Friday, July 07, 2006

31 Flavors: Mashed Potatoes

My friend Allison recently sent me a link to this article from STL Today (of the St. Louis Post Dispatch) about gelato in America. I guess the popularity of Italian-style gelato is catching on in American suburbia--from Texas to Missouri--and that means it's not as necessary to make a trip to Florence to taste your favorite pistacchio and panna cotta cone. Now, you can simply drive out to the 'burbs and pay "between $2.50 and $3" for a scoop.

While I have doubts that American-style gelato can really compete with the Italian staple, it's interesting to read about the popularity of our favorite Italian pasttime (gelato-eating), and it would be quite the thing if Italian 'gelato-culture' (everyone going to the gelateria in the evenings, as if it were the local pub) caught on in Suburbian America.

But problems are foreseeable. Perhaps the biggest problem is that many people have no idea what gelato is, have never heard of this icy treat, don't know how to pronounce it, and definitely don't have an Italian stamp on their passport or any prior experience eating gelato in Italy. This, of course, means people who stop by "Gianni's Gelateria" aren't sure if they're heading into a three-course-meal, Chinese takeout, or an ice cream parlor. As the article says:
Most customers don't know what [gelato] is, said Shearman and other merchants.

"Some think it's like Jell-O," said Charsley, whose case holds such flavors as Campari pear, tangerine with Bing cherries and even sugar-free double-Dutch chocolate.

"We have to explain it's Italian ice cream," he said. "I even had one person who thought it was mashed potatoes. That would be quite a thing to have eight different flavors of mashed potatoes."

Hmmm. Perhaps that's not a bad idea either: mashed potatoes on a cone. I think I might try that in strawberry and coconut, thanks. America, get ready: Italian ice cream parlors will soon have to compete with my new franchise: "Yeki's Flavored Mashed Potatoes (to go)" Anyone have any slogan ideas for me?



At 1:05 PM, Anonymous rowena said...

Soon enough, I'm betting that gelato will be an american household word right next to say... pizza! I was totally stoked when I read about a gelateria in Honolulu on a Hawaiian Airlines inflight mag. So I looked up his place and sure enough, an ex-Torinese that fell inlove with the tropics and started his business about 10 years ago. He had some pretty interesting flavors going, none of which was his personal favorite, Chianti wine and pears that I really wanted to try!

At 7:34 PM, Blogger Expat Traveler said...

now that's funny! We have gelato on our main street here and it's becoming more popular. Although I've only tasted Icecream in Switzerland or France, it does taste different. So I'm with you guessing that the taste will still be better in Italy! :)

At 7:08 AM, Anonymous Eric said...

////////i stillll don't like gellato....:-(

At 6:00 AM, Blogger Stelle In Italia said...

Ciao Bella,

Hurrah for gelato's popularity! We knew it was only a matter of time before americani caught on. Well, seems as thought we're a little sllllooooowwwwww on the take (mashed potatoes?), but still...

As for slogans for your new about "If t'ain't taters, t'ain't Jackie's!" or "Jack's Speedy Spuds." Maybe "Mashed and in Motion?"

Cheers for pistacchio!

At 7:29 PM, Blogger paul said...

they have a place at the mall in palm beach, and it seems to be doing well. i have yet to check it out yet myself.

i do think it could catch on though... the gelato itself i mean, not the evening ritual!

At 7:03 AM, Blogger Lori said...

You know, i didnt think it was THAT rare in america. Heck, even Corvallis has had one for 2 or 3 years now. And surprisingly, it wasnt that hard to run into someone that you knew there! kinda like going to the piazza... only it was all inside and not quite as big... :/

At 2:01 PM, Blogger Susan in Italy said...

Those wrong guesses about what "gelato" means are hilarious! They remind me of how most Italians I know think the word "smart" means "small" probably because of the very small Smart Car that's really popular over here. It goes both ways, I guess.

At 10:37 PM, Anonymous Cassandra Miller said...

My slogan for Yeki's Flavored Mashed Potatos would be in Gleek. "Gleek gleek gleek, gleek" If you don't understand you've never been to Gleek!

Love you,


P.s. Eric doesn't like gelato, how weird, that's an abomination!

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Stelle In Italia said...

I love the slogan, cass! by the way, have you seen the movie moving? :) I don't know what's up with Eric either. He's such a weirdo :). (oops, is he reading this???)

At 10:47 AM, Blogger Cynthia Rae said...

Um, are you still stuck on this mashed potatoes ice cream thing? What is going on????

Are you in Tuscany?


At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Johnny from France said...

I heard you met a great girl in Rome this past week. Looking forward to hearing all about and would really like to see some pictures.



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