Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Porto, Portugal

I really wish I had been in Porto longer.  I had a 22 hour layover and it was a great way to get a taste of a city. Now I would absolutely love to go back.
Everyone was so incredibly friendly. I got to the arrivals wing and there was a sort of welcome committee. There was food to try and I was even given a knick knack. Someone gave me a small rooster figurine. I've seen them all over Portugal but I have no idea what they mean in the culture. I have some research to do.
Everyone was incredibly friendly on my journey through Portugal.
I got to my Hostel: Tattva Design Hostel and it was traditional yet modern feeling with great, clean amenities. The room was great with individual lockers activated by passkey and there were curtains around every bed. I got there around 4, an hour or so after my flight landed. It was a bit uphill but a great location in general.
Right near the hostel behind the church
they offer a typical Portughese meal at a great price but I decided to go explore and I wasn't sure if I'd make it back in time. I wanted to use all of my available daylight. I walked to the big cathedral across the way and stumbled into a tourist information center. The lady was lovely and sent me in the right direction for wine tastings and sites to see.
The church was gorgeous outside and in. From there I wandered down to the river. There were lots of steps and winding roads. The views were incredible. The city has such a unique feel to it. It's colorful and lively but
broken down in places too. It's quite vivid and it definitely caught my imagination.
Along the river were restaurants and vendors selling handicrafts. Some of the craft work was absolutely stunning. I had to restrain myself from buying things because I had nowhere to put anything this trip. My bags are packed to the brim. In the meantime, I kept an eye out for a place that did tapas and port
I crossed the bridge and saw some capoiera in action. It was a lot of fun to watch as it's a beautiful cross between martial arts and dance. I loved when the kids got involved because they were utterly adorable.
Casta Winehouse
Then I walked back across the bridge to a little restaurant bar that I'd spotted before I hit the river the first time. It was a mall hole in the wall called Casta Winehouse. It was practically empty but I liked the atmosphere and the idea of tapas paired with a Port tasting.
The waitress was friendly if not overly attentive (my guess is that she was bored because it was very quiet when I sat down). That being said, I didn't mind at all. I was there to relax so I didn't require much attention and I definitely didn't want to be rushed.
I decided to order a trio of Port to taste and the vegetarian tapa since I
wasn't in the mood for anything heavy. I'd never tried Port before so I was quite excited to try this trio for €5. It was amazing. I tried Fine White, Fine Ruby and a Tawny Port.  My favorite was the Fine Ruby and the white was a close second.  I liked that both were smoky but not too strong. The Ruby had a slightly fruity taste that I really enjoyed. The Tawny was a little too smoky for my taste.
They all went really well with my vegetarian tapa.  It was 2 types of traditional Portuguese cheese and a cherry tomato salad served with fresh bread. The cherry tomato salad was absolutely fresh and delicious. It was dressed with oil, balsamic vinegar, sea salt and chives. The menu did not list the types of cheese on the platter, but the waitress was nice enough to write them down for me. I had the piece of paper until yesterday and now I can't find it. -.- It's definitely in my room, I just don't know where. When I find I'll update with names.
One of the cheeses was a soft, sticky cheese that was absolutely delicious. It was creamy and easy to spread. The second was a slightly harder cheese. It was still on the creamy side but sliced nicely and wasn't spreadable. It had a stronger flavor and more of an aftertaste. I liked it but I definitely preferred the softer cheese. As soon as I find the paper, I'm going to update and tell you the names and then see if I can get a hold of the yummy cheese here in New Jersey.
Portuguese cheese and tomato salad
Then I got dessert. I ordered a brigadeiro. On the menu it's just described as chocolate but it's soooo
amazing.  I believe they are traditionally Brazilian and I had them when I was a child because my best friend's mother used to make them for birthdays when we were growing up. A brigadeiro is similar to a bonbon or chocolate truffle. It's a smooth chocolate fudge and it's delicious. It is rich and creamy and melts in your mouth. It's made with chocolate, sweetened condensed milk and butter and if I can find a recipe I'm definitely going to try and make it.
Then I went back to my hostel and made myself tea. I was suffering through a cold so I gave myself an early bedtime and then went to bed.
I would love to go back to Portugal, it was a great time.

