Sunday, March 1, 2009

in Sicily? eat gelato!


I chuckled when I read Valerie from 2 Baci in a Pinon Tree quote the well known saying that 'the further south you go, the better the coffee gets'. From her perspective in the Naples area, that saying is no doubt true. But down here in Sicily we are a long way from the amazing coffee culture of that region. Not that the coffee here is bad, just never as good as what I've sampled in Naples and possibly even Rome. 

But, if you use that same line of thinking for a different food subject, that of gelato, for instance, I think I would have to shout YES! CORRECT! RIGHT ON! 

Down here in Sicily I have tasted the most incredible gelato. I am sure this topic could be (and has been) hotly debated. This is a personal and subjective proclamation. And, as with most of the things I discuss here, I am no expert on the subject of gelato, I can only tell you that my taste buds have experienced the greatest delight over certain gelatos I have had the fortune of savoring here in Sicily.

One that comes to mind and that I posted on here is the pistachio flavored gelato produced in the town of Bronte. This area cultivates and sells pistachio in every conceivable form. Its pistachio gelato is packed full of creamy flavor that may be unique as it is created in the very place that is producing the main ingredient. 
 
But the whole reason I felt the need to share my gelato point of view is the mouth watering fun had on our recent outing to one of the top gelateria of Catania, Bar Ernesto. Although I am naturally drawn to fruit flavors, I have learned from my husband and now tend to pick the flavors that are most indigenous to this area and reflect the seasonal offerings. This boils down to choosing the flavors that have the greatest potential to be made from 100% fresh and locally produced ingredients. 

At Ernesto's this time of year that means our flavors of choice are ricotta (yes, as in the cheese) and the house speciality, cannella (cinnamon), with pistacchio close behind in third place. When tasting these flavors it is as if you are eating the real thing, just improved by the sweet, creamy and cold wonderfulness known as gelato. These flavors may sound strange, but I can assure you they are absolutely wonderful and absolutely Sicilian.

Given my passion for fruit flavors, I have to mention that come warmer months I will be strictly ordering fig, prickly pear and wild strawberry flavored gelato. 

10 comments:

  1. If the gelato gets even a little better than here, I am packing my bags and knocking at your door soon! I love gelato, every single flavor, but I order pistachio almost every time. The gelateria just opened again, after the cold months, so my world is looking brighter by the day!

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  2. Gelato is music to my ears. Gelato is much better than ice cream here in the US. Yes, we also have gelato, but it is very expensive and not as flavorful or creamy as gelato from Italy. My favorite flavor was amarena.

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  3. Here in Sicily, the best gelato that I've tasted so far has been at Gelatomania in Taormina. I need to try the one that you mentioned in Catania. There is only one other Italian city where I have eaten gelato better than Sicilian Gelato. It was at La Cremeria in Cesena. Their flavors change daily, and are very creative. I had marscapone con aceto balsamico, paired with a scoop of fragolina. To die for!!! Now that the weather is getting nicer, I thing it's time to go on a Sicilian gelato pilgrimage to decide which gelaterie and flavors are best :-)

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  4. interesting about the coffee,as i feel we dont have good coffee in crete either; the best coffee i drink on a regular basis is one made by me to my personal tastes (ie at home)

    my first sight of a gelateria was in rome, nothing has come as close to that for me ever since

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  5. I think you're right about the best flavors always being whatever is local. At the gelateria we like to go to, the chestnut gelato is the best because the town where it's located produces chestnuts.

    Cinnamon, I'd love to try that!

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  6. Aw, too bad about the coffee thing! Here south of Salerno it's truly amazing. But the gelato could be improved. Ricotta gelato is delish, but looking at that photo and seeing Cannolo gelato make my heart flutter! Will you taste it and get back to me? That alone may be worth the trip to Sicily. :)

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  7. I was encouraged by friend while living in Italy to try licorizia e limone. At first I said "yuck" but it turned out to be a favourite.

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  8. Beatriz, you should pack your bags and make the trip--there is more than just gelato to try!
    Marsalamia, thank you so much for the gelato recommendation for Taoromina! I can't wait to give it a try the next time I go for a visit, and do keep me posted on any other Sicilian discoveries you make!
    Valerie, now that you mention it, i may have to try the cannolo gelato :)!

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  9. I live right near the gelateria Fassi in Rome - it's kind of an institution here but apparently their recipe comes originally from Sicily.

    I've been to Sicily twice - the food is so yummy there. And everyone was so friendly after Rome.

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  10. Great post. You've reminded me I have some in the fridge. 'Bye....

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