When I was still back in the United States thinking about my trip to Italy, one of the things that saddened me most was the fact that I thought that the whole time that I was going to be here, I was going to have to watch everyone eating gelato without me. I was prepared to eat lemon sorbet until I couldn’t possibly eat it anymore. However, to my great surprise, in almost every single gelateria in Rome, there are vegan flavors! In the first month that we were here the weather was in the 90’s almost every single day and gelato became a staple of our diet. Now that we are only hitting 70’s as a high, I have had to slowly decrease my consumption amount, but some of the flavors are so crave worthy that most nights it doesn’t matter anyways!
One of my top two favorite gelaterias in Rome is called Fatamorgana. There are a couple of different locations all around Rome, but the one pictured above is my all-time favorite. All of the allergens are listed on the flavor cards including nuts, dairy, eggs, and wheat. This is something that I really appreciate and to top it off, almost the entire last cooler on the right of the counter are entirely vegan! The flavors here have changed with the seasons and throughout my time here I have watched flavors come and go such as fig in the peak of summer heat, mango from the Southern tier of the country, and now chestnuts as fall comes into full swing. The ingredients in these seasonal flavors are all locally sourced and it is very evident that there is a great deal of work that goes into making such interesting and delectable flavors. Now, here are some of my favorite flavors from Fatamorgana!
This was my first time going to Fatamorgana and I was immediately intrigued by a flavor called “Food of the Gods”. The description was “Walnuts & Grapes”.
What could possibly be bad about walnuts and grapes?! The flavor was so refreshing and I have since ordered it 3 times over. On the bottom of this cup is the simple flavor of hazelnut. The hazelnut perfectly pairs with the grape and walnut and you can bet that I scraped out the bottom of the cup to ensure that I got to eat as much of it as I could!
This next flavor rivals the best gelato that I have had in Italy to date. This is a recent flavor at Fatamorgana and I have already gone back to order it again to eat it as much as I can until it times out. This is pumpkin gelato. I know that the pumpkin flavor gets somewhat of a cliche reputation with companies like Starbuck’s drowning it out with copious amounts of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, but this is different. The flavor is of pumpkin and only pumpkin. It is not sweetened and the profile of it tastes so natural and subtle. The way that they elevate it ever so slightly is mixing in a small amount of candied pecans. The pieces are no bigger than that of a dime and even though they are mixed into the frozen concoction, they are still perfectly crunchy and chewy, adding the perfect bite to this perfect flavor. On this day I ordered it along side a very mild chocolate, water-based flavor that was a great coupling.
Onto my other favorite gelateria, Otaleg. This shop is a little hole in the wall right next to Piazza di San Cosimato. If you are walking too quickly, you will move right past it without even realizing you just passed up on some of the best gelato of your life. Otaleg also has a great focus on local and high quality ingredients which makes their flavors so rich and delicious. They use a very high grade milk in their dairy-based gelato and a highly purified water in their water-based gelato. As you can see on the menu on the right, half of it is cream-based and the other half water. The water-based flavors are just as complex and have just as nice of a texture as the cream-based ones, which is such a feat in itself.
In the picture to the left I have ordered raspberry and a dark chocolate called fondente. The raspberry still has the seeds in it and has the perfect tart sweetness that raspberries have in their peak ripeness. The fondente is not overly sweet and borders on the bitter side of super dark chocolates. The combination of these two flavors is to die for and I am so fortunate that they are both vegan.
One of my favorite flavors that I have tried at Otaleg is the figs with almonds and chocolate chips. The based is fig flavored and still has the little crunchy seeds that make figs so interesting. The almonds also provide a great textural aspect and the chocolate chips, although they are really sweet, pair perfectly with the mild fig flavor.
The last notable flavors that I have for this post are coconut with chocolate chips and white almond, chestnut, and honey. When I was growing up, my grandmother would make these almond paste cookies that were to die for. This gelato flavor was so reminiscent of those cookies. The texture of it was thicker than normal and was so rich with the almond paste that it almost didn’t even feel cold. The texture can be very closely compared to marzipan but with a more natural sweetness of the honey and the chestnuts to elevate it. One of the most popular gelato flavors here is called stracciatella and it is a vanilla base with dark chocolate swirled into it. This coconut flavor is super close to that but the base is coconut with actual shreds of coconut in it. This is probably the best cup of gelato that I have had as a whole and I will definitely be going back to get this exact thing.
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