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Last Nights in Rome

Ok. It's so weird to say that I've been home for about a month and that I have no idea when I'm going back to Italy. It's been a good month, but strange. It's strange to be in Fort Lee and New Jersey and to know that I have no idea when I get to go back to the ancient sites and beautiful culture that I love so much.  There's definitely a hole in my heart right now.  I seem to have left part of it in Italy again, maybe the chunk is larger this time since I left a piece in Florence and now a piece in Rome too.  So if you find the pieces, feel free to mail them back to me.
Oh well, Jersey is here and for the moment I still have lots to talkabout Italy wise.  I still have to write about my trip to Florence (the one that was only supposed to last 2 days, that wound up being 5 days instead... yeah, that one lol) and of course my last couple of days in Rome.
Going away party deliciousness
On Tuesday I went to a goodbye esque party with coworkers and friends. It was hysterically amazing
complete with rain pouring down our backs (yay, outdoor seating!) but I'll do a whole separate review because the food was great. We got an assortment of delicious food and it was a great evening.
Then Wednesday I went to work to clean out my classroom.  It was a sad day for me, but good too because we had a going away party.  My coworkers were going to try and surprise me but I didn't have to
turkish delight
be there at any set point so they had to schedule it with me ahead of time.  It was great though. We had tortilla chips with salsa (a wonderful treat after months with no salsa), delicious cheese and prosecco.  I also tried Turkish delight for the first time.  My student brought me some from his vacation and it was delicious, extremely sweet, but delicious. I could only eat one since it was so rich. We also had delicious pastries that Ashley brought.  It was awesome and a lot of fun. I am so grateful to have worked with such a lovely bunch of creative, intelligent, strong women this year. It was a great experience and I was quite sad to say goodbye. But you never know, maybe I'll go back one day and do it all over again.
Delicious treats
Thursday I spent my day walking the forum and the Coliseum. I played tourist and then stubbornly decided to walk home in the sun as well. It was around 8 miles of walking total that day. That 8 miles with no shade also explains my minor sunburn and how cracked out I was by dinner time.
A wonderful view of the Coliseum from the Forum
Pesto Pork chops
And dinner was hilarious. I made myself pesto porkchops and pesto tortellini in an attempt to finish off the stuff I had in the fridge. It was pretty good and super simple to make. Apply pesto liberally to porkchops. Grill. No recipe necessary.  Make tortellini and coat in sauce.  I had so much other stuff in the fridge that I could have made, but this was the easiest.
Friday was panicked/depressed packing.  It was ridiculously painful and I really didn't want to. I'd already packed the majority, thank God, but still it was an annoying job to do. And then luckily enough for me, my friend Laure invited me out for a relaxing beer to chill out behind Piramide. She brought me to a fantastic little pub with an amazing rotation of beers. The barista really knew her stuff and was able to recommend some fantastic and particular beers. I got a Vudu, slighly sweet and bitter while Laure got one with a lighter, citrus taste. I wish I could go back there since they regularly switch up their beer choices.
Then we went over to Termini Station to meet Morgane (from France) and Steffi (from Germany). I met them 4 years ago in Florence while doing my masters.  I saw them in Florence that last weekend I visited. It seems fate pulled us together again for some fun. And then they speent Friday night in Rome hanging out with me which was awesome.
We got them settled into their B&B and then we went to Ai 3 Scalini. I've been wanting to go there for a while. It's an aperitivo esque bar famous in Rome. A bunch of people had told me about it but there's always a line. Luckily, Friday it wasn't incredibly croweded and we didn't have to wait. I'm guessing because August 1st means that most Italians escape to the sea (not that I can blame them with the heat in city center). It was
absolutely fantastic.
We shared a bottle of wonderful white wine and then I ordered eggplant parmigiana as did Steffi.  Morgane got a bufala mozzarella and tomatoes. Laure got fresh ricotta with a truffle honey.
Everything was fantastic.  It was one of the best eggplant parmigiana's I've ever had and the various cheeses were amazing.  The mozzarella was perfect and the ricotta was creamy and rich while the truffle honey added such a lovely kick to the dish.  The truffle honey was sweet but had a potent, yet delicious kick that complemented the creamy ricotta incredibly well. Sitting in Jersey, I would kill to have any of the delicious food in front of me now.
Then Laure had to go, so we said our goodbyes and Steffi, Morgane and I explored Rome at night for a while on a hilarious walking tour on the sites of center. They kept asking me where to go and I sadly still don't fully understand the whole layout of Rome. It is a huge city. We had a fun night and then said our goodbyes and I walked back home.
Saturday was more packing, lots of walking for some last minute errands and lunch and inner at home.  I made myself pasta with the tomato sauce that my previous roommates mother made.  Let me tell you, there is nothing like homemade tomato sauce. It was delicious and so much better than anything bought at the store.
Then after dinner, the girls and I went to Gazometro which is behind the house. If you're anywhere near Piramide you should definitely go for some vibrant night life!
And that's how I ended my time in Rome. It was definitely a good week with great people who I'm missing a lot right now.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Arrivederci Roma!

