Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Devine Gelato Wine

Anyone who lives any time in Italy is bound to have a favourite gelateria: the place where they make "the best Gelato in the world".  I have heard arguments break out between normally rational people about where to find the best  Pistacchio or  Cioccolato and there are those who, with the same seriousness as they would offer their opinion on politics,  debate the merits of the Caffé or Zuppe Inglese at their preferred ice cream shop.  And I admit that I have been known to take part in these world-shaking discussions on several occasions when defending Leonard at Tropical Ice.   Though there are three other excellent gelaterie in our area if asked to name "the best" it would have to be the creamy delights and fresh flavours that Leonardo serves up.

However if by some miracle Gelati DiVini were to be moved lock, stock, staff and gelato tubs from Piazza Duomo in Ragusa to Porta Pia I'd be hard pressed to choose between the two.  This little shop and its sister shop next door offer two of my favourite Italian foods groups - gelato and wine.  And it mixes them.

I had read about Gelati DiVini (a lovely play on words - it could be read as either Wine Gelato or Devine Gelato) in Lonely Planet and on several websites and everyone lauded its fresh, creamy, often unusual and frequently wine inspired flavours.  When I arrived on Monday to find it closed up and a peep through the window revealed empty counters my heart sank.  I'm not saying that I prayed to blessed San Giorgio in his eponymous Duomo across the way but miraculously the next day I found their shutters open, tables set out in the Piazza and most important the counter now filled with jewel-like tubs of gelato.

There were 22 flavour available and though each was labelled - sometimes using a play on words - there were also little indications of the ingredients on each tub - a piece of fruit, a wine cork, a pod or spring of what had been turned into icy goodness.  And though my two favourites, Pistacchio and Caffé, seemed to be missing a few of the old standards were there -  Strawberry, Chocolate, Pear and Cream.  However you don't go to Gelati DiVini for the standard flavours - you go for the unusual and unusual they were offering.  How does Ricotta, Cardamon or Date gelato sound?  Or how about Beet, Peppered Chocolate or Carob?  Or Moscato, Rose or Marsala for those of us that like the idea of the mix of Gelatoria and Enotecha?

For my first go-around - yes I visited the smiling Rosalie twice during the day but I only ordered the medium size cup said he with a defensive tone in his voice - I had the Moscato and, at her suggestion, the Fragoline (field strawberry). DiVini! Laurent was a little more adventurous and went for the Date and the Beet. Beet??? Yes I had a taste of it but since my doctor once told me not to eat beets because they were disgusting I passed on that one. An interesting flavour not to my liking but very much to his.

Before tackling the 232 steps up to the first approach to Ragusa Superiore later that afternoon a gelato surge was required. This time I went for the Marsala - yes I know more wine - and Cinnamon with the sweetness of the wine contrasting with the bite of the spice. Laurent recharged with fiery Peppered Chocolate and cooling Fiori di pane (Rich Cream). Just what both of us needed - not for our waistlines on this trip but for our energy levels.

But before I left I had to ask Rosalie about one of the flavours that was puzzling me: Gocce Verdi. Now verdi means green and gocce means a drop - a drop of green???  That sprig of green should have been a dead give away but she gave me a taste and said "tell me what it is?"  It was olive oil - subtle but there;  the taste that Sicilia is famous for transformed into cold, creamy gelato.

Perhaps I should have stopped by and asked San Giorgio about doing that lock, stock, staff and tub transporting thing.

18 maggio - San Leonardo Murialdo
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Debra She Who Seeks said...

Beet gelato!!!! Ukrainians everywhere, rejoice!

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