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Today, I’ve had gelato for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And as I write this, it’s only 3pm in the afternoon.


It all started on this bright Sunday morning, when I made the onerous hike up to Prati, to Fatamorgana for their daring, wildly-flavored gelati. If you weren’t looking for the place, you’d probably keep going. But being the trooper that I am, in the blazing heat, I pushed past the crowds at the Vatican and trudged upwards toward my goal.

fatamorgana gelato

To say the walk was worth it is putting it mildly. This compact address scoops up some of the most astounding gelato I’ve tasted. I wasn’t quite sure what to order, as there were literally three kinds of frozen zabaglione and nearly ten various riffs on cioccolata.

I decided to go for it and had Kentucky, flavored with chocolate and tobacco, ricotta-coconut, and pure zabaglione. When I took my cup outside and spooned in my first bite, I almost started crying. In fact, I did cry a bit—it was so good.

Fortunately at that hour, no one was awake and I had the sidewalk to myself.) Each mouthful was better than the previous one, and surprising to me, Kentucky turned out to be my favorite. Smoky tobacco mixed with bittersweet chocolate? I can see why people become addicted. I am, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

It’s not a very good photograph, and I suppose I could blame the heat. But in truth, I ate it so fast, it was hard for me to stop eating and now I’m craving more.

Fatamorgana roman vegetables

Rome is always a pretty awkward city for me. I’ve been here a few times, and I’m back again, and each time it takes a few days to get used to the crazy jumble of streets, a good portion of which aren’t marked. Or if they are, names change when you walk a few meters, which make navigating a bit tricky. And most aren’t listed on maps either. Unlike Paris, there’s not much of an underground subway system you can hop on and off of, since every time they start digging around below the surface in Rome, they come across some archeological marvel and have to stop and unearth it with toothbrushes. So you have to relax and just let your feet guide you around the cobblestone streets, being careful to avoid the scooter and cars that aren’t afraid to brush by you are harrowing speeds.


Taking advantage of the disorientation was my “official” cab driver from the airport who somehow forgot the “official” fixed rate, and the fare was a bit higher…like 50% higher, than the rate he was supposed to charge. (In Rome, cabs with SPQR from the airport are supposed to, by law, charge a fixed fare.) After him pretending he had no idea what I was talking about, and me pretending I spoke Italian and explaining the laws of Rome to him, I guess I got off lucky with just a verbal altercation (one word I did get in was “prison”) since some Italian friend recounted to me that they had a cab driver pull out a baseball bat when they scoffed at paying the overcharged cab fare the driver of their taxi insisted on in Naples.

In other bad news (for him), he could be making a helluva lot more money as a model instead of fleecing visitors. I don’t know why he was wasting him time hauling folks around when Dolce & Gabbana would’ve hired him on the spot. But it’s important not to let one bad mele spoil the whole bunch and you have to smile at their moxie for being able to lie with a straight, ruggedly bearded face. And toned, muscular arms.

artichokes in rome chocolate-ricotta tortine

For those of us who aren’t model material, we have to earn an honest living. And my first night in Rome, Elizabeth Minchilli and her husband Domenico were kind enough to host a book signing for me in their Roman courtyard. The weather cooperated and we drank sparkling rosé and nibbled on sesame cookies, crisp flatbread brushed with olive oil and salt, and I popped many giant, meaty green olives in my mouth in between meeting new friends, and seeing a few old ones, in Rome.

ready for dessert

One thing I love about Italy, aside from the fact that everywhere you go people are happy to let you take their photos (except for the cab driver…although I did get a snap of his cab license number…), is that there’s always tons of food. And people don’t make any qualms about eating lots of it. The food is fresh, tasty, and copious.

roma car italian gentleman

Italy has great things. Olives, olive oil, gelato (we’ll get to more of that in a minute), coffee, and chocolate. But one thing I do miss about France when I travel is the bread.

olives and almonds

Italians aren’t necessarily known for are their breads and I have to agree that I’m not really a fan of them. But my Italians say that in Italy, bread is more of an afterthought, something to sop up sauce with, rather than an important component of meals. But I scored when I discovered Roscioli where a wall of crusty, beautiful breads was spread out before me.