So I've been in the United States for 5 days.  I left Rome 6 days ago and I miss it like crazy but I know I'll be back... at some point.  For now it's time for a new adventure and a new life but I can't help but feeling like I left a part of myself behind... again.  My heart is in Florence, and now in Rome too.
It's okay though because I know I'll be back in Italy one day. Florence and Rome are not going anywhere, and neither are my Italian friends.  Unless, of course they come visit me, which of course, I really hope they do.
So for now I'm going to spend my time in New Jersey like a new adventure and see what happens and where the world brings me next.
I wrote this while sitting on the plane on my way home and I was singularly unprepared. Everything had been packed and checked but I was sitting there and I wasn't ready to go. It's a good thing I had 22 hours in Porto, Portugal to sort myself out.
I had been awake since 7am on Sunday morning after staying out with my roommates until 4am. My roomies
and I had gone to Gazometro (behind our apartment) for some dancing, drinks and a late night sandwich.  The dancing and drinks were great.  The hamburger less so.  It was just a little sloppily prepared but what do you expect at 3am?
I got up early with the help of my evil alarm and Dr. Who (I had put it on when I got home for some reason) messing with my dreams.  I finished my last minute stuff, took cold medicine, cleaned the room and chatted with my roomies, without crying once.
Then my roommate Simona was amazing enough to walk me and my heavy bags (well, they weren't that bad, but would have been insanely inconvenient for 1 person) to the train station.  She even waited with me on the track and helped me get my suitcase and carry-on onto the train before hugging me goodbye.  She is so amazingly sweet and I am so grateful that she was there with me.
At the airport everything went smoothly and I miraculously didn't have to pay any overweight fees on my luggage and I went through security pretty quickly. I only received a few odd looks at the 4 jackets combined into 1.
Then I had 2 hours with nothing to do so I found an adorable wine bar and decided to treat myself rather than getting fast food.  I was sorely tempted to get a cheese platter and wine but seeing as it was only 10:30 in the morning I decided not to act on my lush instincts.
Instead I got a caffè and a strawberry torte.
Both presentations were absolutely lovely. It was on the expensive side, but flavor wise it was absolutely
worth it.  The coffee was rich and smooth with a hint of hazelnut.  It was served with a kind of homemade hazelnut candybar.  It was delicious and rich, but small enough that I didn't fill up on it. The bottom layer was cookie, butter and hazelnutwhile there was a cremy layer of hazelnut and chocolate goodness above.
The crostata, strawberry torte was quite good as well but I think it looked better than it tasted. I liked that it wasn't super sweet but I would've liked the crust to be more flavorful. The strawberries were okay but not fresh since they were covered in some sweet gelatinous substance.  It was good but not the best I've eaten. I think their panna cotta and savory dishes probably would've been better, especially the savory since it was definitely more of a wine bar.  I loved the atmosphere and look of the restaurant even though the waitresses weren't super attentive. I was sitting at the bar in front of them and it took forever for them to take my order.
After that I didn't mind much because I just sat enjoying my breakfast without being rushed.
I flew TAP this go round (I've flown with them before) and the staff seems quite friendly. The food on my first flight was okay. It was neither spectacular nor inedible so I was pleased. They served white rice with chicken and bacon, a roll and fresh melon.  I also had a glass of white wine (1pm was definitely better than 10am as a starting point). The rice was super bland so I really only ate the chicken and bacon for the protein. I really liked the quality of the roll. It was fresh and flaky and the fruit was actually really fresh as well. The wine had a slightly bitter after taste, but not bad at all for airplane wine.
Overall I was pleased with my food.
My only issue was the landing because my ears popped so badly that I was almost deaf upon landing for
about 4 hours.  It sucked but I still enjoyed my 22 hour layover in Porto, Portugal. The arrivals hall was amazing. They were having some kind of event and it was great with food to try and people greeting. Someone even gave me a little rooster statue (so adorable and colorful). It was a great entry into
the country and then I headed into the city. I enjoyed my time so much that I'm going to write a whole other blog about it!
Then the next morning I went back to the airport and flew back to the Jersey.  I had no problems going through security and grabbed a tea to help with my sore throat.  I even bought 2 bottles of Port Wine for €15 to bring home to Mom.
The flight food was kind of terrible.  Beef and mushrooms with white
rice.  I ate it all, but it was flavorless. I should have gotten the baccala (a Portughese specialty) but I was scared to get fish on the flight (plus I don't always love fish... I'm challenging sometimes).  The bread was good but the salad... Gross. The salad on the side was gross, it was way too salty. I could not eat it.  The dessert was a strawberry mousse and it was okay. It wasn't super flavorful but it was light.  I didn't finish it all, because I wanted more strawberry flavor. Not the best meal I've had with TAP.  The wine on this flight was good and didn't have the same aftertaste.
There was also a snack towards the end of the flight. It was simple, just a sandwich. One side was wheat bread with cheese. The other was white bread with ham.  Slightly odd but it tasted good.
7 hours, 2 meals, 2 glasses of wine, 1 glass of pear juice, 2 cups of tea.  It was a decent flight and I got to watch the second Amazing Spiderman and the second Captain America! So good.  I also rewatched Julie and Julia. I forgot how cute that movie is. The foodie in me was definitely pleased.
Then we landed and my ears popped again, but on the bright side, I only lost hearing in one ear!   And now I'm in Jersey... and 5 days later, I still need to finish unpacking.
It's been a whirwind.  I've been all over the place.  So in the next few days, expect some updates about my last days in Rome, about Porto and then adventures here in the states (plus all the restaurant review I still have to type up from Rome).

