Sunday, June 19, 2011

When in Rome

What Comes to Mind

If I mentioned a Caribbean cruise vacation, what would come to mind?   I suspect you'd think of palm trees, warm sandy beaches, crystal clear blue waters, and tropical drinks.

What would come to mind if I mentioned Rome, Italy?   Obviously ancient ruins, churches, and fountains would be among the responses.  But, I'm thinking of something completely different - pizza and gelato of course.

After exploring the Roman Forum, it was time for something to eat, so we searched for a local cafe. We had passed several as we walked to the Colosseum, so it was a matter of finding one for our first meal in Rome.

The four of us decided that pizza was all we wanted, so we each ordered our own individual pizza. There were several choices on the menu, but we decided upon two selections, cheese and mushrooms and cheese, mushrooms, and Prosciutto (ham).

Prosciutto is an acquired taste, so if you've never had it before, you may end up taking it off your pizza, as one of the people in our group did.  As you can see, the pizza is served on a dinner plate and fills the entire dish.  Sometimes, it is even a bit larger than the plate.  You'll have to use your knife to cut the pizza - there's no such thing as serving pizza that has already been cut up as we are used to in the states.

In most places, the pizza is very thin.  The edges are typically very crispy, but the middle could be a little soggy by our standards.   Another thing that pizza isn't is cheap.   The pizza in this picture cost 9€ and that didn't include drinks.   The bill for the four of us came to about 46€, so we rounded it up to 50€ to leave  a tip.  Tipping in Italy isn't expected, but it is common if you have good service to round up a few euros.

What's dinner without dessert, so we had to find a cafe to have some gelato.  Just a few doors down from our pizza cafe, we found a place to have some.   We had planned on just getting a cone and continuing to walk, but then changed our mind and sat down at a table to eat it there.  

Gelato is an ancient Italian frozen dessert, much like ice cream. It is made with some of the same ingredients as most other frozen dairy desserts. Milk, cream, various sugars, flavoring including fruit and nut purees are the main ingredients.

Gelato is different from some ice cream because it has a lower butterfat content.  This would only be the first of many more cups and cones of gelato throughout our trip.  Even in Greece, one can have some of this delicious frozen treat.   It is often cheaper if you select it for "take away" instead of eating it at the cafe.    In most cases 2€ will get you a small size cup or single dip cone to go.

As you can see in the picture above, there are many flavors to select from.   You can combine more than one flavor in your cup or cone if you so desire.   This one which my husband had was strawberry and lemon cello.    There were even two different choices for lemon alone, so there should be a flavor or two that you'll enjoy.  

So my friends, When in Rome.... have some of the local pizza and pasta and don't forget to add some gelato or Italian pastry treats too.

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