It's not sorbetto,it's definitely not gelato, and it's not granita, either. So what in the world is cremolata, anyway?
The short answer is that it's like a fruit sorbetto but made with the pulp of the fruit and all the good bits mixed in, not strained to make a juice-only base like most sorbetti use. The result? Something a little chunkier, and more substantial -- and less creamy -- than sorbetto. But fewer ice crystals than granita. No dairy, so not gelato.
But enough about what it's not. What is IS: delicious. And refreshing, particularly on a hot summer day in Rome. Which brings us to a nondescript little bar/gelateria right down the street from my apartment in the Jewish ghetto, and famous among those in-the-know frozen treat lovers in Rome: Alberto Pica. This bar, featuring some of the grumpiest counter help and cashiers on the Italian peninsula, does one thing very well: frozen desserts. Their gelato flavors change all the time, but they're most renowned for their riso alla cannella gelato, which is basically a cinammon-scented frozen rice pudding. Yeah. Pretty delicious. Their sorbetti feature a range of unusual flavors as well, including rosa, flavored with rose petals.
But the cremolate: it can be hard to select among the flavors, their juicy, bright fruity colors beckoning you to add a scoop of wild cherry, or Amalfi lemon to your cup...but choose I did. Watermelon and peach-spumante, as featured in the photo above. On a long afternoon passeggiata (stroll) through the center of Rome, it's just the ticket to refresh and revive.
Bar Alberto Pica; via Della Seggiola, 12 (corner of Via Arenula); +39-06-686-8405