italian bread

When you see a sign in Rome that says “Forno”, that means to make a quick and immediate detour inside. Romans are famous for their pizza bianca and Roscioli is every bit as good as its famous rival Forno Campo di Fiori, not too far away.

italian rusks

For breakfast, Italians don’t eat the mountain of bread that some of us do (guilty) and I need more than a few rusks of dried bread to greet the day. So I was happy to find such earthy, grainy breads, including a compact rye loaf, which I was eager to try since I needed something a bit ‘healthy’ to accompany up all the gelato I was sopping up.

rye bread jesus

Aside from my book party, I’m also preparing to lead a few gelato tours with my friends at Context Travel this week. Yesterday, I barely unpacked my half-empty suitcase (which was intentional, so I can bring back bricks of cryo-vac’d Italian coffee to France) and me and my amica Petulia, who is coming on the walks with us, headed out to explore our favorite gelaterias, for a little last-minute quality assurance test.

coffee granita con panna Alberto Pica gelateria

One favorite is Cremeria Monteforte (via della Rotonda, 22), conveniently located just behind the Pantheon. It gets less press than the more famous, larger gelato shops, but when it’s this hot, their espresso granita con panna can’t be beat. Often Americans don’t realize they’re agreeing to a blob of whipped cream when asked if they want it con panna, and they’re always surprised when the cone or cup is handed over with a formidable poof of whipped cream so large that the creamy blob is tipping over the edge. I have to admit that I’m not a huge whipped cream fan, but I’ve learned when in Rome…

euro portions rose gelato

One of the first places I had true Italian gelato during a visit decades ago was Alberto Picaa (via della Seggiola, 12). Not flashy or modern, I love the polished service which includes iced silver dishes and waiters in ties and buttoned-up vests. But the real stars are the interesting flavors, which include rice, manna, rose, and licorice gelati.

The good news is that I get to go back this week, twice (at least), as well as hitting a list of others. And I can’t wait to get into the kitchen at Giolitti, where the masters of gelato are going to show us how they whip up their classic Rome gelato, which they’ve been making for nearly a century. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it’s nice to know that I’ve almost found the limit to how many flavors of gelato I can consume in one giorno.

Related Posts and Links

Espresso di Roma: Sant-Eustachio

Molto Gelati

Rome, Italy

The Ice Cream Shops of Paris

What is gelato?

Rome Gelato (Lonely Planet)

Gelato in Rome (Elizabeth Minchilli)

Tour del Gelato (Ms. Adventures in Italy)

Tasting Rome: Gelato, Pasta, and the Market



    • Erin

    Wow, chocolate and tobacco gelato sounds amazing. I bet it would go really well with a good bourbon on the side.

    • Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy

    Gutted that I missed this :( When is the next “batch” of the gelato tours??

    • Bernadette

    I love gelato and there is no good gelato to be found around where I live! Your entries practically make us feel like we are there with you, David (wishful thinking!). How is your Italian, btw?

    Hey, way to rock those leather pants, too! Smokin’!!

    • Lisa

    David: Love your blog! And I must agree about Cremeria Monteforte — the best gelato I’ve ever eaten, anywhere. But the absolute best thing I ever had there was the almond sorbet. If you like almond flavor, it’s out of this world. Amazingly clean-tasting and refreshing on a hot day in Rome. And best when eaten while sitting on a wall by the Pantheon, watching the crowds go by.

    It seems like a distant (much more refined) ancestor of the yummy almond Italian ices we would get when I was a child, at the little Sicilian bakery in Brooklyn near my father’s store. Only so much better!

    • David

    yes, I am gearing up for them. It’s only been about a day-and-a-half, and I’ve hit nearly ten or so gelaterias…so I am pacing myself!

    • my little expat kitchen

    I too want a gelato!
    Great photographs David.

    • The French

    I still can’t get past the Kentucky! Will you be recreating that in your kitchen so the rest of us can taste? So jealous:)

    Btw – what do Italians typically eat for breakfast?

    And curious if you’re drinking any white wine while you’re there. Italian whites are among my favorites and the reason I started drinking white again. Arneis, Falanghina, Verdicchio…:)

    • martina

    I don’t think you mean infamous do you? “Deserving of or causing an evil reputation; shamefully malign; detestable”

    • Nisrine@Dinners & Dreams

    How dare you say you’re not model material?!:)

    The almonds, olives, ricotta torte, bread, and gelato all look amazing. Te amo Roma!

