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Ice cream

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The taste of real Italian ice cream, eaten in Italy, is absolutely unbeatable. Gelato, as it’s known, is the country’s favourite dessert, and there’s no better way to end a day, as Italians do, than with a stroll through the streets sampling a gelato while enjoying the cool of the evening. Italian ice cream really is better than any other, and like most Italian food this is down to the local insistence on using whole milk and eggs, and adding only naturally derived flavours. Everywhere but the tiniest village will have at least one gelateria, and many cafés serve ice cream as well. If you want to sample the very best, look for the signs saying “artigianale”, which means that the ice cream is produced according to strictly traditional methods, or “produzione propria”, which means it’s home-made. There’s usually a veritable cornucopia of flavours (gusti) to choose from, from those regarded as the classics – like lemon (limone) and hazelnut (nocciola) – through staples including vanilla with chocolate chips (stracciatella) and strawberry (fragola), to house specialities that might include cinnamon (canella), chocolate with chilli pepper (cioccolato con peperoncino) or even pumpkin (zucca).

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