Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Ultimate Marathon

 I have been training all year for this. It's a rigorous method that goes something like; walk, walk, walk, eat. Walk walk, walk, eat.  Repeat 12 times. It's not for the weak, but that is what it takes to do the Marathon of Gelato here in Torino. Once a year the news paper La Stampa holds the marathon with 12 of the cities gelaterie giving out their signature gelato flavors for free to anyone who thinks they can handle it. Last year I took on 11 gelaterie in 3 hours and came in 23rd place. This year I'm looking to beat that record. Plus I will answer that burning question I know you have; 'Is it possible to get sick from eating too much gelato?'

If there is one thing I have learned by living in Italy it is that gelato is sacred. It is worshiped. It could be a religion. I am happy to immerse myself in this part of the culture.

 Here are the 12 gelaterie and the flavors the I endured in the marathon today.
(This can also be used as a guide if you are in Torino and want to try any of these unique flavors for yourself)

1. Vasa Vasa:
Via Amendola, 4
Flavor: Cassata
The best way I can describe cassata is that it's like panettone, a dark yellow creamy gelato with chunks of candied fruits. It's good if you like stuff to chew on in your gelato.

2. Caffè Miretti
Corso Matteotti, 5
Flavor: Fior di Panna
Translation: pretty much plain 'ol sweet cream. It was good but I was a tad disappointed that they didn't bring out the big guns for the marathon.

3. Cono d'Oro
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 41
Flavor: Gianduia (jan-do-ya)
Gianduia is the most famous flavor in Torino. It's milk chocolate with hazelnuts blended together into a smooth frosting like texture. It is r-i-c-h and delicious. If gelato was a religion gianduia would be the Pope.

4. Alberto Marchetti
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 24bis
Flavor: Mandorle Arancio
A blend of almond gelato with orange gelato make for a light and creamy sweet flavor. The orange doesn't overpower like I thought it was going to. It resembles, only slightly, an Orange Julius.

5. Rivareno
Via La Grange, 29
Flavor: Vaniglia Madagascar
Madagascar vanilla, in this case, tasted alot like super sweet vanilla ice cream. If you love vanilla, you will really love this one. I, on the other hand, wanted more.

6. La Scala Ice
Piazza Vittorio, 16bis/e
Flavor: Topkapi
My pick for this years BEST flavor. Topkapi is a mix of pistachio and torroncino (a nougat candy). I would not have thought to put these 2 flavors together which is why I was so delightfully surprised.  Try it. Trust me.

7. La Piramide
Via Po, 43
Flavor: Zagarella
Orange flower and egg based gelato with candied orange pieces blended in. Fabulous if you like orange on orange on orange.

8. La Piazzetta
Piazza Carlo Alberto, 12h
Flavor: Cioccolato Arancia e Pimento
Points for creativity and yummy-ness here. Dark chocolate orange gelato with a dash of pepper for added spice.  It's like a Christmas chocolate orange with a kick.

9. All Bar Meno 18
Piazza Castello, 54
Flavor: Nocciola
Nocciola is hazelnuts which are prevalent all over piemonte which makes this flavor another favorite in Torino.

Via Palazzo di Città, 7/b
Flavor: Pesca Gialla all'Amaretto
This ain't your moma's vanilla! My last years pick for the best flavor was Vanilla's Caramelized Fig and Ricotta gelato. This year they hit me with Yellow Peach and Amaretto, which I didn't pick as the best this year but I do have to give them props for another creative and tasty flavor. A perfect gelato for the summer.

11. Cioccogelateria Venchi
Via Garibaldi, 22
Flavor: Dark Chocolate
If you love chocolate then this gelateria is for you because as the name says it specializes in chocolate gelato. The flavor I had here was the 60% cacao dark chocolate and I am a dark chocolate lover and I was not disappointed. At all.

12. Piu di un Gelato
Via San Tommaso, 6
Flavor: Pere Della Nonna
My last gelateria of the marathon and the flavor was called Grandma's pears. This gelato was very light with just a hint of pear and cinnamon. It was not creamy, more like a sorbet which was the perfect way for me to cross the finish line of the gelato-thon.
 Stats: I finished in 2 1/2 hours and came in...wait for it.....5th place!

I am happy to report that after walking the city and eating no less then 12 gelati the answer to the question, is it possible to get sick from too much gelato, is NO. There is no such thing as too much gelato! A rule to live by. I'm just glad I survived this marathon and took one for the team to answer that question for you all.
Pier has already told me that next year my goal will have to be in the top 3. I guess that means back to training...only 364 days until the next marathon. I'll start right after I wake up from my sugar coma.

Please feel free to leave questions and comments!

(Side note for GROM lovers: You might have noticed that Grom was not part of the marathon. They chose not to participate. They don't need new customers or want to give away free gelato. Boo.)


kpas said...

That is awesome!! Congratulations on your top 5 finish.

Francinapaperina said...

(an boohoo to grom....)

bellatigre said...

This post is funny. Wow you came in 5th!!! Congrats! Yes, next year, you'll have to be in the top three!

After reading your entry, I'll definitely be popping over at La Scala Ice asap!

labonnefemme1 said...

Way to go! I knew you could do it! I remember last year's post and how jealous I was, so now I have to plan a visit to come see you, but it must be during the gelato marathon!


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Well done and thanks for the ice cream guide.