If life or work finds you in Milan, you absolutely have to try that divine Italian creation called gelato which makes you redefine what you might call good ice-cream. We have heard lines of prose and poetry dedicated to the the great artists of the Renaissance and what they were able to create across media. In my opinion, it is absolutely right to shower as much praise on that humble combination of milk, cream, sugar and flavorings that the Italians have elevated to an art form.
As mentioned in earlier posts, my first exposure to gelato was with an Italian friend in Milan and despite having many a lip smacking gelato since then, the fond memories of that trip to Milan filled with an array of gelato stores and flavors will always hold a special place in my heart.
At Riva Reno, I ordered two scoops of gelato – Cioccolato Fondente and the Limone. Two flavors a world apart and yet simply superb in the subliminal experience they created on your taste buds. The Cioccolato serving the rich, smooth taste of superb chocolate in what could be termed as a chocolate lover’s dream and the Limone with its just plucked taste of lemon waking up every sense in your taste bud. This was not ice cream that you just ate to fulfill your sweet tooth. This was dessert that you appreciated slightly more with every spoon, where each serving on your palate felt like it was kicking another sense of appreciation into play.
It would be an understatement to say I loved Riva Reno. The place capitulated the humble ice cream to new heights. I went back on subsequent visits to try the Pistacchio and Zabalione and both delighted.
Take a virtual journey through their flavors here and do put this on your must do experiences in Milan.
PS. Their English language site is not ready, but when has dessert ever needed a language?
My first exposure to Gelato was on my maiden trip to Milan when a friend introduced me to the best that the city had to offer. Grom was one of the stops we made in my journey into sampling a rich array of flavors from a variety of gelato shops, including several artisanal ones.
When Siddhi started college in New York, I was excited to note that there was a Grom in the vicinity. Recently on a warm day, walking around the Village, we had a chance to stop by at Grom to see if the gelato served locally could hold a candle to the original that we had savored in Italy. To start off, we ordered the dark chocolate with orange. The marriage of the dark chocolate and orange flavors was just perfect, the taste buds dancing with joy with every spoonful of this decadent treat making its way in. Most importantly, the flavor of the dark chocolate was identical to what I had tasted in Milan. We went on to have the Caramello al sale flavor which I have to say was ok but not as decadent as its dark chocolate brethren. With a heavy lunch already tucked away, I did not get a chance to compare the flavors of the Pistacchio and Nocciola, but these and many more are awaiting us on our next trip this summer.
Grom has multiple locations in the New York City area, and is so worth a visit. To learn more about these locations and about the flavors offered, click here.
Those who know me best understand that food is a core part of my existence. I am always thinking about my next meal. I read food/cooking/travel magazines cover to cover, virtually transporting myself from my couch to whichever part of the world is being covered. I have a collection of over 200 cookbooks from around the world! These cookbooks are not just objects of adornment, but ones that have bent pages and food stains from regularly trying out new dishes. One of my greatest joys in life is eating a new dish somewhere in the world and trying to recreate it through memory and taste in my own kitchen.
While I could dedicate post after post to each dish sampled, I want to list here six dishes I would have never known about without our travels. Foods that I have now formed a life long bond with.
Imam Bayildi: The Turkish dish of eggplant, garlic, onions and tomatoes which was so divine and had so much olive oil that it made a frugal Imam faint. My first exposure to this dish was in a small Turkish restaurant in Saarbrucken, Germany and was the commencement of a love affair with Turkish cuisine.
Tempura: The most delicate tempura I tasted was in Tokyo, where I was presented with a single, large, basil leaf fried in batter that formed an intricate lattice. I was afraid to break this work of art with my chop sticks. There have been countless oily, soggy tempuras since then, but none to match the flawless, melt-in-your-mouth taste of the one in Tokyo.
Baklava: Istanbul, Cairo, Athens all have introduced me to their own special brands of baklava. From pistachios to walnuts to sweetened condensed milk, the varied stuffings have all been a gift to the palate.
Gelato: Till my first trip to Milan, I had never really had authentic gelato, and once I had my first scoop (actually multiple scoops) at Rivareno, there was no settling for insipid, uninspiring ice cream!
Roti Canai: For an Indian, rotis are everyday homely food. But in Penang, as I savored the flaky, multilayered roti, calories did not matter. Every morsel was an indulgence.
Injera Bread and Vegetables: We sampled this Ethiopian delicacy not in Africa, but at Meskerem, that temple of Ethiopian cooking in Adams Morgan in Washington DC. Was it the similarity to Indian cuisine? Was it the communal eating? Or was it the delicious injera with the veggies and berbere sauce that made for a divine experience?
We would love to hear about your favorite foods! Being vegetarians, we are particularly curious about the ones we can sample as well:)