Category Archives: gelato

Gelato lovers, give ghiacciolis a chance

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Gelato scooper at Grom, Siena. Photo by Hannah Dustman

By Hannah Dustman

SIENA, Italy – After semi-strenuous walking up and down the stony and hilly streets of Siena through the uncovered Tuscan sun, I was ready for a pick me up. The answer lead me to Grom, an Italian gelato and bakery chain, up the cracked street from the Piazza del Campo.

While I normally try to avoid chain restaurants and bakeries, the open doors and large glass windows leading into the shop showcased a bright wall display not only of gelato but also ghiacciolis and granita sicilianas, enticing me to enter.

Grom first opened its doors in 2003 in Turin, Italy, with the mission to produce and sell high-quality gelato and baked goods using only all natural ingredients and “the best products the agriculture world has to offer.” This includes using only fresh fruit and eliminating artificial flavorings, colorings or preservatives. Even the waffles cones that create a crunchy bed for the gelato are homemade by the company.

According to their website, Grom prepares all the liquid mixes in their laboratory in Turin before distributing them to their retail stores that are now present throughout Italy and even appeared internationally in New York, 2007, Paris, 2008, and Japan, 2009.

Following its success as a gelateria, Grom further expanded its business to include other treats.


Ghiaccioli on display at Grom, Siena. Flavors here are chocolate-coated, strawberry and lemon. Photo by Hannah Dustman

I admit, I already had my gelato quota for the day, but my sweet tooth still had interest in a chocolate coated ghiaccioli. Ghiaccioli, comparable to a Popsicle, was also offered in fragola (strawberry) and limone (lemon) flavors. So yes, I walked back up to the counter of Grom and ordered again, pointing to the chocolate Popsicle-looking bar in the back of the cool glass case. After handing the cashier €3, I took a bite.

The dark chocolate shell cracked upon the first bite as a piece fell into my hand. The inside of the ghiaccioli consisted of a gelato-type cream surrounded by an additional layer of cookie crumbs, together creating a rich and decadent dessert, my second of the day.

Others in my group could not resist either, and three walked out of the shop with a granite siciliana, an Italian version of a slushy. Granite is a frozen dessert made from water, sugar and various flavoring options. Grom make their granite following traditional Sicilian recipes.

While gelato will always hold a special place in my heart, ghiaccioli and granite are hard to resist. I am learning to appreciate, and maybe even love, other iconic Italian desserts.

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Filed under gelato, granita, MU Journalism Abroad, Science ad Agricultual Journalism, Siena

Here’s the scoop

By Zara McDowell


A well-crafted gelato cone from Gelateria Santa Trinita. Photo by Zara McDowell

FLORENCE, Italy- Neatly stacked pink and brown cups line the back shelves of the Gelateria Santa Trinita, awaiting customers to pick their flavors. The gelateria, open for eight years, typically has eager crowds choosing from the classic choices-cioccolato, crema and vaniglia (chocolate, cream and vanilla) among many others. I ordered un piccolo cono con Santa Trinita e cioccolato with a trill of excitement, not knowing quite what the Santa Trinita flavor was (cream and Nutella).

Even the momentary delicacy of gelato has its base in a solid routine. Crema and sorbet are the two foundations for a gelataria’s final masterpieces. The gelato chef here arrives at the the Piazza Dei Frescobaldi at 7 a.m. to prepare the crema gelato that is ready by the time the store opens.

The sorbet gelato chef arrives at the Gelateria Santa Trinita at 9 a.m., and begins preparation for the fruit sorbet. Some sorbet flavors include fragola (strawberry), kiwi, limone (lemon) and pompelmo rosa (grapefruit). The gelateria’s fruit flavors vary as the fruits of the season change.

With a gelato shop on every corner adhering to a similar routine, it is evident that Italy enjoys their gelato precisely made. The Gelateria Santa Trinita, on the opposite side of the Arno River from the Duomo, prices its gelato ranging from 1,90 for two flavors and up to 8 for three flavors and larger portions.