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Natural Moodlifters

Well, I've had some incredibly good days recently.  I spent my last weekend in Italy in Florence goofing off with my Florentine friends, drinking and experiencing general hilarity. I've wandered around Rome and celebrated with coworkers and had the most amusing conversations with my roomies.  So I've been on a natural high recently. That being said, I'm going back to the states shortly and for a little while at least, I'm going to be short of good mood. It's hard to leave a place I love so much again.  I'm going home and it will be great, but I need to remember that when I'm facing the sadness of departure.
So I did a little research on natural mood lifters so maybe my mood will be more upper and downer while thinking about leaving. I'll share for anyone who might need some natural happy.
  1. Eat often and eat light. Eating lightly and frequently means that you avoid the plummeting of your mood: aka the HANGRY state. Try to eat three to six small meals a day plus healthy snacks.
  2. Cut back refined carbohydrates like soda, candy, cookies, and white flour. They might give you an immediate rush of happy feelings but will ultimately make you crash, and crash quickly.
  3. Eat a small amount of lean protein with meals and snacks. Protein makes you feel alert and productive for hours. Being alert and productive general helps keep the sad vibes away
  4. Eat omega-3 fats.  These foods lift moods and can actually help deal with depression. Omega-3 fats can be found in oily fish like salmon, canola and olive oils, as well as flax seeds and walnuts.
  5. Add B-12 and folate (folic acid) to your diet. These nutrients help produce a neurotransmitter called serotonin which brings happiness with it. Try eating shellfish, fortified cereal, oatmeal, wheat germ, and vegetables because they are filled with these nutrients.
  6. Exercise. Whether you go running outside, go lifting at the gym, go walk the dog, play a sport, moving will boost your mood and energy level!
  7. Stick to a regular sleep schedule—even on the weekends.   This ones tricky for me, as I never accomplish it. But it's important to try and consistently get the sleep you need. 6 to 8 hours a day... and it's easier to do when you stick to a schedule. 
  8. Go outside. Breathe the fresh air. Get out of the air conditioning. Get out of the office, or your bedroom and go outside.  The fresh air and sunlight will do you worlds of good.
  9. Listen to music that you love. Sing along to your favorite music. Music can do a lot to make you forget your problems and concerns. Listen to anything that makes you feel good.
  10. Indulge your senses. Sights, smells, sounds, tastes and tactile sensations can help to change your mood. Light a scented candle, bake cake or cookies (goodness knows i bake cookies and cakes a lot), back eggplant parmigiana (also a wonderful smell to fill the air) or soak in a scented bubble bath while listening to soothing music. Fill your senses with wonder. Distract yourself with the good things in life.
  11. Do something that makes you happy. Take a break from work or stressful situations and do what you love to do. Read, cook some delicious food, watch something fun, go for a hike, play with the dog. That small break may very well help you be more productive when you come back to work. It'll help with concentration and efficiency. It's what I'm doing now instead of packing since packing was stressing me out.
  12. Play with a furry friend. Just petting your dog or cat can lower blood pressure and can bring calmness, happiness and well-being to your entire being. This is one of the many reasons that I miss my puppy who's in NJ. I'll have him to cuddle with when I'm back...
  13. Volunteer. There is nothing like the act of giving to those in need to make you feel appreciative of the life you lead. I've done it in the past and I would love to start up again when I'm back. 
  14. Fake it till you make it. Researchers have found that the simple act of smiling seems to make the happiness centers in the brain turn on. So keep smiling and in time your mood will match your facial expression. I find this incredibly true!! I always try to smile through the sad. Smiling usually reminds me of the good and the reasons why I should be smiling.
  15. Write in a journal (or a blog!!). I write about food because it's a great and productive distraction for me. I write fiction in notebooks, or complaints and rants.  I write because it's a way to give my brain space to be and say whatever it wants.  I find writing is a great way to distance emotion while giving voice to it. 
I found an article on sparkpeople years ago, that's very similar to this and it's advice that I've always found useful in the hardest moments I've gone through.  

