Snapshot No. 3: A Favourite Flavour? Could I Taste All Please?
Did you ever read the Hungry Caterpillar? Well, in the book, this little caterpillar eats his way through many things, one of them being an ice-cream cone, and this book was a fairly accurate take on our gelato-eating experience – and general food as well – in Florence. “On the third day, the hungry caterpillar ate through this and this and this (listing various foods), but he was still hungry.” We had gelato at least once a day, sometimes twice. And on one memorable day, we went for gelato number three, after dinner, after drinks, on the walk home, because it was open, because it was our last night, because it was so cheap (only 1.90 Euros for two flavours!), because we were addicted to the creaminess and the flavours and the waffle cones, because Florence is fairly intoxicating, because we loved the walk-home catching drips up with our tongues, the lights on the water, the peacefulness of the night setting in.
Two memorable places:
1) Past the Ponte Vecchio bridge, facing towards Piazza San Michael, count two bridges down, cross the bridge, and at the end, run across the street. Don’t get hit by bicyclists or motorcyclists or buses. Don’t be intimidated by the line, it moves fast. Black awning, white letters, chocolate in the windows. I can’t remember the name for the life of me, but it’s very famous, and if you stay in the same Airbnb that we did, there’s a map in the drawer with a star and black lettering pointing out “Best Ice Cream.”
The chef behind the gelateria prides himself in incorporating different flavours from around the world into his famous gelato: Black Sesame, Sesame with Nougat, Amarena with Pecans, Café, Pistachio, Licorice, Matcha, Coconut, Fior di latte, Lavande. I tried both sesame flavours, and I loved them both. The coffee and pistachio were also favourites. Amarena. I would get that. You really can’t go wrong.
2) In the Piazza di San Spirito, count down three restaurants till you get to a place called Café Ricci. It has a red awning, tables and chairs outside. Next to it is a place called Volume. Go there for Aperitivo and buffet. Two places down from it is another restaurant, with blue tablecloths and orange napkins, and if you see people sitting outside eating big plates of pasta with marinara, go there for dinner.
But Café Ricci: skip the Aperitivo, have the gelato. Sit on the steps outside of the church and people-watch (for us, this was mostly crushing on the Italian men. They are, in the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, “hurtfully, stupidly beautiful.” They are fine. Leather jackets, and white button-downs, sunglasses hooked to their jackets, motorcycles, and classy shoes. They’re romantic, it’s true, but they play it up so much that it’s dramatic and almost, but not quite, over-done. Oh, and, yes, it does work in their favour).