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White Chocolate and Pink Peppercorn Gelato

21 Oct

That’s all. Just wanted to create an entire post to express my ongoing appreciation of Gelateria Corona at Largo Argentina.

Dear Corona, you continue to surprise and delight me. White chocolate and pink peppercorn are certainly two flavors I would never DREAM of trying to attempt to send on a blind date. And yet, I was feeling adventurous. I went for it.

Not bad. I don’t think I’d go there again, because the pepper was a bit overpowering and the white chocolate really faded into the background…and yet. It was definitely worthwhile!

Kind of like a quick fling. You might not ever go back for seconds, but you’ll always have the exciting memory.

Others talking about Corona (and NOT the Fabrizio kind, mind you)

Parla Food (maybe in 2009 they were jerks but they’ve always been super friendly, smiley and chatty with me and others I’ve seen getting gelato there)
Google Plus
Trip Advisor
Yelp

I Heart Gelateria I Mannari

5 Apr

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Baci from Alessandra, one of the super sweet scoopers at I Mannari.

Here’s a gelato shop in my neighborhood, Poggio Ameno.

No one knows where the hell Poggio Ameno is.

It is NOT, as commonly believed, on Mars.

No. It is near another neighborhood which is *slightly* more well-known, called La Montagnola.

If you don’t know where either of those are, then all I can say is that it’s before EUR, on the 30 Express line, just past the ex-Fiera di Roma, across from Garbatella.

And if you still don’t know where it is, then I cannot be of further assistance.

In any case, I Mannari merits a visit. I’m not kidding. It’s worth the trip.

Since it’s my neighborhood gelato shop, and since, as you can tell from the above description, my neighborhood isn’t exactly Piazza Navona, I’ll be honest with you: I wasn’t expecting much. I wasn’t expecting, for example, Gelato Fantasia or anything. But I was wrong to have had such low expectations.

Very, very wrong.

The shop has recently undergone a facelift, but the real joy is in the delectable flavors and exceptional taste of this gelato.

The owner, Giuseppe, singled me out because I was telling my friend that the fact that this gelateria uses Valrhona chocolate is kind of a big deal. It’s a super fancy chocolate and who would want to spend money on a fancy chocolate when there’s so much cheap chocolate powder out and about? Clearly, someone with a major passion for quality gelato.

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Don’t get him started–he won’t let you go. He’s so passionate about his work it’s very contagious–and he’ll keep filling you up with more little tastes! He even gave me a Sicilian briochè that he has brought in fresh daily from Sicily!

The other flavors here are creative and unique as well. There’s the Aztec chocolate which consists of dark chocolate and chili pepper (one of my historical favorites, wherever I can find it in the city.) But there was one flavor I’d never, ever come across in all my gelato-eating in Rome. Dark chocolate, lemon, and black pepper. Sounds disgusting. But is strangely compelling.

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Once again, I realize my desperate need for a macro lens and a real digital camera and not my cell phone. Forgive. It’s on its way from someone who keeps forgetting to bring me their old digital camera as a gift.

Giuseppe is like an anti-snob snob. I don’t know exactly what this means, except that, he’s the worst gelato “snob” I’ve ever met in terms of his passion for his work and his exacting standards for very high quality ingredients (organic, hard-to-find gourmet brand names, pistachio di bronte, etc.). And, he is committed to not building his brand or his name through advertising, but sheerly through word of mouth. Which is why he doesn’t advertise and why he tells me he specifically opened his gelato shop here in Poggio Ameno. He doesn’t even live anywhere near this neighborhood. But he told me, after years of working for some of the big-name gelato shops downtown, “if I can make a name for myself from out here, then I know I’m making a superior product.”

I asked him why he doesn’t tell people about the fact that he uses organic lemons, or all the other special touches he uses to make such a great gelato. He says that he specifically doesn’t because “people who know what good gelato tastes like know it when they taste it. I don’t have to tell them.” And in a way, he has a point. Because I can assure you that I was surprised at how much this gelato compared favorably to the best gelato I’ve had in Rome, with nothing else to indicate that to me other than my tastebuds and gelato-tasting experiences over the years. (See Gelato Tour)

Well. My kids don’t know that the lemons are organic or the chocolate is super fancy or the neighborhood they live in isn’t the equivalent of Beverly Hills. But if it can please an SUV-sized stroller and a 4-year old with a major sweet tooth, then I’m happy.

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And despite my kiddos’ non-discriminating tastes, I, for one, can say that this gelato ranks on par with any of the places from the historic center that I’ve rated highly. If you’re ever in this area, make sure you don’t miss it.