Today, I walked 8 miles through the forum and Coliseum and then all the way home. I took a nap and I
cooked a good protein filled meal (pesto pork and pesto tortellini). Soo here's to tomorrow being a good day too.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

200 posts, The Color Run and a Restaurant Review Rome: Pizzeria Luzzi

Well, it's been a couple of busy days.  Lots of work and lots of play and of course lots of food. But no time for writing until now.  200 blog posts!  Holy cow, I can't believe it.  I didn't think I'd be able to keep it up. It's been years that I've had this blog but only in the last year and a half have I actually been consistent.  And with consistency I've been getting more hits, and more people reading through, glancing through my posts.  Thanks so much for anyone who's been reading for a while and to anyone who's just taken a look!

Cherry granita
And now on to my havoc weekend.  Yesterday I ran my 2nd Color Run, this time right outside Rome in Ostia on the sea.  It was an amazing day with gorgeous sun and heat.  And for those of you who have never run a Color Run DO IT.  I don't love running all the time, but it's a great way to stay fit and the color run is a great motivation to keep going.  It's a FUN 5k because at the kilometer marks you get painted. It's so much fun to have color thrown at you while you walk or run with friends. It was definitely a great day.  The one in Ostia is particularly fun because it's on the water and turned into a day long event with granita and piadini and
then dinner out at a wonderful restaurant.
We got to the course around 2pm to sign in and get our packs. Then we walked for a while and the others
got Piadina, which is a grilled sandwich typical of Northern Italy on a large tortilla and it's delicious. I didn't get one because I'd already had lunch. We sat on a beach at a place called Hakuna Matata and got amazing cherry granitas. Cherry ice, super refreshing while sitting overlooking the water.
Then around 6 it was time to line up and run. So much fun.
The before shot
So much color...
The After Shot
The party and throwing color!
I am still removing paint from my hair and skin! 5 kilometers of fun (even though I wish there had been a

water stop half way down the race). And then a party! Live DJ, more color throwing and outright hilarity.
We had a couple of beers, danced, and had a lot of fun.
And then when the music stopped, around 8:30, we headed back into Rome for some delicious dinner and some hilarious glances from passersby, because we did not shower and get cleaned up before heading over to the restaurant. Four of us were completely covered in paint splatters.  We went to
Sunset over the fantastic party
And that's how we took the subway to the restaurant
a restaurant right near the Coliseum called Pizzeria Luzzi. I've been there 3 or 4 times this year and it has some amazing pizza and food in general.
And the waiters were great last night. They thought we were hilarious and didn't send us away even though we were quite the spectacle.  They joked with us and got us a table outside pretty quickly even though the place was packed. It's always packed tto the brim so be prepared to wait for a bit, but it's absolutely worth the wait. I would suggest sitting outside because there's a lovely breeze and inside, especially during the summer, can get quite stifling with the brick oven burning away. It makes for lovely pizza, but the heat is quite intense. I always prefer sitting outside, even in winter.  They have  outdoor seating with lovely heaters.
Once you're seated the service is quite quick and attentive. They pay attention but don't rush you out. There were a couple of mis-communications. For example, the waiter said there was no meat in the Suppli (a lovely Roman style fried rice ball) but there was. It wasn't a problem for me, but my vegetarian friend wound up not eating it.  It was delicious, crisp on the outside with lovely rice cooked in Bolognese sauce (hence the meat) and mozzarella.
The other mis-communication was about spicy olive oil. One waiter said they had it, another said no. In the end, there was no spicy oil, but there was ground peperoncino, ground red pepper flakes. Minor for sure, but quite entertaining for us.
Three of us ordered beer and three ordered the house white wine.  The beers were great and really refreshing after all the running and walking we'd done and so was the house wine.  The house wine is always fantastic and cheap as well, which is amazing.
The mushroom pizza (tried on a previous visit)
Our food took a little while to arrive, but we were chatting and rehashing the day so we barely noticed.  The pasta dishes came first for the two who ordered pasta.  Their timing is not perfect.  Inevitably some dishes will come out before the rest, but we didn't mind at all.
I tried the fettucine al porcini and it was quite tasty. It's really for mushroom lovers and has that lovely, yet potent taste of porcini. The bolognese was great as well, rich and delicious.
Then our pizzas came.  On the table we had a margarita (classic, delicious mozzarella), a diavola (with spicy
salami), a prosciutto e funghi (ham and mushroom)
My beautiful capricciosa
and a capricciosa (artichoke, hard boiled egg, mushroom, and prosciutto crudo).  Mine was the capricciosa and it was fantastic.  I doused it with a little ground peperoncino but it didn't need it. I just wanted a little spice in my life.
The pizza diavola
The pizza crust was incredible, light and thin and not burnt, with just enough delicious cheese. I really love the combination of the ingredients.  It's definitely one of my favorite pizzas.  Luzzi's definitely does it was with really fresh ingredients.
Everyone loved their pizzas and pasta. We cleared our plates!
And the best part was that our bill was so low. The 6 of us payed 11 euros each and that was enough for tip as well.  Luzzi's has amazing prices and the food is simply spectacular.  I highly recommend it.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ice Cream vs. Gelato

