Now we are in August, the heat is on.. If you are visiting Italy, it is more than likely you will be enjoying a gelato or two!
Eating chilled desserts is nothing new – and the Egyptian pharaohs were among the first to serve ice sweetened with fruit and fruit juices to cool them down after a long trip up the Nile.
However, the Florentine dynasty, the Medici family, is perhaps responsible for the origins of gelato as we know it today. The Medicis held a competition to find the best frozen dessert and a farmer named Ruggieri devised a fruity, iced sorbet, which captivated the tastebuds of Catherine de Medici.
Later, the aptly named Bernardo Buontalenti was hired to prepare a banquet on behalf of the Medicis for the Spanish king – and based on Ruggieri’s sorbet recipe, Buontalenti took the frozen dessert a step further and served a creamy frozen dessert and thus gelato was born.
So the origins of gelato as we know it really date from the sixteenth century, thanks to one of the most powerful dynasties in history – though there is no record of what their favourite flavour might have been!
Gradually, it became popular in other European countries and America, with New York tasting its first gelato in the mid-18th century.
Today, no holiday to Italy is complete without at least one scoop of gelato! As it is illegal to bathe in Rome’s fountains to cool down, gelato flies out of the freezers.
If it is good enough for kings, emperors and pharoahs, it is good enough for the rest of us mere mortals. My favourite flavours of gelato? Mango and pistachio! Buon appetito!
Want to go to Rome now?
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Set off to the Eternal City for a long weekend in ROME ALONE, as unhappy housewife Bee and newly-divorced Alzheimer’s expert Dr Neil McCarthy leave from opposite ends of the country for a mini-break full of the unexpected that will change their lives forever as they make their way round the sites. Return to Rome with them three years later in ROME AGAIN and discover the forces at work which they never suspected on their first trip.
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In VERONA ALONE, newly divorced former cellist Moira decides to fulfil a girlhood dream of visiting Verona during the summer opera season. There she is taken under the wing of a quirky and generous American who appears to have a secret, which is only discovered when she finds herself all at sea with him. VERONA AGAIN sees three couples fight to save their relations – who will succeed, who will fail and who will lose the love of their life?
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