Bologna is renown throughout Italy and the rest of the world for its gastronomy. A destination for foodies, It’s known as la grassa or ‘the fat one’. The region in which Bologna sits, Emilia-Romagna produces some of the most classic of Italian ingredients. These include Parma ham (prosciutto di Parma), Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano) and balsamic vinegar from Modena. Bologna is said to be the birth place of several pastas including tagliatelle and tortellini whose shape is alleged to be inspired by Venus’s navel.
Interestingly Bologna is one of the few cities without an anglicised name (Rome / Roma, Venice / Venezia, Florence / Firenze etc). Instead folklore has it that Bologna gave a word to the English language; baloney. Baloney is a type of American sausage similar to the Italian mortadella which originated in Bologna. However, we know in more colloquial (American) English, baloney is a term meaning “nonsense”.
When you read an article online which informs you possibly the best gelato in Europe can be found in the city you’re about to visit, if you’re an ice cream lover like me, you’ll be very happy. Having arrived in Bologna and wandered around the impressive Piazza Maggiore, I was itching to follow some of Bologna city centre’s 38 km of porticos along Via San Vitale to Il Gelatauro. For gelato.
Gelato differs from ice cream in that it contains less fat (Gelatauro’s contains only 7% fat) which means that gelato freezes less solidly than ice cream. Gelato is also served at a warmer temperature than ice cream which so it melts faster when you do finally get your highly expectant mitts onto it.
Il Gelatauro offer plenty of traditional flavours as well as some inventive combinations to try. A small selection of the gelato on offer here:
The owners are from Calabria (the ‘toe’ of southern Italy) and many of the flavours and ingredients reflect this region. These include gelato made with Sicilian Bronte pistachios, or Principe de Calabria which I looked up later is flavoured with jasmine and bergamot or even Japanese smoked green tea flavour. Oranges grown on the owners’ own citrus grove are shipped up to Bologna to make the gelato.
I went traditional with cioccolato and crema.
So how did the gelato taste? Extraordinarily good. The texture was so smooth it could have been made from silk. It tasted creamy and the chocolate was so deeply intense that I found myself rooted to the spot outside the door of the shop; forget walking, all I could do was focus on savouring each mouthful.
Was this the best gelato I’ve ever eaten? In my humble opinion, yes. No baloney.
Il Gelatauro, Via San Vitale, 98, 40125 Italy
Opening hours: Daily 8am to 11pm (closed August)