David, Gelato and The Great Roman Night
'Gelato', in English, means ice cream. But it is the Italian way to make ice cream. Creamier than American ice cream as it has no added air and less butterfat, this healthier alternative is a staple in Italy and is becoming popular in the US as well. Here at Mara's, all our ingredients are imported right from Italy to give you an authentic dessert experience.
Now I can't say I have had much gelato back here in the States, but I can say this: whenever I have gelato from Mara's, it doesn't just mean Italian-style ice cream: it also screams cobblestone squares with artists painting and people on stilts walk high above me and espresso in the air and the kind of soft music you would hear in the clouds of your dreams...and in that memory, there is me, a cup of stracciatella, and the star-studded soft night sky above me.
The train had gotten to Rome that morning from Prague, where I was staying at the time, and after wandering around the train terminal thinking on a place to stay, a man came up to me and told me of a hotel not too far away that was cheap and had room available. I took his word, got to the building that, let's just say, was not what I expected, and reserved a room that, low and behold, also had eight others residing in that night (most of whom I am still keep up with!). But this was an experience, and experiences and memories were the things I wanted to collect from my time there, so I set my bag down, made myself comfortable after meeting one of the guys staying in my room from Bangladesh who went by the name Falook (what a guy...but that's a story for another time), and took a nap.
When I woke up, the sun was setting. I got my bearings and decided it was time to start exploring Rome the only way I knew how to explore places new to me: by wandering. I had read about this section of Rome in a Rick Steve's guide when I was on the train, so I decided that was a good place to start. I made my way down Via Nazionale until I could see the Altare della Patria, and turned right. From there, the streets started to get smaller and smaller, and my mind started to wander more as I walked streets, some quiet and some loud, yet all beautiful. I knew I was lost, but that's just one of the joys of wandering, for one must be lost before they are found.
And found I was. I could hear strings of all kinds playing their music, echoing off the tan walls of the buildings around me, so I decided to take a small alleyway and make my way towards its sweet sound, and at the end of the alleyway, like the big bang itself, was a beautiful cobblestone square exploding with life and art and music. There were people dancing in the streets to guitars, sipping espresso on thin white medal seats, people on stilts next to painters and their easels stroking out whatever was in their heads. And of course, on the corner of one of the builders surrounding the square, there was a gelato stand. I picked Stracciatella because I liked the name having never heard of it before (this is going back about half a decade before I was working at Mara's). And I just jumped right into the beautiful chaos, waving to the stilt people and joining the dancers. It was the first time I think I ever witnessed every single person smiling, and it was beautiful. Different color lights were reflecting off the walls surrounding us, and it helped us all feel as if we were in a dream.
That night, though to this day I still don't know what square it was (price to pay when you are lost) and I have no pictures from the night as my camera died, is still as vivid in my head as the sun is to the day and the moon to the night. It may be one of the best nights of my life; a moment of awakening to a happiness we all search for in life, and every time I have gelato at Mara's, I always am thrown back to that night in my memory.
So I share some pictures of Rome with you, as well as this memory I so dearly love, and I share the authentic gelato experience with you here at Mara's, where we take pride in its making and serving. Whether wandering cobblestone streets in Rome or down Main st. in Denville, our gelato will fit the bill!