During our trip to Rome, Florence, Siena and Venice, we had the opportunity to sample many, many, many types of gelato. The combination of the miserable heat and abundance of gelato shops meant that we averaged 2 to 3 “gelato breaks” a day. At some point during the trip, I decided to start taking photographs in an attempt to document our favorite flavor combinations. The winner out of this set was the chocolate and coconut (above). Some of the other combinations we tried were: apricot /rice pudding, blueberry/yogurt, and chocolate/pistachio. The key to finding good gelato when traveling is to look for a sign that says “produzione propria,” meaning it’s made on the premises.
Although the gelato in Florence is supposed to be the best, I’ve found that the gelato in Sicily is just as good and in many cases better than the gelato up north (like many things here). One exception was the gelato we had at Vivoli in Florence. It might be overrated (all the guidbooks point tourists there), but the rice-flavored (riso) gelato that we all tried was an experience I’ll never forget! If you love rice pudding, this is the gelato for you! If not, stay away from it because it is actually filled with grains of rice, just like the pudding. It took a minute to get past the strange texture of frozen, cooked rice but once I did, I enjoyed it more than any other we tasted. I tried the riso with fragola (strawberry) at the suggestion of the woman behind the counter. It was good but I wish I had stuck with a full cup of riso (they don’t offer cones at Vivoli). I did see some “riso” flavored gelato when we were in Siena but it didn’t have rice in it and the flavor was horrible.