Few dairy foods are merchandised as beautifully as gelato. Think about it. Milk is sold in a bottle, yogurt in a cup. Admittedly, you can find grace in the swirls of a soft-serve ice cream cone, and a talented barista can draw a decorative image in the foam of a cappuccino. But the presentation that best exemplifies the phrase “we eat with our eyes” belongs to that found in a gelateria.
A gelateria is no run-of-the-mill scoop shop with 3-gallon cardboard cartons nestled in the bottom of an ice cream freezer. Far from it. Here, shallow 2.5-liter pans in a dipping cabinet are tilted at an angle toward the shopper. In each pan, the ice cream has been mounded into peaks and adorned with a fresh strawberry, a biscotti or a drizzle of caramel. Who can resist?