I never thought I'd say there was a drawback to living so close to one of my favorite gelaterie (ice cream shops) until I realized that I wasn't open to trying any new ones. I'm picky with food in general and even more so when it comes to sweets. I don't like to waste calories on eating anything that I don't like. I also prefer gelaterie artigianali, which means that the gelato (ice cream) is usually made on the premises and not in large quantities. Today, I decided to try a gelateria that's even closer to my house only after I discovered that they made the gelato themselves.
Gelateria Cillo opened a little over a year ago on via dei Neri, but because of its modern and well-lit interior, a sign that boasts free wi-fi, and another electronic sign hanging over the door with messages flashing in red letters, I just assumed that the ice cream wasn't artigianale. In centro (Downtown), many gelaterie have opened up over the past couple of years. With their well sculpted mounds of gelato in colors that seemed too intense, I was turned off immediately.
I have two favorite gelaterie in Florence, but I enjoy different flavors at each one. At Grom, I like the strawberry, marrons glacées, green tea with chocolate chips, and raspberry. At Gelateria dei Neri, I love their mango, ricotta with figs, and cream. At both, I enjoy their chocolate gelato.
When I walk past Gelateria Cillo, I typically see students hanging out with their laptops open taking advantage of the free wi-fi. When I walked past the other day, I finally read the electronic sign that said, "Gelateria artigianale" and realized that I should go in for a taste. Alessandro had already been this last summer and liked it, but I was faithful to my favorite gelateria on the same street.
After lunch today, I walked in and looked at the gelato in the glass case. It was hard to tell the quality of the gelato, but I checked out one a little longer. The pistachio gelato was a brownish green, which is more accurate than the bright green I've seen in other gelaterie.
When the older gentleman walked up to me to ask me what I'd like, I said, "Non sapevo che la tua gelateria era artigianale. I didn't know that your ice cream shop was artisanal." "Sì, sì, facciamo tutto noi. Compriamo le banane al mercato di Sant'Ambrogio, le arancie sono di Sicilia e poi usiamo il latte Mukki. Yes, yes, we make everything ourselves. We buy the bananas at the Mercato di Satn'Ambrogio, oranges from Sicily and we use Mukki milk." (The Mukki brand milk is a popular brand from Tuscany.)
He offered a taste of any flavor, but I had my mind set on the mango. I asked him for a cup with mango and crema (cream), which he said is made like crema pasticciera (pastry cream) with egg.
I tasted my gelato quickly while I was inside the gelaterie, but I wanted to go home and enjoy it slowly. Before saying goodbye and walking out, I told the man that I liked his gelato and that I'll be coming back. He seemed pleased and not surprised.
To consider the new gelateria as a favorite, I'll need to go back to taste a few other flavors. When I return, I might have to walk down the street to my other favorite gelateria and compare. To do a more complete comparison, I'll have to walk to walk one block away to via dei Benci where I just noticed that Gelateria la Carraia, another of my favorites, opened up a second gelateria.
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