Alla Scala Gelateria, Rome
I mentioned in my earlier posts that the best gelati we ate was in Italy Europe. This is it, Alla Scala Gelateria.
I read in Rick Steves' Best Of Europe (yes, it's the travel bible for Europe) that Florence has the best gelati in Italy but some authorities (cookbooks) rated Rome's gelati higher than Florence's. I think it's hard to get a bad gelati in Italy, especially the ones made with natural ingredients and fresh, quality fruits instead of concentrates or whatever it is they use. You can tell by the duller colors and the tin canisters that the gelati will be good. The less delicious gelati come in bright colors and plastic tubs.
Alla Scala Gelateria (also recommended by Rick; I got to meet this guy!) is a very small gelateria, with standing room for about 4 people only and no place to sit. When writing this post, I googled Scala and found that it makes the list in the top gelateria in Rome. The best gelateria that leads the pack in Rome, however, is San Crispino (especially after "Eat, Pray, Love"), which I had written down on my notebook but didn't search for because by the time we got to Trevi Fountain, we were too tired.
I don't read Italian but I see the mention of Giolitti, Rome's famous gelati and believe me, Giolitti is to Rome as Ben & Jerry's is to the US--famous because they are long established--and personally, Ben & Jerry's ice cream is about the worst you can eat although Giolitti is very good.
A one-man show: the owner makes the gelati and the brioches and is the only staff in the shop.
There weren't many flavors to choose from, unlike most gelateria, but the lack in quantity is made up by the quality. Scala's gelati is made daily in small batches to manitain quality and freshness and if a flavor runs out, too bad for you. Scala's top flavor is canella (cinnamon) which unfortunately we didn't know about and so didn't try.
Scala's suggestive brioches (and purposefully placed backdrop).
I keep a little notebook when I travel, scribbled with names and addresses of restaurants. The brioche was dry eaten on its own but this is how the Italians eat it:
As a gelati sandwich.
Our favorite flavor was pistachio.
Gelati so pure with real flavors that you know straightaway. The difference is so obvious that your tongue will tell you that it's the smoothest, creamiest, finest, tastiest, purest gelati it has ever tasted for you. Scala's gelati were also the least sweet of all the gelati I ate. The only snag is, they melt faster than other gelati so you have to eat them very quickly or they just stream down your hand, even in cool weather. I like to think that it is because they are so unadulterated with additives like stabilizers. And ladies and gentlemen, for gelati so beyond comparison, Scala's gelato cone is only 1.50 euros!
Yippee! It's free!
We kept trying all the different flavors, eating the gelati standing outside the shop, oohing and aahing as we ate. On the 7th time going into the shop Yi came out with a freebie (super sized), thrilled as a little girl should be in an ice cream shop, as you can see. In fact, when I looked at our photos, I have one of each of us coming out of the shop grinning triumphantly, gelato in hand.
Alla Scala Gelateria is at Via della Scala, 51, Trastevere, Rome. In the photo above, it is in the middle with a bush of creeping jasmine at the door. Just opposite is a small church (the Santa Maria?) where we passed by and saw the owner, finally resting on the steps. He recognized us, waved, and we restrained ourselves from rushing over to get his autograph.