    • Jessica’s Dinner Party

    I’m writing these down for when I go to Rome (when that will be, who knows?!).

    • Nate

    I’m working in Rome this summer and I just recently stumbled upon Roscioli. They make some damn good pizza with basil, sausage, and mushrooms.

    • Tara

    That Kentucky gelato sounds amazing! Wish I had a trip to Rome planned!

    • snooky doodle

    Wow that gelato must be so yummy, Wish to go to Rome once again. You re not visiting Malta too eh ? wish to have your book signed:) Thanks for publishing nice posts like this I thought I was there while reading it .

    • Alison

    Looking forward to seeing you for our tour on Wednesday! Have you stopped in at the new place on Via del Pie di Marmo? Can’t remember it’s name but it’s where Poggi – the art supply store near the Pantheon – used to sell their paper. Around the corner from Santa Maria sopra Minerva as you come from the Pantheon, first left after this church and it’s 50 meters along on the first corner on the RHS. It was good and they had some trendy flavors but was sad that they had no chocolate on offer when I went.

    • Kristin

    Yum! Have fun!! The chocolate and tobacco sounds amazing!

    • Francheska

    So good you cried???!! I’ve always wanted a religious food experience, something that really deserves a hundred adjectives and a few tears.I love reading about your travels and seriously this post made me crave espresso

    I want to know about the breakfast too btw!

    • krysalia

    I wonder if there is a world record of the most number of ice cream flavors tried in one day… :D

    • Stephen

    Forget the con panna, if you are ever on Dartmoor in Devon, England look out for a Willy’s Ice Cream van and if you see one, ask for a Lady’s Delight which is not your errant taxi driver but a cone of decent vanilla ice cream with a great big dollop of Devon clotted cream on it. and optionally a Cadbury’s (now Kraft) Flake in it.

    • vanillasugar

    ahhh gelato that brings tears to your eyes….yes, you must be in rome.

    • Flavia

    Hi David, Thanks for a great post. My family is from Rome and I’ve spent my entire life traveling there to visit. I’ve enjoyed many a gelato! My husband and I are headed back to Rome in September and I’ve printed out your post so I can visit the “gelaterie” that you recommended in your post. I hope you had a spectacular time in the Eternal City! Grazie!

    • Jenn (Jenn’s Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

    We owned an ice cream stand when I was growing up. We made homemade gelato, so I have also had gelato for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, LOL.

    That bread looks amazing, too!


    • Tammy

    You made me cry, because I’m in the South of France, and the nearest gelateria is way too far away. But I took a batch of fromage blanc that I ineptly attempted to turn into yogurt, and salvaged all the organic stuff by turning it into some creamy lime ice cream. So there’s that, but there’s still labyrinthine, ochre Rome, where I am not. So. Sniff.

    • Lucie

    Oh David, how I love living vicariously through you!!! What a perfect read for a summer Sunday afternoon. The photos are lovely, looking foreword to my travels this summer.

    Thank you for the amazing tart recipe, I can’t wait to make a cherry tart!! Thanks for the inspiration David!!!

    • adamarie

    Being from Kentucky I find it utterly amusing and interesting that there is a gelato flavor named after my state. I NEVER would have thought to pair chocolate and tobacco before, but I’m willing to admit it sounds intriguing. Not sure it sounds good though. I’ll take your word for it.

    • Nora

    David, I can’t wait for your posting on Giolitti!

    • Ciaochowlinda

    Oh how I yearn to be back in Rome eating gelato. I never ran across the Monteforte gelato place, but it’s now on my list. Another one that’s off most people’s radar but is worth every lick, is GiorgiaGel, on a little side street in Trastevere. Funny cabbie story.

    • Hannah

    I visited Italy (Florence mostly) for the first time this year and my my my, the gelato was amazing. I tried some fantastic licorice and many scoops of pistachio, but never did I find a tobacco flavoured gelato. I’ve been gypped! :D

    P.S. When are you doing your first food tour in Australia? ;)

    • Cooking in Mexico

    Tobacco in gelato?! This is a new one for me. Is is mildly energizing?
    Thank you for giving us a little visit to Rome with you.


    • DessertForTwo

    Does this inspire you to write another ice cream cookbook? ;)
    I love when you take us on vacation with you through your blog! So fun!

