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Eat, Pray, Love...Gelato

Hot & Cool Trends

By Cari Martens

Perhaps spurred on by the best-selling book, and now the release of the film Eat, Pray, Love, gelato, the creamy Italian frozen treat, is growing in awareness and popularity across the U.S.

In the book the on which the film is based, author Elizabeth Gilbert discovers the ‘best gelato in Rome’ thanks to a tip from a Roman bus driver. Ever since the book became a best seller, San Crispino gelato has become a must-have taste experience for tourists visiting Rome, and the recent movie release promises to up the ante even more—for the San Crispino shops in Italy and for gelato in general.

The ads and movie posters show the film’s star, Julia Roberts, seated on a bench in Rome, rapturously licking a little spoon, and with a cup of gelato in her hand.

We happened to be at a local movie theater here in the U.S. Midwest last week on the release date of ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ (although we were there to see ‘The Other Guys’), and folks were in the lobby setting up a gelato kiosk to take advantage of the local EPL premiere weekend. They were offering free samples and promoting the grand opening of their local gelato shop.

The rising lust for gelato and other ‘premium’ ice cream products seems to have driven up the prices at many scoop shops across the U.S., according to a story by Julia Moskin, writing for the New York Times. In places like Boston, Beverly Hills, Columbus, Ohio, and Arroyo Seco, N.M., a small cone or cup can now run you more than $4, Moskin reports.

At Grom gelaterias in Manhattan, a small cone of gelato costs $5.25 with tax. Grom, known as one of the top gelato makers, has more than 20 shops in Italy. The very first one is located in Turin, where Grom’s only factory operates.

Many high-end scoop shops use imported and organic ingredients, as well as local fruit in season, and make their treats by hand to justify the high prices. They often offer ‘artisan’ flavors such as Goat Cheese, Whiskey Brickle and Avocado.

Then, on the complete opposite side of the cone—er, coin—you’ve got McDonald’s, which is promoting its soft-serve vanilla cone for just 50¢ this summer.

So, I guess when it comes to ice cream/gelato treats, you CAN have it both ways.

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