they could be dessert (carrot cake, anyone?). And this is coming from a girl who thinks buttered popcorn is not an appropriate flavor for a jelly bean, thank you very much.

Though I didn’t get carrot or avocado, I did eat a ton of gelato on that first trip. A friend of mine who lives in Italy says it’s a rule that you have to eat two scoops of gelato every day. Now, she’s an American expat who’s been living in Italy for several years, and I think this is her rule rather than a rule, but I like it. Here’s the list of gelato flavors I tried in that 16-day trip in 2001:

  • banana
  • fragola (strawberry)
  • pesca (peach)
  • crema (sweet cream)
  • vaniglia (vanilla)
  • arancia rosso (blood orange)
  • ananas (pineapple)
  • fior di latte (sweet milk)
  • liquirizia (licorice)
  • riso (rice pudding)
  • mela verde (green apple)
  • pinoli (pine nuts)
  • cioccolato arancia (chocolate orange)
  • tiramisù
  • mango
  • baccio (chocolate hazelnut)
  • nocciola (hazelnut)
  • anguria (watermelon)
  • pistacchio
  • kiwi
  • nutella
  • profiteroles (it’s a French pastry with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce)
  • stracciatella (fior di latte with chocolate chips)
  • zuppa inglese (I still don’t know, but I think it’s supposed to be trifle)
  • panna cotta (cooked cream with caramel)
  • caramello (caramel)
  • A.C.E. (orange, carrot & lemon; “ACE” is a common juice drink with the vitamins A, C and E)
  • limone (lemon)
  • limoncello (lemon & vodka drink)
  • abricocca (apricot)

Yeah, I think I may have gone over that “two scoops a day” rule…

At any rate, gelato makers are now thinking beyond the relatively tame carrot and avocado options and delving into flavors I don’t think I’d be too keen on. Cuttlefish? Olive oil? Fish-egg? Urp.

Call me old-fashioned if you must… I’m not sure I’d want gelato for anything but dessert.