Creamy, rich and bursting with flavor; those are the things that come to mind when I think about my first gelato experience at age 21 in Venice, Italy. I was hooked at first lick.
Why am I surprised that my son would be any different?
At the ripe old age of 3 Dek discovered this milk-based frozen treat while in Ferrara, Italy this past October. He savored those first bites of yogurt and strawberry gelato, as well he should have.
Not only was this his first taste of gelato, this was Dek’s first taste of any ice cream product or sugar-based treat…ever.
I am the mom that has withheld all of the world’s delicious sweet delicacies from her son, explaining that they were “mommy treats,” a silly phrase he accepted without question.
However, when we got to Ferrara and he saw my friend’s two little girls, one of whom was younger than he, getting to enjoy their very own cones, well, how could I deprive him any longer.
Our trips to the gelato shop soon became known as “super special mommy treats.”
While I indulged in chocolate, caramel, mint, and various fruit flavored gelato, I did continue my cruel streak by keeping Dek limited to yogurt, strawberry and mixed berry gelato wherever we went.
Dek was more than happy with this arrangement. After a week of random trips to the gelato shop Dek started asking, “can we have a super special mommy treat now?” It didn’t matter if it was breakfast, lunch or in the middle of dinner. He knew he was getting something amazing for the first time and he wanted more.
And more he got.
In Tuscany we came across an award-winning gelato shop, world-renowned in fact. Of course we have to stop once a day to sample all of their specialty flavors (more on that spot later!)
By the time we got to Sicily we had stopped our daily trips to the gelato shop, but Dek still kept his eyes peeled.
On our last night in Sicily Mike and I popped into a bar/gelato shop for a quick sandwich before heading back to my friend’s house. Dek saw that they had gelato and instantly asked for a “fragola,” which is Italian for strawberry (who says kids aren’t motivated to learn a new language. Ha!)
I couldn’t resist. I let him have one, totally spoiling his dinner. I just didn’t care any more. This was Italy. When would he have something this great again?
Once we were in London all signs of gelato seemed to have gone. Dek stopped asking for a gelato every day. He went back to asking for fruit and regular old yogurt like he always does.
And then we wandered into the Jubilee Market across from Covent Garden.
There at the front was a stand selling gelato. It was about 50 degrees, maybe less, and rainy, but you better believe Dek started asking for a treat right away. At this point in our trip I was too exhausted to even think about saying no. Dek happily licked away while we pushed him in the stroller to the Tube station.
Our gelato adventure took us through two countries, many towns and just a little bit of guilt for letting him indulge so much.
Has Dek asked me for a “super special mommy treat” since our return? Oddly enough no. Perhaps I will get lucky and Dek will only associate gelato with our travels. I can live with that.
Or maybe this is just the start of a downward spiral to me having to share all of my beloved junk food with my son.
I think I’ll just hope he likes savory treats like his dad. I mean really, I don’t mind him having a sweet treat every now and then, but if he goes nuts what will I eat? This was never about health after all; it was always about more for mommy. My first taste of gelato spoiled me for life, and I’m not much for sharing it.
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walking on travels: keep traveling, keep moving forward;
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written by Keryn Means