FLORENCE, Italy — I expected a line at Gelateria Vivoli. Simonetta Ferrini, our culture studies professor at the Florence University of the Arts, assured us of its gelato fame. To my surprise, even in the heat of the day, we entered with no wait and our class quickly filled every corner of the tiny rustic shop, with its pink cursive neon sign above the doorway, beckoning locals and tourists alike. The server busily paced along the counter while I selected cocco and limone,coconut and lemon, a perfect combination on a hot sunny day here in the city.
The lemon had a taste that was light and not sugary with a texture similar to sorbet but not icy. The tang of the lemon paired with the sweet creamy coconut gave the combination layers of flavor. From the very first spoonful of the coconut, there was a sweetness of coconut milk within the scoop as well as small bits of fresh coconut for subtle texture. Then, a hint of vanilla bean hits you. All of this was served in a small cup, not a cone that would compete with the flavors, a serving style unique to Gelateria Vivoli.