    • Sue Sartini

    Oh, David, you and I could be so happy together.

    I made your strawberry sour cream ice cream yesterday and after eating it last night, had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner tonight. The strawberries were fresh and juicy — right out of my garden.

    I can’t decide whether I like your chocolate or strawberry ice cream better.

    • kathryn

    Tabacco? In gelato? How is this done? More details, please.

    • Adriana

    Madre de Dios! I’m reading this at 2:30 am and wishing I could catch a flight to Rome in the next few hours. It’s been ages since I was there, and your post just made me cry! I think I will put it on my list of possible just turned (a certain unmentionable number) birthday present ideas……I’m not a great tobacco fan, but you made it sound so amazing that I would gladly give it a try.

    • Carol from Chicago

    I love your blog, you are the funniest and best writer, I so look forward to each and every blog, thank you

    • chuck

    I’m making some malted milk ball ice cream right now. I’m going to throw in some pipe tobacco just for kicks.

    • Christine Hanson

    Oh my – Italy and gelato! So many cioccolato choices that you had. Would love to hear more flavors combos, as it was a deep cioccolato all’arancia that I experiences in a small shop in Milano that inspired me to launch my fudge confectionary. Tell us more.

    • Mariangela

    I went to Fatamorgana 3 years ago. Our taxi driver was incredulous we wanted to travel to that neighborhood at night (it was early fall). We had him wait for us after he made us a little scared. It was so worth the trip. We had the Kentucky and a couple other flavors – just incredible. Glad you cried too.

    • Skippy

    I spent my junior year of college at a university in England, which meant that me and my best friend traveled around the continent during our spring break. We got to Florence and had some gelato soon after arriving. I asked my friend, “How many times a day can we have gelato?” We realized that we could have it as often as we wanted. I swear, pathetic as this sounds, I remember this as a moment in my life where I realized I was a grown up–the fact that I could have gelato all day and no one could stop me.

    • paula brand

    You reminded me what it is about Italy that I find the most annoying….
    Your story about your taxi driver is a common story.
    They are loud, expressive, affectionate, colorful and delicious people.
    Walk down the streets and everyone is on the phone. The word “pronto”
    is heard more than the word gracie.
    I love Italy, the food is wonderful and the energy is wild but those Italians
    are as crazy as their honking vespas

    • David

    paula: A lot of Europeans have asked me if all Americans carry guns, and many think we all eat at McDonald’s three times a day. A majority of the Italians are nice folks, but there’s always a few bad apples in every culture and country.

    The cab drivers from Ciampino airport are noted for trying to fleece tourists, so I was glad that I know that law. Allegedly the government is cracking down on them, but it doesn’t seem to be having much effect…

    Hannah: Would love to come to Australia, especially since some good friends recently moved back there. Find someone that wants me to come..and I’m on my way! : )

    Nate: Yes, their pizza is great too. They have a wine bar/restaurant a block away that apparently makes a fantastic carbonara, but I tried to go after my book event and they didn’t have any available seats. Will have to go back.

    • Chef Dylan


    I need to get my butt back to Italy, I remember the food being awesome but your pics have reminded me much more vividly of what I am missing!

    There is a little thing with finishing culinary school first…

    Time to make it rain!


    • Kelly-Jane

    I enjoyed that post, you are great at doing travel posts too.

    • Reemski

    I’ve had tobacco ice cream recently in a restaurant in Wellington, New Zealand called the Matterhorn. It was served with a rum baba and figs. Stunning.

    • Eleonora

    You made me laugh at the taxi driver description.

    I know, Fatamorgana’s Kentucky is weeping material, I’ve been known to cry over many a scoop.

    But I’m sure you’ll include Gelateria del Teatro in your gelato tours as well, at least for the pleasure of discovering the surprisingly well-matched Nero d’Avola and bitter chocolate, or the romantic Fragoline (wild strawberries) and Spumante. Or the Sage and Raspberries that grace the spring counter at this wonderful wonderful wonderful gelateria artigianale.

    I’m so sorry I missed the book signing event! Boo.
    Can other docents join your tours? ;)

    • Andrea

    I’m mint chocolate chip green with ice cream envy!
    That sounds like one great trip and brings back a fun memory:
    on his last day of freedom before he started school my son and I ate nothing but ice cream all day long and found out that it’s simly not possible to overdose.

