Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tour del Gelato

The weather has finally turned hot; good grief, it took long enough! I was starting to think that 'summer' was not on the northern Ohio calendar year and that only two seasons existed here: winter, and not winter.

Seizing the opportunity to get some sun and some Italian atmosphere, we headed down to piccola Italia (Little Italy) for the blow-out party of the year, the Feast of the Assumption. Just like la vera Italia, the holiday known as ferragosto is the highlight festa of the season. But I'll let Bryan tell you more about that.

No, I'm here to talk gelato. Or, maybe more aptly, the lack thereof. We tried some; it was only so-so. Obviously made from a starter mix and lacking in the fresh fruit pieces or real nuts that give so much 'oomph' to real gelato. And that got me pining for my favorite gelateria in all of Italy, which is very conveniently located in the heart of Ascoli Piceno. (Maybe a little *too* conveniently located near our apartment!)

Yoghi is a narrow piece of paradise right on the Piazza Arringo. But don't let the name fool you. Sure they serve up yogurt three ways (frozen whirled with mix-ins; frozen soft-serve with toppings; or fresh yogurt with toppings). What you want here is the gelato.
Let me warn you: avert your eyes from the chocolate cases as you walk in the door. Yes, they're decadent and decoratively beautiful. Yes, they're made on-site. But don't let that side-track you from the gelato. Because we're talking home-made from the freshest of ingredients, flavors changing daily kind of gelato.

Since the master gelataio is always concocting new taste sensations, each visit is a treat. And because she is also a master chocolatier, there are always at least two gelati incorporating that (which I consider to be nature's most perfect food). The "plain" chocolate is anything but mundane; it is so rich with so much pure, quality cocoa that you must "cut" it with another flavor alongside. Other chocolate flavors I've selflessly taste-tested include milk chocolate-cinnamon, ciocco-cocco (chocolate-coconut), and white chocolate-cherry.

But you're going to want to try more than one flavor. Trust me. While the creamy and sweet-nutty nocciola (hazelnut) is a good stand-by, if the noci (walnut) is on offer, I choose it every time. The taste of crushed walnuts packs a palate-pleasing punch (especially next to the chocolate). Their stracciatella takes vanilla-chocolate chip up a few notches, as it uses an insanely good fior di latte as its base and comes with abundant, optimum chocolate pieces (remember, she's a chocolate maker, too!)

I've enjoyed cannolo, pistachio, blueberry, strawberry, sacher torte, vaniglia (which is surprisingly hard to find in Italy), and Kinder (based on a chocolate-hazelnut children's snack). None have disappointed. Seriously; never (and I've spent a lot of time in this place!)

Because Yoghi is also a pastry shop, chocolate shop and yogurt shop, they offer only eight to ten gelato flavors a day, but they are always fresh. Besides, it gives them the chance to rotate flavors more often, giving us more variety to try. It also means that you can order a nice piece of cake or a chocolate brownie and get it topped with gelato! They make only the creamy kind (no dairy-free sorbetto, at least I've never seen any).

Once you've eaten your swoon-worthy gelato, you're free to peruse those chocolate cases. The artful and tasteful truffles and filled treats are some of the best you'll ever eat. Free-trade coffee is also served here.

Yoghi - Gelateria, Pasticceria, Yogurteria, Cioccolateria
Piazza Arringo (between Bar Ideal and Bar Delfino)
Ascoli Piceno's centro storico
Tell Gregorio and Giusy we said hello!

Find more tempting gelaterie over at Ms. Adventures in Italy, the brain behind the Tour del Gelato.


carol in dc said...


Valerie said...

Oh yeah...with chocolate, of course! ;)

J.Doe said...

I went to a gelateria in another Little Italy - the Little Italy in NY. Their gelato was also made on site and it looked really good but tasted more like the American Ice Cream than real Gelato so I was disappointed. :( . I was thinking of buying an ice cream maker to try to replicate gelato because I'm desperate for it.
I never went to the Yoghi bar but I do miss the gelato I've eaten all over Italy (except for one place in Florence)

Valerie said...

J. - That's the sad part, it looks so good and tempting and then it just lets you down! Next time you're in Ascoli be sure to visit Yoghi; you won't be disappointed.

Linda of Ice Tea For Me said...

Thank goodness I was eating a salad as I read this post or I'd be right now looking for something yummy and sweet to fill the void you left with your mouth watering descriptions of the gelato.

There truly is nothing better than eating the perfect gelato... in Italy.

Saretta said...

Hi there! I'm a bit confused. Are you in Ohio on holiday, or have you returned to the States definitively? Sorry, I haven't been a faithful reader!

The Retreat said...

Valerie is right! This is a great gelateria! There is a girl called Gina who works here she speaks english and she is so nice! You can't go wrong!