Filed under gelato, MU Journalism Abroad, Science ad Agricultual Journalism, Uncategorized

Gelato showdown

BY: Molly Curry

Hello beautiful (cookies flavor)

Hello beautiful (cookies flavor)

FLORENCE, Italy – We, as a collective group of food writers, are generally ambitious people, and thus set a goal at the beginning of our trip to eat gelato at least once a day, every day that we are here. I am pleased to inform you that so far, we have stayed focused on our task, never straying from our righteous path.

This job has been made significantly easier by the fact that in the 15-20 minute walk to school we pass by over 10 gelato shops. And let me just say, I’m not mad about it.

But all this gelato consumption (admiration) made me ponder a hard-hitting question: how is gelato different from ice cream?

Let’s start with the basics. Gelato has a smaller fat base and a lot less air churned into it, giving it that thick, yet not too melty consistency that is perfect on a hot summer day. American ice creams are usually heavy on the cream (get it?), while gelato usually focuses on the milk, which is why it has less of a fat base. When ice cream is being churned, it is usually hard and fast, trying to pump as much air into the ice cream as possible. This makes it easier to scoop. Gelato churning is much slower. With less air in it, you might think the gelato would be a veritable ice-cold brick of deliciousness. It would be, but gelato is usually served at warmer temperatures than ice cream, so it stays soft.

While I do not believe in discrimination based on dairy product usage or otherwise, I must admit that to me, gelato is the superior frozen cream delight. From pistachio to banana. From pomegranate to Nutella. From mango to my personal favorite, dark chocolate. No matter the flavor, I’m very excited to continue towards our goal for a gelato filled trip!

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Filed under gelato, MU Journalism Abroad, Science ad Agricultual Journalism

Tutto e bene

By Christine Jackson

FLORENCE, Italy — “Tutto e bene.” It means “everything is fine”. Sometimes that phrase is said despite anxiety, but today it’s just true.

After a full day of travel and varying levels of exhaustion, we turned our first afternoon in Florence into a fantastic day. Though we may have all been dozing throughout orientation, we got a second–third? maybe fourth?–wind from a walk around the city center and some much-needed sustenance. We conquered three big items on the Italian food bucket list today.

Our first food stop was L’Antico Noe for paninis. We mostly went because it was open and we were starving, but after a small amount of research (I Googled it to double-check the name) it turns out that the place has pretty phenomenal reviews. I can see why.
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I went with a number 14: Salame piccante, pecorino and melanzana. English translation: spicy salami, pecorino cheese and eggplant. The goal on this trip is to try anything and everything, so I just picked a number and went with it. My original pick was a number nine, which was something to do with porchetta, but they were out. I’m not mad about it. My sandwich was something close to perfect.

I love salami, but I usually get the Genoa variation out of a vacuum-sealed package from the grocery store. L’Antico’s was hot as promised, but not overwhelming. More noticeable was the range of flavors in it. The heat, the pork and something with a tomato-like acidity worked perfectly together. I could have just eaten slices of that all day. I could have, but I didn’t.

Instead I had soft pecorino that added the right amount of salt without taking over like its cousin Parmesan. The salami and cheese with meaty eggplant dressed in some kind of vinegar was a punch in the face in the best kind of way. A phenomenal start to our Florentine food adventure.
After some time off our feet and a few shoe changes, we headed back out in search of gelato to “celebrate our arrival” (I’m sure we’ll come up with another three weeks worth of excuses). We walked down Via Faenza, which is our favorite street at least for today, in search of a well-reviewed shop that we (I) promptly forgot the name of. We settled on the third or fourth shop we came across because its gelato wasn’t in mountains (we were warned about this) and went inside.

We probably paid a little too much, but we chatted, ate out of pretty glass bowls and enjoyed the evening weather after an exhausting day. It was fantastic.

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But the best decision of the evening had to be our stop at a bar/gelato shop run by world’s most enthusiastic shop owner. We think his name was Enrico, but we’ll be returning for confirmation.

We went to Enrico for a glass of wine to end our evening, but we got a whole experience. He wouldn’t let us buy anything we hadn’t tried first. He cut a euro off the price for us. He brought us snacks when we were out enjoying the aforementioned wine at the table outide his shop. We twisted our arms (it didn’t take much) into trying the gelato that he makes on top of running the coffee and alcohol operations all by himself. He also used to dance ballet.

