Roman Holiday: Tartufo

Well, back from Rome.  Tomorrow, I leave Sevilla and go back to being a US resident.  That’s strange.  Hopefully I can channel my re-entry culture shock into food impulses, as I did last year, because this time I’m staying for good.  A major economic depression can cause such upheavals… Even though I’ll be leaving Spain as a resident, I’ll be back in October for a short, education-related visit and I have been assiduously stockpiling Spanish recipes for my favorite things, as well as cookbooks.  So this blog right here will continue to have a slight Mediterranean flair.  I invite you to listen to this song when reading Spain-related entries, by the way.  It makes things more exciting.

Anyways.  In my last post, I mentioned that I was going to Rome and that I had planned to taste-test three or four “best gelato places in Rome”.  Well.  I didn’t.  I had only been in Rome for a hit and run half day before this trip, so I was all for actually getting to try out all these great suggestions people were throwing out, really immerse myself into the food culture of Rome.  But it was an absolutely wonderful trip, and we sank so far into relaxation that we said to hell with gelato shop hunting and just ate it where we found it.  And it was all absolutely delicious. We visited all of one place on our list, which was suggested both by my friend Michelle and my coworker Ana, separately. I kept the list, though.

Tre Scalini came not only with a “must eat here”, but a “must eat tartufo here”.  Before going, I didn’t really know what tartufo was, and I actually only nosed around online just before sitting down to write about it right now.  (By the way, it is still hot, but I gave my fan away yesterday in my moving preparation.  Sad day.)  I just showed up at that spot and asked for one.  It turned out to be a wonderful move.

Tre Scalini is nestled between two fountains in Piazza Navona, in Rome.  I already liked it because it’s keeping my favorite fountain company: who can’t love a centerpiece based around a man spear-wrestling an  octopus?  It’s a restaurant, quickie gelato bar, and fancy gelato bar all in one.  There is a rival establishment right next door, and the hosts are quite vigorous in their attempts to usher you into one or the other.  I didn’t have the time to try the rival tartufo, so if one of you wants to go ahead and do that, please report back.   Erin tried it from a completely different gelato bar in Piazza Navona, Tre Fontaine, but it was not up to snuff.

Tartufo is truffle in Italian, and it’s a very apt name for this dessert.  It’s an incredibly rich chocolate gelato, almost like a frozen dark chocolate ganache, with a touch of rum and a maraschino cherry in the middle.  The outside is covered with dark chocolate shavings and served with a healthy dollop of whipped cream.  It’s like a small chocolate truffle ramped up with steroids and then frozen to keep you from getting overwhelmed.

You can tell that they are famous for this one – they are very well stocked.

Tartufo.  Oh man.  This thing was wonderful.  I could go on for awhile in poetic rapture about the rich darkness of the chocolate that floods your mouth, or the contrast of the inner and outer layers…but it’s hot.  And really, I’d rather you just look at the pictures and drool.  Careful with the keyboard, though.

It gets drippy, however.  After taking that last picture, I promptly dribbled chocolate down the front of my new dress.  And you know what?  Totally worth it.


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Hey, I'm Desa. I've been bouncing between the Pacific Northwest and Sevilla, Spain in the last few years and from tiny apartment to tiny apartment. I cook mainly for one, which means some potentially boring meals, but here I'll be sharing the food that excites me. Feel free to offer suggestions, commiseration, or desires. And thanks for coming by!


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