Friday, August 6, 2010

Attention, ladies: It's JUST A MOVIE (plus review of San Crispino gelato, Rome)

I repeat, this is a MOVIE.  Make-believe!  Credit: Rex Features

Remember the Sex and the City tour that shepherded out-of-towners around New York to various sites featured on the show, including a pit stop at Magnolia Bakery where participants downed cupcakes in emulation of the show's characters?  In case you don't, here is A.A. Gill's brutal description of it in Vanity Fair.  As if that wasn't sad, and strange, enough, a new manifestation of this phenomenon has taken hold in Rome.

The Telegraph reports that women hoping to emulate Julia Roberts' character in Eat, Pray, Love are lining up to buy gelato at San Crispino, a gelateria near the Trevi Fountain.  This is terrible news for at least two reasons:
1. A lot of women are in for a disappointment if they think that a cup of gelato (there are no cones available because the owners fear the cones might not be all-natural) is going to turn their lives into an Elizabeth Gilbert/Julia Roberts fairytale.
2. This means next time I go, the lines are going to be even longer and the already surly service (number of flavor tastings is already capped at one - see an earlier post on the ethics of this policy) will be even surlier.  The number of flavor tastings may be brought down to zero, a shame, since the flavors are seasonal and there are often surprises.  

The only upside of this I can possibly envision is that San Crispino might consider it in their best financial interests to keep the shop open on Tuesdays, the day they currently take off, if doing so is within the limits of Italian law.  This is widely known as the best gelateria in Italy, if not the world.  Or does being the best gelateria in Italy by default make you the best gelateria in the world?  Ponder that tautology.  Anyway, I adore this place, and also healed a broken heart there senior year of college by returning three to four times per day, to the point where every time I stepped through the doors, the staff (who had by then warmed to me) would smile and ask "Ancora?!?"  (Again?!?!). 

I tend to choose from the same constellation of flavors: the canella e zenzero (cinnamon and ginger), the meringue al cioccolatto (meringue with Valhrona chocolate chunks), the chocolate, the crema di San Crispino (honey flavor) and then chestnut, rumored to be the late Pope John Paul II's favorite, if it's available (it is in wintertime).  The meringue is something else: a light, delicate and aerated frozen version of a meringue cookie, not too sweet (as the cookies often are), and studded with bitter chocolate.  It's a perfect foil for some of the richer, creamier flavors.  Goodness me, I can taste it just thinking about it.  I am actually salivating right now...gross.

Anyway, ladies - enjoy the ice cream, enjoy the book, but try not to conflate fiction and reality.  I've done that before and it's always turned out badly.


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