Apr 302008
 
Authors: Maggie Canty

Most Americans prefer things big.

If you’re paying the better part of five dollars for a scoop of ice cream, it better be half the size of your head and make you sick if you eat the whole thing.

Which you will.

There’s nothing wrong with it. We just want more bang for our buck.

So you can imagine my disappointment the first time I had gelato. I ordered a medium, thinking it would be plenty, and received a petri-sized dish with a small dollop of the Italian ice cream, and given a mere toothpick-like tool to eat it with.

Upset and confused, I left the store in disgust to eat my baby-sized portion alone.

However, I found myself pleasantly surprised and somewhat elated after I took my first bite of the frozen treat. It’s rich, dense texture packed more flavor into each bite than any regular ice cream. I found myself perfectly satisfied with the portion size.

And the added bonus: no post-Cold Stone stomachache.

Apparently Italians have more to offer than hairy backs and spaghetti sauce.

Gelato, according to Ti-Amo, a gelato producer, is made by super cooling the ingredients (using milk instead of cream) while constantly stirring them, producing the dense texture with less than 35 percent air – compared with traditional ice cream’s 90 percent.

This process packs in the taste without the fat (but close to twice the sugar).

“The fat in ice cream actually blocks a lot of the flavor,” said Marcy Maxwell, the general manager at Gelazzi in Old Town. “Gelato is lighter. It’s a great treat without the guilt of ice cream.”

It’s also stored at lower temperatures, keeping it softer and more flavorful. But eat fast, because it melts quicker, too.

Don’t book a plane ticket to Europe quite yet. There are plenty of places right here in Fort Collins that offer fine Italian ice cream without the language barrier.

La Dolce Vita, located on the northwest corner of Drake and Shields, offers the combination of both gelato and mediocre coffee drinks with a large study area. And eat as much as you like; Pulse Fitness Club is right next door.

Gelazzi, a growing gelato chain, features numerous flavors along with specialty alcoholic drinks – perfect for the 21st birthday girl.

Nearest to campus is Déj/ Vu Coffeehouse, whose new owners added a gelato counter last summer.

They rotate a few select flavors, but their employees are friendly enough to make up for anything their selection lacks.

No matter where you end up, just keep in mind that when it comes to ice cream, go big or go Italian.

Entertainment editor Maggie Canty can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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