So what do you do if you are in one of Italy’s most picturesque cities and find yourself with a hankering for two, three, or even four scoops of homemade southern Italian gelato?
You hit the beach.
Just a few blocks down the lungomare from the tiny green kiosk of the Gelateria Cesare is the ultra-modern, uber-trendy Cremeria Sottozero-today’s stop on the Tour del Gelato.
Sottozero is a full service Italian bar that serves pastries, apertivi, coffee, granita and of course … gelato.
The soft, fluffy pillows of gelato consumed more than four cases, each offering a new, exciting flavor to tempt our taste buds.
Licorice? Good. But not for me …
Chili pepper? Absolutely! Oh shoot-they are all out.
Sapori di Sicilia? A mix of the best flavors of Sicily? Count me in!
After agonizing over this life-and-death-type decision, I choose sapori di sicilia and coconut. I was not disappointed.
“So what do you think?” our Reggio guide asked as she took another bite from her coppetta. “Who wins? Cesare or Sottozero?”
I looked around the group as my new friend’s young Brazilian friend joined us to hear the results.
“Two votes here for Sottozero,” she said as she pointed to her husband and herself.
“Me, too,” one of the Americans said. “I think.”
“I can’t decide,” the other American said.
They all looked at me.
“Well,” I began, as I licked my cone just as the Sicilian pistachio blend started dripping down my hand. “I like the atmosphere at Cesare. It is small and quaint and cozy. Sottozero is too modern.”
They all nodded.
“I also like the staff at Cesare. They are friendlier and more welcoming.”
They all looked at each other. Giggle. Giggle. Laugh.
“What?” I asked, obviously missing the joke.
They pointed to my new friend’s Brazilian friend who was, by the way, not laughing and I noticed his shirt for the first time.
There in the upper left corner of his black striped vest was the word “Sottozero.”
“Uhm … uhm …,” I said, quickly trying to back peddle my way out of this situation. “I meant, uhm … the staff here is great, too … maybe he doesn’t speak English?”
“He speaks English.”
“Well,” I declared as I pulled my friends away from the bar and towards the beach. “What I was going to say is that Cesare is precious and I loved the people-but the gelato at Sottozero is richer, creamier and well … more sinfully delicious.”
So there you have it. Four votes for Sottozero and one undecided. And according to Sottozero’s logo … there is really only one choice.
But if you are ever on or around the Reggio Calabria lungomare, I think you should do the taste-test yourself because, really, when gelato is this good … who’s to say one is sweeter or which group of people is really friendlier?
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Number 83
89100 Reggio Calabria (Lido)
* Visitors to Catanzaro no longer have to drive the two hours south to Reggio for Sottozero gelato. A new kiosk recently opened in the new Centro Commerciale Le Fontane and all of their classic tastes, including the mousse-like semifreddo flavors are available there.