    I had an interesting dessert the other day – a sweet Stilton ice cream with a small Waldorf salad on the side. Sounds weird but it was amazing.

    Have a great time, wish I could be there.

    • Lalla

    Try the Gelateria dei gracchi next time you’re in Rome. The nut gelati ( pistacchio, nocciole, crema di nocciole etc) are wonderful.

    • nyc/caribbean ragazza

    David, it was great to meet you at the book signing.

    I started to read the book and I’m a little overwhelmed. I don’t know which recipe to try first.

    Gelateria del Teatro is one of my favorites in Rome. So fresh and delicious.

    As soon as I can get my act together and download my pictures, I’ll write a post about the event.

    A presto,


    • eleni

    I am 1/2 Italian… and Rome the birthplace of my nonna, is in my heart… and shhhh…. please do not say to the Romans that as a small child (around 6-7 years old) I once “pee pee” in Piazza Navona with my cousin when it was empty of water – bad little children, neither my parents knew then!!!
    I am happy that you are there, give a BIG kiss behind you, to Rome the day you leave…. Thanks for sharing this to me/us!!!

    • Linda H

    You are so right about the streets! I spent an entire week trying to find Alinari, a shop of fantastic vintage photographs of Italy (Italian firemen, too), and found it completely by accident after I had stopped searching. The street was barely an indentation of another street.
    Taxi drivers! One of mine was so late and got so lost on the way to the airport that he actually refused money out of embarrassment.
    I love Rome.

    • Claudia

    Hi David, Gourmet Magazzine did an issue of Rome, where to dine (Al Moro) classic restaurant amazing spaghetti, and of course gelatto the only one I can remember was Al setimo cielo or something like the 7th heaven near the Vatican, go and eat all you can and make us (readers) jealous of your good life. Beautiful city, and wishing to go back.


    Hi David!
    I’m Maria, an italian girl who is a big disaster in the kitchen,I’m trying to redeem myself from this status and I want to tell you that I learn a lot from your blog, thank you for sharing your talent with us(and sorry for the bad english!)!

    P.S:Giolitti’s ice cream is the best I have ever tasted (last summer sasha and malia,obama’s daughters, went there and made their own ice cream!) and if you go there, try also the GRANITA with Fichi and More,it is unforgettable!

    • April @ Sweet Harvest

    Gelato three times before 3:00?!?! Sounds like a pretty miserable ‘day at the office’ if you ask me ;-) Enjoy for the rest of us!

    • stefano arturi

    hi there and well done for your cool blog
    I was in Rome last week and I finally had the chance to taste the pizza from: Pizzarium (metro: Cipro), right now the hottest pizza al trancio in Roma. Check it out David, it is really good. The guy who owns the shop is called Gabriele Bonci: he is a tv regular and he really knows his trade. It is tiny shop (they also serve good beers and a really good soft drink called Chinotto (Lurisia Brand)). I also had a rather good rice suppli’.
    At Pizzarium they use a high-hydratation dough that makes a spectacular pizza al trancio
    via della melloria 43
    (and no, for the records, I Am not connected to the business, I just speak as a fan)(sorry to say that, overall, the ice-cream in Rome is not a patch to the ice-cream we have here in Milano). ciao and thanks for your good writing and recipes. stefano

    • Caffettiera

    Being Italian, I could not agree more on comments saying that Italy is a great place, apart from Italians.. we do have a lot of nice qualities, but we hide them well. I don’t think Italians are on average worse than other people, we are just not that smart: what is the point in trying to rip off a tourist or two, thus creating a bad reputation, and losing in this way much more potential tourism!? This attitude does drive me crazy!

    Having said that, I am happy to see that a lot of readers managed to focus anyway on what we can offer for positive experiences; and yes, there is no gelato like the Italian one anywhere else in the world. And don’t forget pizza al taglio, although with the heat, I can see gelato is more of an appealing option.

    @ The French: Italians usually have cappuccino and cornetto (croissant), standing at the bar. If you have breakfast at home, you usually have biscotti and coffee with milk. We don’t eat much at breakfast. This is the traditional way – of course then, today a lot of people will do something different.

