Friday, February 02, 2007

Blue Ice, Ice Baby

[It's Food Week at AHIR: all food, all drink, all week, leading up to World Nutella Day on February 6! I'm giving you the weekend off so you can go and ponder your WND entry. We even got a special shout out from Technorati. We're "where the fire" is at, people! Go and vote to add some fuel to the flames. Then get going and send your entry to nutelladay (AT) nutelladay (DOT) com as soon as it's ready!]

You didn't think I had forgotten the good ol' Gelato Tour, now did you? A gelato a day keeps the doctor away. Or in this case, a Gelato Tour a month. Another great idea thought up by my World Nutella Day Co-Host, the lovely Ms. Adventures in Italy.

I was in the Campo de' Fiori area not too long ago on a wet and rainy day. I passed by the sizzling neon sign of Blue Ice and thought, oh, why not? You see, Blue Ice is a chain, so already that gives it a minus in my book. I'm kind of a food snob like that. But seeing as how I had only tried it once before and didn't even remember if it was good or not, I figured it was time to give it another shot.

Now, regardless of whether the stuff is actually edible, as far as I'm concerned these people get major points for sheer gelato artistry. You might think I'm kidding when I tell you that one or two employees were continually "re-molding" these gelato mountains while I was in the shop. There were like four employees total. I think that Blue Ice actually hires people specifically to do this complicated gelato shaping. It's like Marie Antoinette's hair in her sassy phase, and that requires serious maintenance.

Sometimes I'm not really in the mood for a cone or a cup. I just want a milkshake. Here in Italy if it's not called milkshake (which it is, at least in McDonald's, but of course how would I know, because I make it a point to never eat there), it's known as frappe. So, that's what I settled on, and just listen to this wacky flavor combination I invented: cappuccino and creme caramel. Sounds kind of weird? It was really, really good. You should always try to be a bit of a mad scientist in an Italian gelateria. Why? Well, because you CAN, of course. Why else?

So, Blue Ice actually came out worthy of the Gelato Tour. I had heard lots of people who had visited Rome singing its praises before, and even though it's a *gasp* chain establishment, I have to admit that my milkshake was molto buono. It still isn't my favorite gelato place (maybe that will be for the next installment on the tour), but after this stop on the tour, I wouldn't tell you not to go there. That honor is reserved for any generic gelato shop within 50 feet of Trevi Fountain, in the summer. You'll regret it. Trust me. I'm speaking from personal experience.

Any Blue Ice devotees out there?

Blue Ice
Pretty much everywhere
Try Campo de' Fiori
Or Piazza S. Maria in Trastevere


Anonymous said...

Ahhhhh you are too late! I was JUST in Rome. Will have to catch it next time. You know, when I come down to visit you for our dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.

I also found a place in Rome to add to the Gelato tour. Will have to get that up on my blog soon.


Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Oooo....milkshake! That is probably the perfect thing to get at Blue Ice...sometimes their ice cream is a little bland for small amounts but it would be perfect in a milkshake!

Already added it to the page.... :)

Anonymous said...

aaaah Blue ice !!! That reminds me of such wonderful memories... I used to buy a bicchierino almost everyday when I went to Pallazzo Farnese to pick up my boyfriend after work... I used to eat it on the benches along the Palazzo. My favorite was Cioccolato al coco ! argggg add some lemon to it and you will just die lol !!!

Jul said...

Is there anything in this world more beautiful than giant mounds of gelato on display?

CJ said...

Hi! I've only just discoverd your blog and i'm really loving it. Especially as we are making our very first trip to Italy this year! I still can't believe its happening - its been a lifelong dream to come to Italy. So I'm reading your blog and noting all these little hints and tips. Thank you!

John Cropper said...

Oh, how I pine for le gelaterie.
They sell quasi-gelato at the organic food stores here. And considering I don't have a proper frame of reference, it tastes great to me.

Ma, voglio gelato Romano!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I know it's a chain but I do love the Black Cherry gelato (amerena?). There was a store three blocks from my apt. in Trastevere.

Anonymous said...

Okay Shelley, fess up now. The last few posts have been about food. Luscious delicious and multiple courses of food! Now tell me please, how do italians manage to keep slender? Or is this just food on display - look but can't touch?

By the way, I gained 5 pounds by looking at your blog. ;-)

Elizabeth Abbot said...

hi Shelley,
I paid tribute to your Food Week at AHIR in yesterday's entry -- a late night one after Diane Epstein's cocktail. How are you?

Anonymous said...

You have no idea how much I loved Gelato when we were in Italy! I mean, we ate it everyday, sometimes twice a day. There is no substitue! Ice cream pales in comparison. I crave it! I make nocciola at home, but it's not the same. We visited Blue Ice in was delicious, but frankly, any gelato will do!!!!

Jessica Brogan said...

ARE THERE ANY BLUE ICE FANS??? are you kidding me? I think myself alone counts for two - i ate it 5 times a week when I lived there. that's disgusting, i know, but f-it, iz goood!

Micki said...

Leaving for Italy in 12 days. Please tell me if there is such a thing as licorice gelato and what is it called in Italian?
Also "coconut"....I'm worried that the different language might confuse me. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Well, I have hit most of the major gelato bars in Rome - and I find the best - THE best - for selection and price is "OLD BRIDGE" - it is just down from the entrance to the Vatican Museum.
Our family never visits Rome without several stops at Old Bridge. I would match it against any other Gelato place in the city - perhaps Italy. It isn't big and visited mostly by the locals - but the owner and workers take kindly to anyone attempting to speak Italian. The servings are generous and the price reasonable - 1 , 2 or 3 Euro. A must for an gelato connoissseur.

Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

Shawn: Thanks for the input! I know I'm in the minority but (hangs head in shame) I don't like Old Bridge. I just think it's a bit over-rated. Once it made me sick, too. :-( Lots of tourists go there because it's just on the other side of the Vatican walls. They kind of take pride in the fact that you have to wait forever to get in, since it's such a hole in the wall and you have to wait in line... they even have poetry in Roman dialect on the inside walls talking about the notorious lines. Argh. Forgive me!!! You're definitely not the only one who loves it though... all the US university students I used to work with would swear by it, because they lived nearby. Like I said, I think I might be the only one who doesn't like it...oh well...