Italy: Where to go? What to do?

Sun 7 Mar, 2004 07:16 pm
More quotes related to the Maureen Fant article

If You Taste

You cannot walk very far in Rome without seeing a gelateria. The following list should provide a starting point in the neighbohoods most likely to be visited by tourists. Doln't wast mony and calories on the stuff sold by vans and set up to entraptourists,. It is easay to find good gelato in modest little vars. Look for the rack of cones and the stainless steel containers behind the counter (as opposed to packaged ice creames in freezers). By law, ingredients must be listed where customers can read them.

Emotions run high in Rome in all things, but surprisingly so on gelaterias. One person's favaorite rates a curled lip from someone else.

Cones and take-out cups usually come in three sizes ranging in price. (numbers in article obsolete now). Table service is always more expensive.

Giolitti 40 via Uffici del Vicario; 679-4206 or 678-6023) An institution near the Parliament. Bar service and a pastry coutner as well as some of the best gelato in Italy, served in a pleasant turn-of-the-century ice cream parlor. There's another branch in the EUR quarter of Rome, but the other Giolittis in town are not connected, except by blood. Closed Monday.

Palazzo del Freddo, G. Fassi 65-67 via Principe Eugenio; 737-804). Less elegant thatn Giolitti but in no way inferior is this landmark, founded in 1880 and still occupying a pavilion of that era. Closed Monday.

La Palma 4 via della Maddalena; 654-0752). The largest of several good gelaterias on a street near the Pantheon that seems to have the highest concentration of ice-cream parlors in the known world. The atmosphere is flashy but unthreatening. The fruit flavors tend to be too sweet. Closed Wednesday.

Vanni(94 via Frattina; 679-1835). This downtown branch of one of the great names in Roman gelato is a complete bar serving excellent sandwiches as well as really good ice cream. A convenient spot for a break from Piazza di Spagna shopping. Outdoor tables and and indoor tea room.

Alberto Pica(12 via della Seggiola, off via Arenula;687-5990) A bar on a tiny side street near the Ghetto, serving a wide range of food and drink, but best know outside the neighborhood forfr its ice cream, served at a few outdoor tables under umbrellas. I was disappointed with the quality and service on my last visit, but the setting is lovely and Pica's reputation is solid, so it might have been and off-day. Closed Sunday.

Bar Sant'Eustachio(82 Piazza Sant'Eustachio; 688-1309) For granita di caffe' near Largo Argentina; ...tiny, picturesque piazza, where you can look at the church of the same name, with a stags's head above the beautiful Ionic portico. Closed Monday.

osso - this is also a famous coffee place. They put the sugar in for you here, a lot of it, so it you want control on that matter, say "senza zucchero" when ordering.

Bar Tazza d'Oro (via Pastini; (679-7544) Widely reported as the single best bargain in town (re granita di caffe') No tables. Famous, as sis the Bar Sant'Eustachio, for its coffee, which you can buy by the bag and take home. Near the Pantheon. Closed Monday.
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Sun 7 Mar, 2004 07:45 pm
And, last but not least -

Although typing all about gelato is a rather sensual experience, even I am wearying. I know this is more information than necessary, but I love this article.

OK, quoting again --

A Pleasing Mouthful Although many gelaterie have introduced visual aids for non-italian-speaking customers, most still expect you to know what you want. Herewith an essential gelato vocabulary.

albicocca ~ apricot
amarena ~ black cherry
ananas ~ pineapple
arancio ~ orange
biochierino ~ paper cup to take out
caffe' ~ coffee
castagno ~ chestnut
ciliege ~ cherry
cioccolato ~ chocolate
cioccolato fondante ~ bittersweet chocolate
cocco ~ coconut
cocomero ~ watermelon
confezionato ~ packaged, as in paper-covered popsicles
cono ~ cone
coppa, coppetta ~ dish (the alternative to a cone)
crema ~ plain ice cream, heavy on the egg yolks
datteri ~ dates
fichi ~ figs
fior di latte ~ ice cream that tastes like milk
fior di panna ~ ice cream that tastes like cream; noto crema
fragola ~ strawberry
frullato ~ milk shake made of milk and fresh fruit
gelateria ~ place where ice cream is sold
gelato ~ ice cream (note from osso, sorbets and granitas don't have cream)
gelato di passeggio ~ portable ice cream, i.e., on a stick
gelso ~ mulberry
giandula ~ a soft, sweet chocolate
granita ~ frozen and crushed coffee or fruit
grattachecca ~ crushed ice with flavored syrup
lamponi ~ raspberries
limone ~ lemon
liquirizia ~ licorice
malaga ~ something like rum raisin
mandarino ~ tangerine
mantecato ~ ice cream
mela ~ apple
melone ~ melon
menta ~ mint
mirtilli ~ billberries (similar to blueberries)
misto ~ mixed
more ~ blackberries
nocciola ~ hazelnut
noce ~ walnut
panna ~ cream, also used for whipped cream
pera ~ pear
pesca ~ peach
pistacchio ~ pistacchio
pompelmo ~ grapefruit
prugna ~ plum
semifreddo ~ "half cold," term for ice-cream based dessert
sfuso ~ bulk, as opposed to confezionato
sorbetto ~ sherbet
stracciatella ~ chocolate chip, more or less
susina ~ plum
tartufo ~ literally truffle, molded chocolate ice cream
torrone ~ nougat
uva ~ grapes
uva secca ~ raisins
zabaglione ~ a dessert of egg yolk, sugar and marsala, or ice cream of the same flavor
end quote/Maureen Fant
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Tue 9 Mar, 2004 05:05 pm
Osso, one of my favorite things to to when visiting another country, especially one with a different culture than mine, is to visit their grocery stores. You can learn a lot about people by what's on their grocery store shelves showing what they eat. And you get to see a lot of enthic foods that you wouldn't find at home.

