During the summer, one nice thing to do on a hot afternoon is prendere un gelato (go for ice cream), especially if you’re with friends and you happen to pass una gelateria. You might want to be the one to treat everyone. If so, then the verb you need here is offrire (to offer).
Allora, sai che facciamo? Per festeggiare, ti offro un gelato.
So, you know what we'll do? To celebrate, I'll treat you to an ice cream.
Captions 35-36, Francesca - alla guidaPlay Caption
When somebody looks ready to pull out his wallet, that’s the time to say, offro io! (I’m buying!)
In a gelateria, there are various prices relating to how many scoops, or palline (little balls), of gelato you get on your cono (cone) or in your coppetta (little cup), and the good news is that each scoop can be a different gusto (flavor).
As far as gusti go, rarely will you find vaniglia (vanilla), but you will find fior di latte or fior di panna (or even panna fredda in the Bologna area).
Why these names? Fiore (flower) can be used as an adjective, fior, to describe something as being special, of the best quality, in this case, latte (milk) or panna (cream). Think of something flourishing or blossoming. In fact, fior fiore is an expression used outside the realm of gelato to mean “the cream of the crop” (la crème de la crème). So we’re talking about the best quality milk, the best quality cream.
Theoretically, that’s what goes into this kind of gelato, which, whatever the gelataio chooses to call it (fior di latte, fior di panna, or panna fredda), refers to gelato with no added flavoring, just the taste of the milk, cream, and sugar. It’s white in color, and naturally, this “neutral” flavor goes well with all the other gusti.
Gelato alla crema, on the other hand, is made with the above ingredients, plus eggs, and because of this, is rich, yellow, and more custardy. It’s probably the closest you’ll get to “vanilla.” It’s the kind of gelato that ends up on top of fragole (strawberries) or macedonia (fruit salad).
Una macedonia con il gelato alla crema. OK, alla crema, perfetto.
A fruit salad with vanilla ice cream. OK, vanilla, perfect.
Captions 39-40, Una gita - al lagoPlay Caption
Apart from the ever popular cioccolato, other well-loved flavors are:
stracciatella (shredded chocolate laced through fior di latte, from stracciare [to shred])
gianduia (chocolate and hazelnut)
amarena (fior di latte laced with amarene [sour cherries] in their syrup)
...and many more! Italians like to combine the flavors on the same cone or in the same little dish. They may even use a little spoon to eat the ice cream off the cone!
If you’re invited to someone’s home for dinner in the summertime, it’s rarely a mistake to bring, as a gift, a vaschetta (little tub) of gelato. Pick a variety of gusti so there’s something for everyone. The gelataio will give you a polistirolo (styrofoam) container so it stays cold.
Summer can be a great time to reinforce a foreign language experience. If you’ve already seen the Yabla offerings of Italian TV episodes like Medico in Famiglia or Commissario Manara, try watching an entire puntata (episode) from start to finish without the captions. You might be surprised at how much you understand!
For a greater challenge, watch some classic Italian movies with (or without) subtitles, such as:
Fellini films like La Strada or La Dolce Vita, which are mentioned in the interviews with Fellini on Yabla, and Lina Wertmüller’s Pasqualino Sette Bellezze from which Yabla featured the ironic and humoristic opening song from the soundtrack. See also the interview with Lina Wertmüller.