Everything You Need To Know About Gelato In Italy (And Then Some)

Everything You Need To Know About Gelato In Italy (And Then Some)

Warning: this post will most likely make you crave gelato
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Italy is incredible for more reasons than one. Studying abroad in Florence has been one of the greatest things I have ever experienced. Italy is known around the world for their amazing food. I feel like the past three weeks I have eaten more pasta than I have in my entire life. Before I came to Italy, everyone told me that I was going to love the gelato. After all, ice cream is one one of my main food groups in the States.

I’ve been in Italy for three weeks now, and I can count on one hand the number of times I haven’t had gelato. It is incredibly rare that I go a full 24 hours without eating gelato. It’s so good I decided to write an article about it so that everyone will be fully prepared for whenever the time comes to consume the best food in the world.

The word gelato means “frozen” in Italian. A gelateria (plural=gelaterie) is the name for a place that sells in gelato in Italy. One can find a gelateria in Italy as often as one can find a coffee shop or a gas station in the United States. Italians understand that gelato is a staple and thus, you will never walk more than 3 blocks before coming across a gelateria.

So what is gelato and how is it different from ice cream?

Gelato is made from a base of milk, cream and sugar, and is flavored usually with chocolate, fruit, nut purees and other flavors. Ice cream, as its name suggests, has a lot more cream than gelato does. Rather than cream, most gelato is made with whole milk, less cream and usually no egg yolks. By Italian law, gelato must have at least 3.5% butterfat. Ice cream in the United States is required to have at least 10% butterfat.

As an avid consumer of ice cream, I can confidently say that gelato is far better than any ice cream I have ever tasted. Gelato is churned with less air than other frozen desserts, and contains more flavoring – which accounts for the density and richness of gelato. Also, gelato is typically stored in warmer temperatures than ice cream, anywhere form 7 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit, compared to ice cream, which is stored anywhere from 0 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The soft, silky taste of gelato is due in part to the higher storage temperatures. Gelato also has a lower fat content than ice cream, which is always a bonus!

Ordering gelato in Italy is slightly different than how one would order ice cream in the United States. The biggest difference is that it is common-practice to pay for your gelato at the cash register first and then present your receipt to the person who is serving the gelato. It is imperative that you tell the person the number of flavors, or “gusti,” you would like. The more flavors, the smaller portions of each one, but it will still be the same amount of gelato. This is a wonderful benefit for individuals who may be indecisive or wanting a taste of more than one flavor.

Below are some of the most common flavors found in gelaterie, with the English translation:

Cioccolato (chocolate)

Bacio (chocolate hazelnut)

Pistacchio (Pistachio)

Mandorla (almond)

Nocciola (plain hazelnut, not combined with chocolate)

Cocco (coconut)

Zabione or Crema (egg custard)

Fragola (strawberry)

Lampone (raspberry)

Limone (lemon)

Mandarino (orange)

Melone (cantaloupe)

Albicocca (apricot)

Fico (fig)

Mela (apple)

Pesca (peach)

Stracciatella (vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips)

As a self-proclaimed professional gelato connoisseur, I have a few final pieces of advice. First and foremost, it is completely acceptable (and even recommended) to have gelato more than once a day. Compared to the United States, things in Italy are much smaller in scale. That being said, the smallest size is actually small. If you make the (excellent) choice of having gelato after lunch and dinner, or even as an afternoon snack, you can plan your flavors according to the time of day. Personally, I love fruit flavors in the afternoon. The summer heat in Florence is unforgiving; you step outside, take 3 steps and you’re sweating profusely. Fresh, fruity gelato is the perfect way to cool down and feel refreshed. In the evenings, I generally choose a more decadent flavor. My personal favorite is Nutella, but bacio and nocciola are amazing too. If you happen to be in Florence, do yourself a favor and hit up Gelateria de Neri, also known as my heaven on Earth.