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Tue 9 Mar, 2004 05:16 pm
One of our best-ever holidays was a walking holiday in Italy, centred on Barga/ Garfagnana in the Alpi Apuene I think, certainly we were looking at them across the valley. It was so lovely.
We also had side trips to Pisa and Lucca and to the Cinque Terre.
We fell in love with the place, and the people were so nice.
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Tue 9 Mar, 2004 05:38 pm
Last night I went out with a cousin of mine who has been to Italy before, and he was telling me that a lot of Americans are disappointed in the food in Italy, because the authentic Italian food is much more bland than the food here. Anyone have any opinions on that?
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Tue 9 Mar, 2004 06:10 pm
Well, they don't serve Pop Tarts for breakfast, or loads of hotcakes with maple syrup.

They don't add salt and sugar to everything. This is particularly noticeable in their tomato sauce. It tastes like tomato.

The crust in their pizza is thin, and the sign of a good pizzaiolo is precisely that the crust is thin. No double yellow cheese on the corner.

They don't like corn. I only found it in a McDonald's salad.

Italian food is bitter for the average Wichitan. They like strange stuff like artchoke, eggplant and radicchio.

The quantity of meat in a pasta dish is minimal compared to any franchise italian food restaurant in the US. It happens that they consider pasta a starter. It's either pasta, rice or soup, and after that you order the main course. Many Americans order soup and pasta, and leave feeling empty.

The average plate in a restaurant is half of what you see in Texas. 100 grams of pasta is the norm.

They also have this strange craving for fruit. Fresh fruit. They often eat it with knife and fork. They consider it a dessert. They think fruit tastes sweet.

Some Italian waiters can't tell a Coke for a Pepsi. You order Coke, they serve you Pepsi, and they think you don't care.
Tue 9 Mar, 2004 08:06 pm
Very Happy Laughing Twisted Evil
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Tue 9 Mar, 2004 08:46 pm
Smiling, nodding with fbaezer.

Bland, well, italians do use some chili pepper in various dishes, perhaps more in the south (mezzogiorno) than the north. Really, as I mentioned before, food - even though the dish titles may sound the same - is very regional, even differing from village to village sometimes. The interest generally, with few exceptions, is towards fresh, very fresh produce, and ingredients chosen at the high points in their seasons, what is at hand on the land. Flavor unswamped by multiple sauces... but highlighted by a few. Best when distinct flavors blend in almost song. This harmony is not always available in restaurants that welcome busloads of tourists as a group.

Um, I meant to find a link for SlowFood's list of good restaurants... they are a pretty good bet on any given day.
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Tue 9 Mar, 2004 08:53 pm
Oh, the waiters are different too. They stand aside, generally, and keep watch. They don't come by four or five times to ask you how you are doing while you are chewing. They didn't introduce themselves in the first place. They notice if your water is low, from their position in the room and quietly refill it. They'll observe your progress and appear when you need them.

On the other hand, once you get them started with inquiries of your own, they'll talk to a woman from California about screenwriting... and be amused when she takes a photo of an artichoke...
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Sat 13 Mar, 2004 12:05 pm
An article in the NY Times today re Rome -

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Sat 13 Mar, 2004 01:01 pm
Cool article! I wish I was there right now.

By the way, I was noticing the street and subway performers this morning on my errands, and I was wondering if they have interesting street performers in Rome, and is there a subway system there?
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Sat 13 Mar, 2004 01:06 pm
thanks, Osso - added to my Italy file
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Sat 13 Mar, 2004 03:16 pm
Yes, I like the subways there, that is one of the main ways I get around. Take subway to one place across town from hotel, then walk back...
the ease of using it varies with time of day, re work hours..
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Sun 28 Mar, 2004 01:14 pm
In today's New York Times..

Rome article
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Sun 27 Jun, 2004 05:43 pm
Rome, short term rental

This is an article in today's NYTimes - "There's No Place Like Rome".
aiiiiii, that place that is pictured as an outdoor caffe'... that is on the same little piazza, piazza della Pace, where my favorite pizza caffe' was, called, I think, "La Foccaccia". Oh, oh, how, how, can I be so far away?
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joe harris
Sun 27 Jun, 2004 06:13 pm
Ossobuco : Back on line....Just read your topic on Italy. You are quite a lady. You should be working for an Italian travel agency.

Joe Harris
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Sun 27 Jun, 2004 06:41 pm
kicky, are you going with someone, or solo?
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Sun 27 Jun, 2004 09:08 pm
I have put these plans on the back burner for now. Maybe next year. But I do love hearing and dreaming about it, and I'm taking an Italian class that starts this week. I guess it's a poor substitute, but I just can't do it this year. Thanks for all the info Ossobuco.
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Sun 27 Jun, 2004 11:25 pm
I can't go either, dammit.
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Sun 27 Jun, 2004 11:32 pm
Maybe I'll meet you there next year sometime. I'll buy you a gelato. :wink:
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