After our final tapas dinner, we of course needed a final helado or ice cream fix. My daughter had ice cream about 2 times a day on average during our nearly 4 week trip. I figure she had at least 80+ scoops of ice cream and perhaps as many as 20-25 different flavors. There is something about the ice cream in Spain (and later in Italy) that is totally addictive. The quality of ice creams was generally extremely high. They were first and foremost, intensely FLAVORED. The fruit or chocolate or nut essence that they used was so fresh and bright tasting, so evocative of the underlying ingredient, so rich and concentrated that you could barely do anything wrong to it while transforming it into ice cream. I once had an â€œexoticâ€ kalamansi sherbet at a chi-chi Parisian ice cream place and it was superbâ€¦the essence of kalamansi was better than having real kalamansi in Manila, if you can believe that. I think the food companies in Europe have perfected a way to extract and concentrate flavorâ€¦just like they have figured out how to do it for fragrance.
The second critical aspect of the ice creams after flavor is the cream. Though many of the street-side shops didnâ€™t have the creamiest ice creams I have ever had, they had deliciously and sufficiently creamy ice creams. And the sherbets which had no cream were nevertheless creamy in texture rather than icy. I decided not to get too anal about the ice creams and just enjoy them whenever we felt like it. Of course we found favorite flavors – mine were the fruit sherbets, the spectacular pistachio ice creams, the intense dark chocolate flavors. My daughter experimented a lot and tried all kinds of things from 5-10 different chocolate and coffee flavors, nutella, hazelnuts, etc. My wife ate the least ice cream but when she did, she splurgedâ€¦several scoops of the richest dulce de leche, or chocolate with shards of chocolate imbedded within.
We got ice creams from Farggi in Barcelona, a chain that has shops all over the city, as well as numerous unnamed and equally delicious purveyors (including many of the artisanal chocolate shops that also sold ice cream). I donâ€™t think we had a â€œbadâ€ cup of ice cream at all. With prices ranging from Euro2-4 per cup, we are talking serious expenditure on ice cream! All in all, it probably would have paid for a light meal at El Bulli if we could have gotten in. But thatâ€™s an interesting questionâ€¦a one-off experience at El Bulli or all the ice cream than 3 people could eat for 1 monthâ€¦hmmm, not so sure thatâ€™s an easy choice! I know what option my daughter would take.
Besides the spectacular ice creams where endless choices of pastries, munchies, sweets, etc. from bakeries or other wonderful food shops. In the next few photos are pictures of turron or almond nougat, marzipan, and lots of other goodies that I canâ€™t even nameâ€¦