No matter where in Italy you travel, you absolutely have to try the gelato.
I think one of the best things about Italian gelato is that it is everywhere. I noticed that there was a gelateria on every street corner in Florence, and I’m happy to report that the little shops are no less scarce in other parts of the country.
On our way to our hotel in Siena, we stopped in the village of San Gimignano. A medieval town about 45 minutes outside of Florence, it used to be a popular stop on many of the pilgrimage routes throughout Italy. Today, you can get a real feel of how the village used to look in the Middle Ages, while enjoying a number of boutiques and specialty food shops that line the quaint cobblestone streets.
We had some free time to walk around, but not before our Tour Director gave us a quick introduction to the village and, most importantly, numerous samples of the BEST gelato. We tried a flavor made with saffron (a spice popular in the area), one made with ricotta cheese and blueberries and another made with Tuscany’s famous Brunello wine.
This might have been the best gelato I’ve tasted. It was rich, smooth and creamy, without feeling too heavy. The flavors really shone through, which surprised me—especially for the saffron with pine nuts. I ended up getting a cone with one scoop of the ricotta with blueberry and one scoop of nutella, because who can say no to nutella flavored gelato?
Melissa is tasting her way through Food & Wine: Flavors of Tuscany and Umbria. Follow along as she checks off all of her food-centric to-dos.