It’s a known fact that I’m a chocoholic. But that’s a craving easily sated with candy, cookies, cakes and more. But I’m also a pistachio dessert freak and that’s a more serious problem. Because once you’ve tasted pistachio gelato and pistachio-filled pastry in Italy, you are spoiled for life. Let me tell you my pistachio story (and then I promise a reward)
Desperately Seeking Pistachio Gelato
Baskin Robins makes a pistachio ice cream with almonds. No pistachio there. Others use cherry or almond syrup or synthetic flavorings to simulate pistachio taste. Hagen Daz pistachio ice cream is white. What’s wrong with this picture? The perfect pistachio ice cream requires the simplest of ingredients—pistachios. Green pistachios.
But ahh Italy. They understand pistachio. Four years ago, we visited Italy. Each day , we bought our requisite gelato cone from a street vendor. We always ordered pistachio though the second flavor could vary from chocolate to coffee or even cherry. From Rome to Siena, from Pienza to Florence to Venice, we sated our pistachio craving daily with gelato redolent of the green goodness of pistachio, the elixir of pistachio, the essence of pistachio. We ate wonderful pasta everywhere we went but what I will remember most of Italy was the perfect creamy pistachio infusion we ate each day.
But, I am holding back. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you about the most insane pistachio treat we had. It was in Venice. I dream of it, I am sick to tears that we did not discover it until our last day in Venice. In a bakery window we randomly passed along the Grand Canal, row upon row of fragrant canolli urgently beckoned us. We stopped our wandering, stepped inside the shop and asked for the cannolli that had the tease of green filling peeking out from the chocolate-coated edges of a fat and crusty, crumbly roll. We bought only one pastry to share as we’d already had our gelato fix barely an hour earlier. We walked along the canals, heading for our last supper at a waterside café across yet another scenic bridge and through a labyrinth of streets leading toward the Academie Museum.
Along the way, we stopped to taste a morsel of our pistachio cannoli. It was a revelation. It was a symphony. It was decadence. It was sex. It was better than sex. And there was only the one. And we could not go back. We could only remember forever that aahhh, that’s pistachio!
End of story.
With the Bay Area’s profusion of artisan foodistes, we’ve continued our search for a pistachio dessert substitute…a sweet facsimile of our Italian experience. It’s been a sad journey, forcing ourselves to taste so much green mediocrity. But we are nothing if not stoic.
And then, one day, in the freezer aisle of Whole Foods Market, I spotted these sexy, see through glass jars of Talenti Gelato. And they had pistachio. Sicilian Pistachio. And it was good. No, it was excellent. No, it was a taste of Italy.
I have never “liked” a product before. But I am a Talenti Facebook fan…because they get me. And I get them. And when they go on sale… I stock up. And just to be perfectly clear, their other flavors are gelato genius as well (esp. the double dark chocolate!).
So, my reward to you for reading all the way through is to urge you to get thee to a Whole Foods or find a local Talenti distributor. Pistachio gelato perfection awaits. And…it’s made in America!