When I was a kid, the ice cream freezer at our local supermarket held few surprises. The frozen dessert was sold in bricks. Bricks of Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla, Neapolitan and Spumoni. Tiger Tail and Maple Walnut if you were lucky. All of the other flavours have survived the fight for shelf space dominated by Rolos, Turtles, Tahitian Vanilla, Cookies and Cream, Dulce La Leche, Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey…except for Spumoni. Spumoni, that sweet, creamy, decadent combo of pistachio, cherry and chocolate ice creams studded with bits of cherry and candied fruit, lives on only in old school, classic Italian eateries.
I was reminded of this recently while dining in Ottawa at the Trattoria Italia Caffe on Preston. I spied Spumoni gelato on their dessert menu and had to have it. Trattoria’s Spumoni is sublime, dished up large in an old fashioned, fluted ice cream bowl. I have been thinking about it ever since. I asked our waitress where Trattoria gets their Spumoni and was told, “Montreal”. She gets asked this all the time she said shaking her head and laughing at how strange the interest was. Not really, since she was maybe a day over 19. Oddly, November 13th is National Spumoni Day in Canada. I had never heard of that as most of my friends have never heard of Spumoni ice cream. A shame.