With just a few clean clothes left in our suitcases, the last evening in Rome brought yet another unplanned surprise. We were invited to a dinner with Cardinal Sanchez (I didn’t know we had 3 Filipino cardinals, as there are only 2 in the Philippines!) who has been at the Vatican for decades. It was a small private dinner in a stunning private home so I wonâ€™t say much lest I offend our brilliant and utterly private hosts. The food was terrific and the conversation sufficiently peppered with interesting views on religion and politics (the two typically off-limits topics of polite dinners). But I must say a big thank you to our hosts that evening and hopefully they will read this postâ€¦ We had a wonderful dessert at that dinner but we had one more food experience we just had to have before we left Romeâ€¦Il Gelato San Crispino.
Just a few meters from our apartment and open late into the evening, was a suburban outpost of the well regarded and written about Gelateria. We entered and armed with a mission to put the place through its paces, ended up ordering 10 different flavors of gelato in one visit!!! First I have to commend them for the best fruit sorbets I have tasted, period. Not only were they light and not overly sweet, they were made with incredibly fresh and premium fruit and the flavors were unlike any commercial gelato/sorbet I have ever had. The place prides itself in the use of no artificial flavors or colors whatsoever and the set-up of the shop is more akin to a doctorâ€™s clinic than a gelato joint. We tried the apple, grapefruit and pear sorbets and they were to die for. Apparently, the only way to make really good sorbet is to use fresh and not stewed fruit. That way, the fruit flavor, if it is done right, really comes across as the ice melts on your tongue.
The Kid and Mrs. Marketman got in on the act and we rapidly polished off servings of ginger cinnamon, meringue with cacao bits, honey, cocoa, vanilla, pistachio, strachiatella (spelling?) and one other flavor I canâ€™t even recall the name of! Overall verdict? The best gelato we had had on the entire trip, definitely! Because the scoops were rather small and we were splitting orders, the whole mad gelato tasting caper cost less than Euro 20, a brilliant bargain if you ask me. I thought about madly begging for a franchise for Manila until I realized I couldnâ€™t get freshly picked Hazelnuts from Northern Italy, pears that had just reached their peak in ripeness 12 hours before or honey from hives near fields of wildflowersâ€¦ Now if only I knew the methods, I could have mango, mangosteen and palawan cherry sorbets and gelatos flavored with Bohol cacao, pili nut pralines, yemas, etcâ€¦ Some things you just have to dream about!