    • Icy Violet

    i love reading your blog and i officially want your life! keep living it for me so i can keep following you doing it. :)

    • Rachel’s Cottage House

    Ah! Love the food! It looks so good, and the gelato with the creamy whipped creamy and waffle waffer looks spectacular!

    • Nathalie (spacedlaw-spacedlawyer)

    The cremolato al’ cioccolato from Cremeria is to die for. FataMorgana is a little away from my usual beats but I am taking note of it. One day…

    • Georgia Pellegrini

    I sure do wish I could go on one of your Gelato tours…

    • Merisi

    I feel so homesick now that I have so unexpectedly encountered Rome on your pages! Che bella sorpresa! :-)

    So many places I’d love to recommend, I’ll leave it at one:
    FRANCHI’s at Via Cola di Rienzo 200

    For years I used to get my merendina there in the morning,
    una rosetta con prosciutto di Parma and mozzarella di bufala.
    Simple, but oh so good! They don’t make them routinely anymore, modern times have arrived there too, with pre-packaged sandwiches, but if you ask them they may do you the favor. Or try telling them that “mi manda Marianna” – they may pretend to remember. ;-)

    If you go there before noon, you may encounter an impeccably dressed gentleman observing the scene: It is Sig. Franchi sen., surveying what he created.

    Next door is Castroni, coffee bar and home to food treasures from all over the world, the only place in Rome to find jellied cranberry sauce in the old times (yes, that tin can with the big “O”). Their coffee is outstanding, their croissants (cornetto) are my favorites. Ask for a Marocchino, a cappuccino with chocolate dusting.

    I wished …..

    Thanks. I love both of those places as well. The prices can be a bit jaw-dropping, but the quality is so impressive. And I love having espresso at Castroni’s counter. -dl

    • tricia

    San Crispino is the place for gelato with meringue….locations near Pantheon and near Trevi – no cones, only paper cups….outstanding gelato. the grapefruit flavour tastes like the best grapefruit you’ve ever eaten ! yummm

    • Tags

    Y’know, I always thought Peter Heering liqueur tasted like it had a little tobacco in it.

    D’ya think?

    • Rosanna

    Ah, I remember eating loads of gelato in Rome as well! I have family there and am due for a visit soon; You make me jealous;)

    • Maureen

    I am crying here in Kentucky just reading this! It sounds wonderful. We usually put in bourbon, but I am willing to try the tobacco flavor. Gelato three times in one day?! I am homesick for Italy (my father’s family is from Tuscany) but most of all for the delicious gelato. I much prefer Florence to Rome, but am enjoying your descriptions immensely. Grazie!

    • Alex

    I’ll be in Italy in 2 weeks and cannot wait to get my gelato fix! Just had to comment on a few of the comments regarding Italians. Yes, I’ve been ripped off a few times by cab drivers and once paid $14 for a slice of pizza in Rome before I could figure out the lira/dollar conversion but those experiences were nothing compared to the amazing generosity, kindness and affection I’ve been shown year after year. I may be biased but the thing I love most about Italy is actually the Italians. Ok and the gelato and pizza and spectacular scenery also.

    • Muscaria

    Welcome to Italy! :-)

    You had enough suggestions about ice creams and so on, so I will give you just a little hint, since you are missing bread.

    It is a very simple thing, nothing fancy, but just good.
    If you have the time, in the middle of the afternoon (or when you like it the most) try a rosetta with salami
    (rosetta con salame, in italian)

    Rosetta is this kind of bread

    It tastes really great, especially if you find a soft one (full inside, and not empty like a choux puff)
    You just cut it and put some slices of good salami inside.
    And remember: the slices have to be never less than five, the more the better!

    And here a trick for the next time you’ll be in Rome and you need to face a taxidriver: entering in the car check if you see a little flag or stick, or anything that makes you notice one of these two couple of colours:

    1) If it is white and light blue, he is a Lazio supporter (football)

    2) If it is yellow and red (or orange and dark red) he is a supporter of Roma (football again)

    Act like you LOVE the team he supports, and you can be 99% sure he is not gonna cheat or be rude!
    I mean, it is the only weak point they have (and it is a big weak point) you can kick hard on that!

