Thursday, April 17, 2008

Results of the Gelato Derby

I could patter and chatter (when can't I?), but this being the 4th post on gelato in Rome, let’s get to the goods.

They are swearing to tell the whole gelato truth, and risking their cone-holding hands to do it.

So-so, but better than no gelato (still, you might find better gelato in your local supermarket’s freezer section): Blue Ice. It’s so meh. It’s ubiquitous, though, so it may be that if you go to Rome, at some point a gelato craving will strike you… and there will, in all likelihood, be a Blue Ice nearby.

There are actually TWO Blue Ices just off of Campo dei Fiori, and really, neither is worth going to (L'Impero del Gelato and Pica are not far away. Hoof it, baby.). However, that little Forno next to La Carbonara? Has terrific pizza bianca, and they do rosette (a bun) just the way I like them.
Good if you’re passing by: Mariotti, Antica Caffe di Teatro Marcello (my ranking for this one), Antica Caffe del’Isola (although I have to admit, just on the charm of the location, you might want to detour to the Tiber Island).
Really Solid. Worth an investigatory detour. L’Impero del Gelato (it is a pretty good name). Crema e Cioccolato (I remain perplexed that, given the name, they didn't make sure that both the crema and the chocolate were near to being Platonic ideals of their flavors. I am, though, easily perplexed). Giolitti (although their raspberry alone could edge them up). Cremeria Monteforte.
Delicious. Definitely worth a detour. Fonte della Salute (which is very, very close to being up in the next category, and the kids argue is better than S. Crispino). Checco er Carettiere (another one that comes close to pipping San Crispino, and I think is a little better than Fonte della Salute). Pica. By the children's voting methods, Antica Caffe di Teatro Marcello (I will admit, the tiramisu was pretty good).
Contenders of wonderful scrumptiousness. Worth a substantial detour. Ciampini (although they relied almost entirely on standard flavors, their execution was strong across the board). Gelatarmony (their dreamy gelato was worth the cross-town walk with tired children, who also agreed enthusiastically, if somewhat tiredly, that it was worth the trudge). San Crispino (despite my quibbles with their snotty and overly-serious rejection of cones and whipped cream, it was impossible to dispute that their gelato was excellent).
The gigantic ancient Roman disco hand knows Gelateria del Teatro is #1.

And the winner? Hands down, unanimously, in a group of contentious, bickery testers is: Gelateria del Teatro.
Their gelato was dreamy. Fantastic. Wondrously, amazingly, addictively good. When we attempted, one day, to snag some pre-lunch gelato there (having already been there at least once), the children waited patiently for over 30 minutes. By comparison, when we went attempted another pre-lunch gelato (which was when we finally twigged to the idea that gelato is not really considered a pre-lunch kind of thing), with similar results, they twitched and asked if there was another gelateria nearby that we could walk to. gelateria del Teatro produced terrific gelato, and my chat with the owner revealed him to be a serious gelato evangelist (he gets his lemons from down near Sorrento, because he feels they provide the best combination of fragrance and flavor, he showed me the chocolate they use for dark chocolate, he is really, reeeeally into producing a quality product)… but not a snob. And he and his wife are apparently writing a gelato cookbook. Which I will be buying. We tried upwards of 14 different flavors from them over the course of several visits, and the gelato was, every time, fantastic, and in the way that truly lovely food can be uplifting and revivifying... it was. It made our toes curl with delight.


cook eat FRET said...

i think you need to send this thesis around. seriously. to travel mags or food mags - someone would surely publish this. it is amazingly extensive and well written, entertaining...

give it a whirl for gods sake.

Meg said...

okay, Claudia, fess up. How much did my mom pay you?

Seriously, though, thanks. I am actually starting to shop something around; who knows what will come of it.