Monday, July 18, 2011

An Ode to Gelato

You may or may not know this, but I’m partially lactose intolerant. That means that I can’t digest ice cream, sour cream or ranch - three of my favorite things! I have found substitutes for sour cream (greek yogurt) and ranch (blue cheese) but hadn’t found anything to replace my beloved ice cream.

I remember as a child going to Baskin Robbins with my dad and trying samples of the various ice creams on the bubble gum pink miniature spoons. I instantly fell in love with pistachio almond which everyone thought was odd for a 10 year old. I loved the creamy, nutty, slight almond flavor in each delicious bite. In fact one year I had an ice cream cake made with it which grossed out my friends.  He was also a big fan of pistachio almond. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree huh?

It wasn’t until college that my lactose intolerance kicked in. I remember feeling awful after eating any thing dairy and couldn’t figure out why. It finally hit me what it was when I told mom who is also lactose intolerant. It had to be possibly the worst day in my foodie life. How on earth was I going to live without pistachio almond ice cream?! Blizzards?! Coldstone?! Frosties?! Milkshakes?! WOEFUL DAY!

I tried lactose enzymes and lactaid and nothing worked. I finally gave up ice cream cold turkey and my mouth watered every time I saw an ice cream commercial or my friends indulging in the frosty treats when it was 150* degrees outside.

I finally found my substitute when I took a trip to Vegas with a friend. We were exploring Aria and came across Jean Philippe Patisserie - a sweet tooth heaven. There were so many delicious looking desserts I didn’t know which one to pick or try. I wandered over to the gelato section and saw all of the wonderful flavors. I asked the girl at the counter what gelato was made of and she advised that it wasn’t like ice cream and someone that is lactose intolerant could eat it! That was music to my ears! Finally after 7 years I was able to find an ice cream substitute  that I could eat and not get sick!

I couldn’t decide what flavor to get so I decided on the cheesecake and coconut. I took a bite and literally had a foodgasm - a food orgasm! The texture was incredible - silky, smooth, rich, sweet, creamy...deliciousness in my mouth! I’m sure I made a spectacle of myself moaning in delight, but I was in gelato bliss!

So fast forward to this evening. RC was craving ice cream and volunteered to go to Mickey D’s for ice cream cones for her and SIL and apple pies for me. RC was gone longer than usual and did not return with Mickey D’s. She came back with something far better - gelato! Pistachio gelato to be exact from Ciao Bella. It was love at first bite. The taste reminded me of my childhood trips to Baskin Robbins with my dad which made me happy and nostalgic.

It’s amazing how food can be such a comfort and bring back fond memories. I’m elated that I am finally able to enjoy my favorite frosty treat! If you haven’t tried Ciao Bella, I highly recommend it! You won’t be disappointed.

Buen Provecho!
Thimetis - The Hungry Latina