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.