Gelateria I Mannari on Facebook
Via di Grotta Perfetta 125

Celery Flavored Gelato

25 Oct

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It’s that green stuff on the left. Next to the red bell pepper flavored and gorgonzola (bleu cheese) flavored.

And no, I was not feeling brave enough to try. But I did indulge in chocolate-and-toasted sunflower…heavenly.

Love you long time, Fantasia.

My review on Yelp.it

Gelato Fantasia
Viale Aventino 59

Il Gelato Fantasia

7 Sep

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Clicca qui per l’italiano

Which will forever be known in my book as “the first gelateria I’ve ever encountered that makes sambuca gelato.” As in: OH. MY. GOD.

Those of you who know me well know that sambuca and I have a close, personal relationship. Sambuca has gotten me through this summer, through thick and thin, for better or for worse. Therefore, when a friend of mine introduced me to Fantasia, and magically my eyes fell on this label, it was love at first sight:

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Ricotta, sambuca and caffè?! Are you kidding me? Sold.

I added my favorite standby, gelato with cookies, and I was good to go. But people, let me tell you how I wanted to try this one:

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Toasted sunflower seeds and chocolate? For reals?

Or wait, wait! What about this one:

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Salted peanuts! Never in my life have I seen such a sight in an Italian gelateria! I love these people!

But wait, there’s more!

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Rice, sesame and chestnut honey. Can you even imagine?

I have so much work to do here, it’s not even funny. I asked for the “small cone” (which, by the way, at €1.80 I believe is currently the cheapest small cone I have seen in Rome thus far) and let me tell you, I was majorly regretting it. This was the first time I’ve ever had a second thought and almost went back for another cone after I finished. No, I am not kidding. It’s THAT good.

Holy crap man, you wouldn’t think it. It’s just sitting there, all humble-like, and yet, yet… sigh… love…

People I am not joking around here. Next time you’re on the metro B line, you get off at Circo Massimo, take a few steps and get yourself a cone from here. You will be regretting it too if you only get the small one.

(Oh, by the way? Fresh fruit smoothies for when you get tired of all the trillion awesome flavors…)

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Il Gelato Fantasia
Viale Aventino 59

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Che da adesso in poi si chiamerà “la prima gelateria che io abbia mai visto che fa gelato alla sambuca e perciò sarà profondissimamente amata da me per sempre e poi sempre.” Anche se forse quel nome è un po’ lungo per l’insegna quindi lasciamoli chiamare Fantasia. O, se preferite, O. DIO. MIO. (Aggiungendo “ancora! sì!” se volete)

Chi mi conosce sa che ho un rapporto molto stretto con la sambuca. Sambuca, o santa sambuca mia, quanto ti voglio bene. Quindi, quando un’amica mia mi ha presentato la gelateria Fantasia oggi, ed i miei occhi per puro caso (destino?) si sono lanciati subito su quest’etichetta, allora ragazzi ho capito la vera definizione di “colpo di fulmine”:

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Ricotta, sambuca and caffè?! Ma stammo a scherzà? Venduto!

Aggiunto il mio classico storico, qualsiasi gelato con i biscotti, e allora siamo a posto. Ma ragazzi, posso dirvi quanto volevo anche provare questo gusto?

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Semi di girasole tostate con cioccolato. Mmmmm….

No, aspettate! In realtà volevo provare anche questo:

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ARACHIDI SALATE! Sì avete letto bene. Tiè, tutti voi che disprezzate l’onorevole arachido, ingrediente principale della prelibatezza di “burro di arachidi.” Sospiro…

E come se non bastasse già:

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Ragazzi, c’è così tanto lavoro da fa qui, non so nemmeno dove iniziare. Pensate poi che ho chiesto un cono piccolo (che, fra l’altro, costa solo €1,80, che secondo me è il cono piccolo meno costoso della capitale a questo punto), e vi dico che mi sono resa conto subito del mio errore. La prima volta in vita mia che stavo contemplando di rientrare e ordinare ancora un altro cono. No, non sto scherzando: è buono sì.

E poi per l’amor di Dio, chi avrebbe mai detto? Sta lì, tutto umile, come se non fosse una delle gelaterie migliori della capitale. E poi, poi… sospiro… amore.

Ragazzi, la prossima volta che vi capita di stare sulla metro B, scendete pure a Circo Massimo e fatevi il favore di prendere un gelato qui. Ma non il cono piccolo, mi raccomando.

