You gotta get gelato

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Photo used via Creative Commons license.

I am guessing that your plans for the upcoming holiday weekend include food, family and fireworks. If you are thinking about indulging the little people in your life with a cool summer treat as part of your celebration, I have a suggestion for you -- introduce them to gelato.

You may think that ice cream is the perfect treat on a hot summer day -- that is until you try gelato and realize that ice cream is a distant second in the cold and creamy confections department. Gelato differs from ice cream in some important ways. Gelato contains more eggs and less cream. And although gelato actually has less fat than ice cream, the texture is delightfully dense and creamy. If you are looking for something on the lighter side, try fruity, dairy-free sorbetto.

If all of this egg, sugar and cream talk is putting you in the mood for a cup or cone, I have good news for you --  Chicago is home to lots of wonderful gelaterias. Caffe Gelato in Wicker Park is the real deal. This place delivers an authentic gelateria experience. Choose from over eighteen different flavors made on site. If you are new to gelato, I recommend starting with the bacio (chocolate hazelnut) or the stracciatella (vanilla with chocolate chips).

But I bet that you can find gelato in your neighborhood too. Many areas in and around Chicago have local sandwich shops or delis with a gelato case. In the South Loop, try the Little Branch Cafe. In Ukranian Village, check out Piccolo (and look out for their gelato cart roaming the streets). Near UIC Village, check out Massa Italian Cafe for some truly indulgent gelato creations. You can even get gelato in the new Whole Foods in Lincoln Park (although the ambiance is a far cry from Italy).

If a stop at a gelateria isn't in your weekend plans, you can still indulge at home. Pick up a pint of Ciao Bella Gelato at the grocery store (you should totally get the blood orange flavor, trust me).

Any gelato afficianados out there?  Where do you go to get your fix? Any places that kids would particlarly love?

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