Cover Image Credit: Gabriela DiCristoforo

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If You Give A Girl A Little Brother

You've given her the world.
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I remember back to my childhood, standing at the top of the steps yelling down to my parents "Why did you decide to have another child?" I remember riding in the backseat yelling "Mom, was I not good enough for you?" as my brother threw snow at me .

I remember crying when my mom made us share our first cell phone. I remember playing in a pool at a waterpark, and my dad couldn't play with me because my brother couldn't swim and needed my dad to be with him. I played by myself, thinking "They must have not wanted a girl when they only pay attention to him."

But now, at almost 22, I realized that the best gift God has ever given me was my little brother.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a pain in her ass.

Oh, he'll be annoying. He'll get in the shower just because you said you were going to. He'll start talking every time you do. He'll pull stupid pranks, he'll make you listen to bogus music, he'll make you watch stupid tv shows, he'll smell up the bathroom (and probably smell himself.) and boy, I promise there will be day's you will resent him. But he's just training for living with your husband one day.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a role.

As a big sister, I had somebody copying all my moves. If I did something, so did he. If I didn't eat something, neither did he. If I didn't like somebody neither did he. He was like a little shadow that did everything I did, so I was always motivated to make good choices and make him proud of me.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a rough side.

I wouldn't have done half the things I did if it wasn't for him. Play basketball in the drive way, spend hours on our bikes, spend the summer days in the pool, or down at the park. I wouldn't have learned that it's okay to get in the dirt and have some fun. I wouldn't have played half the made up, imaginary games we played every day. I wouldn't have played with Hot Wheels, or Lincoln Logs, or Leggo's. I would have played with Barbies by myself all day long, and what's the fun in that?

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her the best friend she'll ever have.

In the end, when our parent's both pass away, I won't be alone, because I will have my little brother. When the world gets tough, and everyone turns away from me, he will always be there. No matter where he end's up in life, I know he will drop everything and come running when I'm in need.

For Christmas this year, I bought my brother his first tattoo. We got matching tattoo's on our sides. Our lives our different now, because we're grown up and live on opposite sides of the state. But no matter where we go in life, if we look up, we will be looking at the same sun and moon. We are made up of the same matter, 'made' by the same people, and love each other more than I think we'd like to admit.

Alex is my true other-half.

Give a girl a little brother, and you made her whole.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Engel

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Stop Trying To Make Life So Black And White

Consider that you being right doesn't make someone else wrong by default—and vice versa.

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Life isn't black and white.

Perhaps that sounds like an obvious statement, but nonetheless, it still needs to be said.

Furthermore, life isn't just one giant grey area—it's several shades. There are so many twists and turns, so many unknowns and layers, that it's impossible for something to be 100 percent one way or the other.

At least, that's how my mind works.

It's difficult for me to stand stubbornly behind my own viewpoints without first listening to someone else's. For me, looking at things from their perspective is second nature. I could be spitting angry at someone, but I can't walk away from them because their perspective is glaring me in the face.

"Yes, what they did was wrong, but I get why they did it," is a line often uttered. This stance, of course, has its drawbacks. It has kept me in toxic situations far longer than it should have. It has allowed all sorts of people to walk over me like a common doormat. It has built up resentment in me for not having my efforts reciprocated.

It has also opened my eyes.

Democrat, Republican, Christian, Atheist, Religious, or Non-Secular—let's find common ground. Let's understand each other because, at the end of the day, we're all human. We all want to be loved and understood.

Maybe the first step is hearing each other. No, I don't mean listening until you can rebut, I mean really hear them. We all have our worldviews for a reason.

Why do you think the way you do? Probably because of how you were raised. Probably because experiences molded your mind and opinions.

We all have different walks of life. We each grew up differently than the other, so it's only natural that we should view the world through different lenses than our neighbor.

Next time, before you pass judgment on another person, consider the fact that maybe they aren't wrong. Also, consider that you being right doesn't make them wrong by default—and vice versa. Life is too layered for us to be right or wrong. Two people can be saying different things and both provide valid points.

Life isn't black and white, it's high time we stopped trying to make it that way. Besides, a picture is infinitely more interesting when it's shaded in and has more variety.

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