He spoiled us on our first night in the city, and we’ll go see him again.
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Filed under bakeries, Florence, gelato, MU School of Journalism, Science ad Agricultual Journalism, Uncategorized

Got milk? Or, better yet, gelato?

Jordan Bromberg

FLORENCE, Italy – There is no shortage of gelato here in Florence, and I have certainly been enjoying my fair share of the tasty treat. In the more touristy areas of the city – around the Duomo, near Ponte Vecchio and in some of the more popular piazzas, – gelaterias display signs that read “ice cream.” This confused me, at first, as I have always recognized an obvious difference between gelato and ice cream. I have learned, however, that ice cream does, indeed, translate to “gelato” in Italian. While the same word may be used to name the two types of dessert, Italian gelato and American-style ice cream do have several important differences.

The main factor that influences the differences in the taste, texture and nutritional value between gelato and ice cream is fat content. Ice cream, with a heavier, creamier texture and taste, contains more fat. Eggs and cream are used in ice cream, causing its fat content to be higher than that of gelato, which is made with fewer egg yolks than ice cream and is prepared with more milk rather than cream.

The cream used to make ice cream enables air to be whipped into the dessert when it is churned at a fast speed. Gelato is churned at a much slower speed than ice cream. The slower churning and the lack of cream prevent as much air from being whipped into the substance. For this reason, gelato is denser than ice cream. Because it is made with milk rather than cream, gelato has a milky texture while ice cream is creamier.

The amounts of sugar and other ingredients added are not part of what deem a substance gelato or ice cream, but there are undoubtedly some differences in what is included to flavor the dessert.

My favorite gelateria/bakery, ARA’: è Sicilia, located several blocks away from the Duomo on Via Degli Alfan, has been making homemade gelato since it opened about one year ago.

I can taste the fresh, flavorful ingredients in every spoonful of any unique flavor I try. My personal favorite is Madagascar Vanilla with Sicilian Lemon, but flavors like Ricotta and Wild Fennel are surprisingly sweet and tasty, as well.

In a kitchen upstairs, the Sicilian owner makes all of the gelato and bakery items sold. He uses fresh milk from a nearby farm and regularly purchases other ingredients from local markets. All ingredients used are organic and have known origins.

The process used to make gelato and the ingredients that go into prove the Italian version of an American favorite to be less fattening and more nutritious. I am realizing that, while Italians may appear to be consuming just as many unhealthy foods as Americans, many of the foods that they are consuming are prepared in a healthier way with fresher, more natural ingredients.

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Filed under Florence, gelato

Cheese Unity

Rachel Trujillo

FLORENCE, Italy — I strolled down a narrow, stone-laid path, mustering balance on the cobblestone sidewalk. Miniature vehicles disobeyed all rules of the road as they zipped around me, dodging other traffic. A constant rumble of Vespa engines, muffled conversations and a peaceful violin collaborated to form the background music to this city. There were street vendors forcing light-up fans and knock-off bags in my face, too, but undeterred, I was looking for authentic Florence. I found it at Enoteca Lombardi.

Inside this charming shop, deep burgundy salami hung from the ceiling and crowded shelving held packaged meats and cheeses organized into white wicker baskets. A full wall of red and white wine immediately caught my eye as I heard a thick Italian accent emerge from a corner, “Ciao, where are you from?” She greeted us in our native language and proceeded to ask about our academic studies as well each of our hometowns. As we continued our conversation over samples of meats and cheeses, it became clear how culturally savy this woman was. As each new customer entered, they received the same greeting, “Ciao, where are you from?” Without missing a beat she dove into their languages–including Greek, French, and German–creating a unique unification of multiple countries in the small rustic store.

And, as we all gathered around the square, wooden counter where cubed cheese and meats lay, the others customers and I were all unified once more. Unified in a mutual agreement that each sample left our hungry pallets eager for more.

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Filed under Florence, gelato, journalism, regional food, Uncategorized

An Introduction: Gelato

Jenny Janssen

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,

Gelateria Vivoli in Florence, Italy. Can you pick just two flavors?

Gelateria Vivoli in Florence, Italy. Can you pick just two flavors?

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.

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Filed under Florence, gelato, journalism, regional food