I scream for Ice-cream in Eindhoven, and get it
Antipodean Jane Hardjono finds genuine Italian ice-cream and a bit of 'la bella Italia' just a cycle’s ride from her home in Eindhoven.
I’m not sure what happened the last two times I went to pick up an ice-cream at my local Italian gelateria Firenze Ijssalon, but there were things amiss on each visit: one, the adoring, languid, geriatric golden Labrador, Santos, who was part of the picture was no longer there (sniff-sniff, I’m afraid to ask, but I think he’s gone to doggy heaven), and two, the owner of the Turkish shop two doors up had come along to loudly “discuss” some misunderstanding with Firenze’s owners… something about making an apology for having poached some loyal patrons from Firenze by using his cheaper (read: inferior) alternative ice-cream as bait (but then insisting that now he had lured them away, he had a right to keep them). The wild hand gestures and flashing eyes of the Italian co-owner, Daniela Unti, during the exchange reassured us that we were at the right address for authentic Italian gelati.
Whether or not you live in Strijp, Eindhoven, and you want some traditional ice-cream that’s made by bona fide Italians, then venture a wee bit out of the centre and visit Firenze Ijssalon. Every now and then I find a batch is too sweet for my taste, and sometimes I think the flavours could progress into the 21st century (I’m thinking what Maggie Beer has done for ice-cream in Australia – imagine Burnt Fig Jam, Honeycomb and Caramel, Vanilla Bean and Elderflower or Quince and Bitter Almond … they’re all delish, or Trampoline Gelato with its Caramel pear or bloody orange curiosities).
However, I’m told Firenze’s melon and pistachio is a winning combination, as is the lemon and hazelnut (being an ice-cream purist, I tend to measure an ice cream salon’s mettle by its vanilla). I read in the local paper that last year the business turned 75, and they added somewhat interesting new tastes such as popcorn (?) and mojito, and a special: ‘torta della nonna’, or ‘granny’s cake’. I’ve partaken of none of these. But I notice more of their traditional flavours, which perhaps don’t excite my antipodean palette (that is, obsessed with new pairings) as much as they could.
Ah me. Four summers here and I still like the ritual of taking a stroll or jumping on my treadly (Editor’s note: Australian term for bicycle) to get an occasional hit of la bella Italia at the end of a long, hot day.
I enjoy the sound of Italian conversation drifting from inside the salon out into the warm breath of summer evenings where we sit on new garden furniture and smile at fellow ice-cream imbibers.
I like how people come along to this place for the specific purpose of getting some ice-cream. I like the sneaking suspicion I have that the owners might recognise me (although I don’t really go there often enough to call it my ‘local’). Yeah, it might be missing a complete inventory of flavours that meet my approval, but it’s great to have found a tradition in a place that was once new for the ice-cream salon owners. I ask you: New ice-cream flavours in a familiar place? Or predictable ice-cream flavours in a new place. You can’t have it all.
Follow Jane Hardjono’s view of life in Eindhoven, the Netherlands on the blog thedossier.nl
Where to buy delicious ice-cream in the Netherlands
Click here to find out where to buy great ice-cream in the Netherlands according to Expatica readers and add your own favourite ice-cream parlours to our list! Naturally, we have added Jane Hardjono's recommendation.
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