Gelateria alla Romana: Roma
It's extremely hot out right now. It's summer and it's time for ice cream... Or, in my case it's time for gelato.  I
have instant access to gelato while living in Rome, but I certainly won't find ice cream.  Gelato is iconic of Italy, like espresso and sunflowers.
Alright, gelato vs ice cream.  Gelato is technically ice cream right? Well, yes, gelato is the Italian word for ice cream but they are definitely not identical. There is a reason that gelato in Italy seems richer and denser than American ice cream.  There is a reason that the flavors are so memorable.
There are three main differences: fat content, air content and serving temperature.  These three little factors make all the difference in the world.
Gelateria del Teatro: Roma
In the United States, ice cream legally must have a minimum of 10% fat whereas gelato has only 5 to 7% fat ice cream uses a heavy base of cream and eggs while gelato utilizes more whole milk than cream and doesn't always rely on the use of eggs.  Since there's not as much fat in gelato, it doesn't have the same quantity of fat to coat the tongue the way ice cream does. As a result the flavors can come through more intensely.  A good ice cream can have deep, intense flavors as well, but the flavors do come across differently. This also means that gelato is actually healthier than American ice cream. At least, a little bit... which basically means that in my remaining weeks in Italy I'm going to be having double the gelato.  YUM.
American ice creams are churned fast and hard to whip extra air into the mixture. Premium brands can be 25% air which increases the volume of ice cream by 25%. Hmmm.  More air, more ice cream. American ice cream brands add in more air to increase the quantity of their products. Cheaper versions can have 50 to 90% air, which makes them light, thin and ensures that they melt quickly. It also explains why ice cream isn't always very flavorful. Bites of ice cream can be a half air! Gelato is churned at a slower speed than ice cream so it's denser because less air is introduced to the base. Many traditional gelatos are still whipped by hand or are whipped at a very low speed in a stand mixer.  That's why it seems more dense and flavorful. It is.
Gelati & Mozzarella: Roma
Lastly, the big factor, temperature. Temperature explains why gelato has that soft almost elastic texture. Ice
Gelateria dei Neri: Firenze
cream is best served around 10°F whereas gelato is served at a warmer temperature.  If gelato were frozen at the same temperature as ice cream, it would become quite dense. When served warmer it maintains its soft consistency and doesn't turn into soup. Therefore it retains its semi solid state until it melts in your mouth.  If ice cream were to be stored at the same temperature as gelato, it would actually become soup.  The high fat content would make the ice cream melt much too quickly.
At the end of the day, the differences between gelato and ice cream aren't that major especially when one takes into consideration individual variations on recipes.  It's all delicious and wonderful in the heat, just like soft serve and frozen yogurt.  So don't worry too much about the definitions, sit down and dig in. Because ice cream and gelato have at least one thing in common: they are irresistible.  One scoop is certainly not enough!

I'll definitely be writing another blog about gelato soon!  I'm going to give you some hints and tricks on how to find the best gelato and avoid the tourist traps!