Move over Froyo, Italian gelato is here to stay. Made of milk, cream, sugar, flavorings (such as nuts and fruits), and air, it has less butterfat content than regular ice cream, making it a healthier alternative as far as frozen desserts go without the x-factor. In Italy, it is normally sold in humble surroundings with a Fred Flintstone-like atmosphere and alcoholic décor all around. We may lack the ambiance and the 5,000-year-old buildings, but there is still delectable gelato to be found in San Diego.
In La Jolla, the gelato movement continues with the advent of Gelateria Frizzante, where flavors range from the traditional (tiramisu and pistachio) to the completely unorthodox (pumpkin). On the walls are pictures of Italian cities and landmarks taken by its owners who travel abroad to attend international gelato conferences. Like the MacWorld of gelato makers and connoisseurs, gelato conferences allow people to share and exchange recipes and learn what’s new and exciting in the world of gelato.
For those interested in learning how to make gelato—and willing to travel to do so—the Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna, Italy, is the place to be. Forget Basketweaving 101 class, Gelato University is dedicated to the art and traditional production of gelato. The texture is creamy and dense and the taste is rich, and for those that gravitate toward fruity and sweet, there is also a selection of sorbet-type flavors to sample. In Italy, traditional milk-based gelato hails from the north where cities such as Florence and Milan create creamier varieties, and water-based sorbettos have their origins in southern towns such as Naples and Sicily. Gelato University covers it all, and at the end of the day, the homework is edible.
With its rich flavor and texture gelato in Italy is a way of life. While San Diego may not take it quite to the same extreme (gelato waffle cone chairs anyone?), it is still a delectable dessert becoming more available, and authentically so. At the very least, there’s a free sample at stake just a short walk from the La Jolla Cove.