    Buon appetito! :-D

    • David

    tricia: Their caramel-meringue gelato is, indeed, astounding (and worth the little bit of attitude, too…)

    stefano: Pizzarium is one of my favorite places in the world and is definitely on the agenda for today. I’d heard they got more attention, but I think their out of the way location will always keep it special. The potato pizza is the best!

    caffeterria: It’s too bad, since the airport (and the taxi to or from there) are the first & last impressions that people have of a place. I know the government was trying to crack down on the taxis trying to overcharge, but the Italian government is in a bit of a disarray itself (from the President downward..) so it might be hard..

    • kara mathis

    David, I had such a great time on the tour, and now you’ve made an addict out of me for that espresso granita we had with the whipped cream-I thought about that all night, and of course the white peach gelato we made at Giolitti (hope I spelled that right)!

    Thanks again for a great time and it was great meeting you!

    • Celeste

    Alberto Pica’s pistaccio is tops, as is the grumpy evening counter guy, a true Roman. Have you tried the fruit flavors at Gelateria della Teatro? Via di San Simone, 70, and the crema della nonna (caramelized pine nut) must surely rank as one of the best in Rome. Don’t miss Gelateria Corona, on via Arenula, where you can get vin santo w/biscotti. To wander the streets of Rome at night, eating gelato…a sublime pleasure.

    • David

    kara: So fun to have you along and glad that you liked the tour! We also got a lesson in “Italian Time”, too, although I think the caramel meringue gelato was worth the wait…I went back today for more. Is that wrong?? : )

    Celeste: I did go to Gelateria del Teatro and will write about it in the next post. It wasn’t what I was expecting…

    • Anna

    A bit of the “diet muscle milk” advertised in the sidebar will have us all model material in no time! ;)

    • Mayte

    I enjoyed the ride through a city that I miss, and I love the way how you take us through the streets… is a delight.

    The gelato is my great sin, and you one of my favorites with your recipes on them.

    A big kiss from Mexico.

    • bg

    It’s a proven fact–eating gelato three meals a day provides all the required nutrients
    a person needs.
    Enjoy–keep on going!

    • Italian postcards

    I love that you cry over gelatto.
    Tomorrow I am participating in the Maratona del gelato, literally a marathon of gelato eating. It’s spread all over Torino and you walk from gelatoria to gelatoria tasting their best flavors. Last year it took me about 3 hours and I discovered carmalized figs and ricotta gelato, which was worth crying over for sure.

    • adrian

    wow! I remember the day I could put away 10 or more scoops of ice cream. You’re living a dream. Well, if you ever think of coming to Munich I’ll pay for your gelato ( This gelato is supposed to be as good as the gelato in S. Gimignano.
    Enjoy the rest of your time in Rome!

    • adrian

    oops! sorry, go ahead and delete that last comment of mine with the URL. I just read your policy (too late, sorry again).

    • The Teacher Cooks

    Oh my- gelato breakfast, lunch and dinner. You are leading the life I want.

    • Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen

    Have a ball! jh

    • perry

    … once had five cups of “Italian” cocoa in one day (the pudding kind). Was in Milan after a week of trail mix in the Dolomites (they say altitude reduces appetite? … all I wanted when I came down was chocolate and vegetables.)

    Kentucky? …two of the best things in the world–tobacco and sugar–together at last… if there was coffee in there, it would be a complete vice.

    • Enzo

    In a previous life, yonks ago, I spent five years in Rome. About Prati district, I don’t remember it as particularly exciting. You might be the first tourists in the last decade but it seems that the Fata Morgana Gelateria is really worth the journey.
    Not far from Giolitti there use to be an ice cream parlor called, I could be wrong, La Palma. They had a huge selection of flavours, some of them rather eccentric for that time: salami, zucchini, carrot. I thought they were strange things to attract tourists with weird food habits so I didn’t dare to try them and stayed loyal to Giolitti.
    Have a great time in Rome.

    • Goodie Girl

    I don’t know if it’s the pictures or how you describe things that make me so infatuated with them! All of this sounds so divine. Even the bread looks like heaven (and I am trying to stay carb free for my upcoming wedding)!


