How to eat tons of ice cream in Rome and not feel guilty?
When in Rome, eat ice cream (gelato in italian)
Summer in Rome is hot, ice cream is not. Exploring Rome’s epic museums, architecture, and parks anytime between June and August can test anyone’s heat tolerance. A pleasant way to roam Rome on a warm sunny day is to take a break at a nearby gelateria for one of the delights Italy is famous for…it’s ice cream. You won’t have any problem finding one. Churches and gelaterie…no matter where you find yourself in Italy one of these two is just a stone’s throw away.
Where to find an out of ordinary ice cream?
Grezzo Raw Chocolate is a “revolutionary” ice cream shop (gelateria in italian) in Rome’s Monti neighborhood, a short walk to via Urbana from the Cavour metro stop. Using the word “revolutionary” might at first seem like an exaggeration, but Grezzo aims to re-educate the general public about ice cream. It is a small but bustling gelateria with an open kitchen, full of satisfied return customers, both regulars who are locals and well-informed expats.
On the wall of the gelateria it reads: “Our mission is to raise the quality of life on this planet through dessert and food consciousness. We believe that you deserve the best service, the best ingredients, the best sensations when you are here, at Grezzo.” Founded just a few years ago by its master chef from Taranto in Puglia, Grezzo hopes to “re-educate the public about gelato.”
New Perspectives on ice cream
One wanders into Grezzo for a refreshing gelato and leaves with a new perspective on desserts in general. What makes this place different?
Grezzo’s ice cream breaks with this tradition by offering a product that is free of refined sugar and contains five core elements in all of its gelati: 1) cashews 2) coconut sugar and 3) cocoa butter, and in the case of chocolate-based flavors 4) cocoa beans 5) cocoa pods.
Moreover, all of their gelato is made with non-milk products; they use fresh almond milk instead.Cashews are used to create a creamy texture. In fact their award winning nocciola (hazelnut) gelato actually does have one of the creamiest and most intense flavors ever. Their cioccolato has a subtler taste than the usual chocolate ice cream and the pistacchio has an earthy taste. The mango and the passion fruit gelati are made without added coloring and therefore are not the fluorescent orange hues we have become accustomed to, but rather a beige color that belies its authentic taste. Tasting Grezzo’s gelati and other delights is a pleasure for the palate and a “healthy evolution of dessert.” Grezzo is proof that eating desserts that are 100% vegan and bio doesn’t have to mean sacrificing richness and taste.
But what is the concept? What does Grezzo mean? In Italian, a person described as grezzo or grezza is rough, uncouth, and even vulgar. But in the context of this unique gelateria it means raw, unadulterated, or nude: a clever reference to what is known in Italy as the crudista culinary movement, or the raw food diet. This is both a concept and a style of preparing and presenting food that is based on simplicity. Nothing is cooked so that the nutritional benefit of ingredients is preserved. Techniques such as fermenting, marinating, drying and others take the place of heat-based preparation. Crudismo (raw food diet) is a big trend in Hollywood as well as in North America and Europe in general. Italy can surprise you with its trendy food offer, but it rarely disappoints. Grezzo is proof of this.
Even the kids like Grezzo ice cream!
To erase any doubts about the sumptuousness of Grezzo’s vegan ice cream, the second time we went we brought along two children, both under the age of 10. While it’s true, we all become children again as we choose our gelato flavor combination, enjoying our cone or cup in a sort of food trance, children are the real judges of what is authentically yummy ice cream versus a mere healthy substitute. Grezzo got a standing ovation from these two kids! They weren’t interested in the gelato’s lack of chemical additives or the high antioxidant levels of the ingredients. Instead, they finished off their cones quickly, mumbling through chocolate covered lips: “Delicious! Can we have more?” As they say, out of the mouths of babes…
What is your favorite gelateria in Rome?
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