(Poi, se vi stancate dei loro duemila gusti sfiziati, allora ci sono pure i frullati di frutta…)

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Il Gelato Fantasia
Viale Aventino 56

Gelateria Frigidarium

24 Aug

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Yes, folks, that is about all the loving I can handle in 99 degree weather for the low, low price of 2 euro.

Oh, Frigidarium, holy temple of gelato, with your super fabulous ancient Rome-sounding name. You might look touristy to the untrained eye, but I found you through trusty tips from locals, and I heartily endorse your amazingly frigid creations.

Tip for first-timers: try the namesake flavor, Frigidarium. It’s this indulgent version of “pan di stelle” chocolate cookies, and they even put a whole cookie on top for you. Sooooo yum.

You can have panna (cream) or dipped chocolate. Yes, you read me right… dipped chocolate! No, I have no idea why either.

I could eat lunch here, oh, pretty much everyday I suppose.

Frigidarium
Via del Governo Vecchio 112

Corona Gelateria Artigianale

1 Jul

Clicca qui per l’italiano

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There’s a little gelato shop near the 8 tram in Largo Argentina, that since I left Rome three years ago, has come under new management, and just might be in line to become one of my favorite new gelaterie.

Corona, I’ll forgive you for making me think of one of the sleaziest Italian personalities in recent memory, and try to remind myself that your name is noble (crown) and your gelato is … royal.

I was first intrigued by the “lemon and basil” flavor. I got a taste from the owner (unfortunately forgot to ask his name). It was lovely, but I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy an entire “coppetta” — so I opted instead for a delicious pear with pistacchio brittle (I know! Have you ever heard of such a thing? It was to die for!) and as my second flavor, the saffron and ricotta mix.

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People, I am telling you. Words cannot describe. How creative can you get with flavors? Forget chocolate and strawberry. Head over here for something really special.

Jump to comments

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C’e una piccola gelateria vicino al capolinea del tram 8 a Largo Argentina, che, da quando sono andata via da Roma tre anni fa, e’ stata messa sotto nuova gestione e ha cambiato nome. Adesso devo dire che sta in linea per diventare forse una delle mie gelaterie preferite.

Corona, ti perdono per il fatto che il vostro nome mi ricorda del squallidissimo Fabrizio Corona (pelle d’oca) e invece cerchero’ di ricordarmi che il vostro gelato e’ davvero nobile.

All’inizio mi sono incuriosita’ dal gusto “limone e basilico.” Il proprietario me l’ha fatto assaggiare ed e’ molto delicato. Comunque non ero sicura che mi sarebbe piaciuta tutta una coppetta. Percio’ ho optato invece per due gusti straordinari e molto creativi. Il primo: pera con una specie di croccante di pistacchi. Non mi ricordo il nome (vergognami) ma era una roba speciale…quel croccante sorprendente, complimenti ragazzi per un’idea originale! Poi il secondo gusto: ricotta e zafferanno. Delizioso.

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Veramente senza parole. Lasciamo perdere il cioccolato e la fragola. Ormai sono gusti andati. Andate qui per qualcosa di diverso e indimenticabile!

Corona Gelateria Artigianale
Largo Arenula 27

Real Gelato in Seattle

29 May

And by that I mean: quite possibly even better than you could find in Italy. *gasp*

“Blasphemy!” you cry.

But: no!

Ever since we decided to settle here in Washington, we’ve built up a lovely little community of fellow Italian expats. One of them, our friend Marco D’Ambrosio, has taken the brave leap of opening a gelateria and today is the “soft” opening (pun intended). Meaning, free gelato for anyone lucky enough to be passing by, and advance notice for friends and family.

This is not just any gelateria, however.

It’s run by Marco and his father, who attended university and got a degree in gelato-making for this, his second career. Don’t you just love it already?

Last night Alessandro and Vincenzo went to the grand opening. So fun! I had to go to school *bleh* but Ale brought back some gelato for me. In a word: amazing! Or, as one Italian I know once said: AH-MAH-ZEENG-AH. Seriously.

And, BTW? THIS is the gelato we’re going to serve at our restaurant. Yay!

Hello, it’s already got a 5-star review on Yelp and it’s not even officially open yet. I’m serious, people, it’s THAT good.

So, if you’re ever in Ballard, stop by and say hi to Marco.

And, Sara! My dear! We simply MUST add this to the Tour del Gelato.

Gelateria D’Ambrosio
5339 Ballard Ave. NW
(between Vernon Pl & N 22nd Ave)
Seattle, WA 98107