The consumption of gelati is a natural by-product of life in Italy. It is used to celebrate good news, commiserate bad news and for every occasion in between.
My discovery of my favourite gelati shop in Bologna, and possibly all of Italy, was during an occasion that required commiseration. Two weeks after finally settling into an apartment in Bologna, I was told that there was a significant problem with the contractual arrangements, which means I had to find somewhere else to live. This occurred in the same week that I realised that the route I was going to go down to get a permit to stay in Italy was not going to work and I had to find another way of being able to stay in Bologna with my husband.
While I know how I am going to resolve the permit/visa issue and I have another option for the apartment, there were several hours when I just wanted to alternate between rocking silently in a corner and watching endless episodes of mind numbing TV.
Instead, my husband and I went for an evening walk to get some gelati. The closest gelati place is just across the street from our current apartment and has people spilling out of the shop every afternoon. Italians of all ages holding cones filled with swirls of rich, creamy gelati, eyes alight with sugar and happiness.
Feeling dejected, we walked slowly toward the store, its bright lights joyfully beckoning passers-by into its doors.
We entered, shielding our downcast eyes from the sudden wave of happiness that hits anyone entering an ice cream store. I chose two flavours – Bolognese doughnut (after the city, not the spaghetti sauce) and the house special, milk chocolate sauce with a white chocolate gelati that freezes the sauce, almost like Ice Magic. This shop also provides a mini cone, modified so that part of its edge is longer and flatter than the rest of the cone to act as a spoon and assist in the consumption of the delectable gelati.
Going back outside, we sat on one of the benches, bathed in the shop’s friendly glow. Already some of our weariness had left. We ate our gelati, watching others come and get their own portion of bliss. Couples whispering and flirting with each other, a trio of teenage girls all with the same black and white Adidas sneakers and some young guys on bicycles, stopping to talk to the girls and get their own gelati.
By the time we had finished our cones, I could no longer hear the beckoning of that dark corner and was ready to face whatever the rest of the week would bring.