So, I was wandering around Florence with some visiting friends, and on the way to the Accademia (where the David is) Friend #1 wants to stop at one of those really crappy-looking gelato places. You know, the ones with the huge mounds of radioactive-colored, syrup-squirted gelato in the window. Luckily, I'd just be browsing through Faith W's book, and knew she recommended another gelateria, which turned out to be just around the corner from the museum. Carabe, on Via Ricasole. Fantastic! The owners are Sicilian, so the fruit and nut flavors predominate and are great. I had lemon gelato, which was marvellously tart and refreshing but not puckery, and super-smooth. Friend #2 had almond, which was packed with real ground almonds and a bit of the bitter-almond extract for more depth of flavor. Pear and banana were also great. Only the pistachio didn't have much taste. I'd love to go back to try their granitas--coffee, almond, lemon, except that they looked very soft and actually half-melted in their containers.
We also had great flavors in Bologna, at my second-favorite gelateria, Gelatauro, on Via San Vitale. Amazing ginger (zenzero), fennel seed (semi di finnochio--tastes like anise), coffee, and chocolate-orange.