    • Brian Ellerbeck

    Wonderful post, David, thank you. I can still recall the wonderful accident I had last year, stumbling into La Sorbetteria Castiglione in Bologna on a hot July afternoon after overly much walking, on a day in which it was nearly 40 degrees centigrade. The gelato was a medicinal, really, a salve to repair body and soul after the ravages of heat and fatigue had taken their toll. My own gelato strategy in Italy differs from yours, insofar as I like to “test” the worthiness of a gelato by trying either the strawberry or peach flavors. If these are worthwhile I’ll venture to more adventurous fare. In any event,gelato’s voluptuousness is clearly a cause for celebration, and I’m pleased to learn of your excursions with same in Rome (taxi drivers notwthstanding).

    • Brian Ellerbeck

    Wonderful post, David, thank you. I can still recall the wonderful accident I had last year, stumbling into La Sorbetteria Castiglione in Bologna on a hot July afternoon after overly much walking, on a day in which it was nearly 40 degrees centigrade. The gelato was a medicinal, really, a salve to repair body and soul after the ravages of heat and fatigue had taken their toll. My own gelato strategy in Italy differs from yours, insofar as I like to “test” the worthiness of a gelato by trying either the strawberry or peach flavors. If these are worthwhile I’ll venture to more adventurous fare. In any event,gelato’s voluptuousness is clearly a cause for celebration, and I’m pleased to learn of your excursions with same in Rome (taxi drivers notwthstanding).

    • 5am Foodie

    Is it not mandatory for every visitor to Rome (and indeed anywhere in Italy) to eat gelati AT LEAST twice a day? I thought it was… tell me I’m not mistaken!

    • Douglas Losey

    Having just finished reading “The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious – and Perplexing – City”, I am now focused on the humor that can be found in exploring new places. So when you mentioned the cab driver in Rome I immediately flashed to Roberto Benigni in Jim Jarmusch’s “Night on Earth”. I can not attest to the film’s accuracy but Benigni is one of the funniest people alive and his Roman cab driver is crazy.

    • mitzimi

    Chocolate and tobacco? How does one cook with tobacco? Where would you get it and how would you use it? Infuse the milk and cream with it?
    How very intriguing … I’d love to try it – it’s not an ice cream flavor I’d ever have dreamed of!

    Thanks for all the gorgeous photographs, too – they’d make anyone hungry!

    • pepovst

    David, evocative and mouth-watering post… Would love to hear your take on how to make the tobacco, chocolate etc gelato (‘Kentucky’, at Fatamorgana) – please try and post!

    • pepovst

    have just read some of the preceding responses – the caramelised fig and ricotta gelato idea sounds fantastic too – if you ever try your hand at it, please post that too!!!

    • marge

    Hi David, this is the first time I’m commenting on any blog ever but I couldn’t resist because I love gelato as well. I was there 2 years ago and I went to this amazing place called San Crispino near the Trevi Fountain. It was amazing and she was like the soup Nazi only it was gelato.

    • Diane@2stews

    Ah….Kentucky gelato in Rome, I’d love to know how this evolved. It sounds curiously delicious! My son had gletao a few days ago in Boston. He wanted the Nutella flavor and they only had 1 scoop left, so he added Thai coconut to it. He said it was a heavenly combination!

    Thanks for the little visit to Rome….would’ve loved to have been there for your Gelato Tours :-)

    • Marcia

    Gelato food of the Gods, dreaming of excellent Gelato, but no funds for tripping to Italy. How do I recreate heaven on earth when living in Northern….very Northern…California. Is there an ice cream maker that even comes close to producing the rich creaminess of Italian gelato? And what really is it that makes one Gelato so much better than another…

    • Mary

    I read online that Fatamorgana is no longer in business – possibly as of June 10th. Is that correct?

    • David

    Mary: They closed their shop by the Pyramid, but the one in Prati is open. You can likely find the most current information about them also on their site for confirmation. Enjoy!

    • Aaron

    I remember when I eat a gelato near Fontana di Trevi, it was really a lot for 2 euros. You shoul go and review that one.

    • David

    You didn’t mention the name of the place, but perhaps you’re talking about San Crispino, which is certainly a favorite of mine as well. And I did feature in my post: Tasting Rome: Gelato, Pasta, and the Market

    • Francesco at Limo Tours Rome

    I use to go to Castroni when I’m near to the Vatican city, there the coffee is really good

    • letitia

    Hi David, by chance do you have any recommendations on accommodations in Rome? I’m planning an impromptu trip to Rome in 3 weeks and would love your opinion if you have a minute.

    Thanks so much!


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