Pranzo con L’orso: SuSo

Welcome to the last few weeks of summer, as well as the last stop on our culinary adventures in Italy! As we have all learned from reading the Aeneid in Latin class for years, after a hero faces dragons and demons and the dangers of dairy-product-cross-contamination, she must find her way home eventually. What you might not know is that Virgil’s original text actually included an appendix with a panegyric towards gelato as being a necessary and vital component of the hero’s success. In order to remedy your lapse in education, we will bring you to SuSo for another ice cream Sunday!

Gelatoteca SuSo is an artisanal Venetian gelateria located on Calle della Bissa, just steps away from the Rialto Bridge on San Marco. There is usually a line formed out the door, but just wait for it, because you won’t be disappointed. As their website states, they serve the public with passion and care.

SuSo is centered on the customer experience, which they create with environmentally friendly materials and natural ingredients, as well as excellent service. Our servers on the two occasions we came to SuSo were both extremely patient, kind, and friendly. They gave allergy information in near-perfect English—after I tried to inquire with my elementary Italian—and offered their personal recommendations.

The first visit to SuSo yielded a double scoops of fragola—strawberry—sorbetto and one of SuSo’s original flavors, NotaNera, which roughly means “black mark” or “black note,” but was a combination of raspberry with a thick layer of pure dark chocolate fudge. Our server was kind enough to wash the scoops one more time, and excitedly told me that the cones were completely dairy-free. She patiently waited for me to extract the exact change from my many backpack compartments, and looked as excited for me as I was in taking that first lick.

SuSo was perhaps the greatest discovery of our entire trip to Italy—akin to the moment in which Aeneas lands on Carthage, marveling at the great beauty of the world before him. Of course, our gelato adventure did not end in the morbid heartbreak and the gruesome suicide of a great queen, but rather, a giddy exploration of Venice after dark. However, Carthage and Dido had an enchanting effect on Virgil’s strange hero, and they both kept him enthralled long enough to keep him from his true destiny. In that way, yes, SuSo could have easily kept us in Venice for eternity, and we might have had to make a violent escape if work and school and expensive plane tickets had not called us back on course.

Although we knew—perhaps Mercury told us—we could not stay in Italy forever, we made one last trip to Suso on our very last night of the trip. Again our server was all smiles and savvy as he easily listed all the dairy-free flavors and quickly recommended his own favorites, the NotaNera, obviously, and the Vegano flavor, a rice-milk-based ice cream laced with a homemade cherry sauce. He moved with efficiency and grace as he balanced all the orders and cones and loose change.

As we strolled down the Grand Canal one last time, the Vegano flavor rapidly melted down the cone at an alarming pace, but its sweet rice milk base contrasted sharply with the tart cherries embedded within the scoop. Although the fragola from the first visit was simpler, it was also firmer as the traditional sorbetto typically is. Given a choice, I would probably stick with the fragola, if only so that I might seem more civilized while slowly eating my gelato.

It was the third flavor, NotaNera, that was beyond anything else previously encountered in Italy or even in all of our ice cream Sundays. The short story is that a massive layer of dark chocolate should be inserted into every ice cream flavor out there. The long story lays in the smoothness of the chocolate as well as the raspberry sorbetto, in the tartness of the raspberry turned to sweetness by the existence of a bitter dark chocolate chunk, in the lingering excitement that comes from having an extremely decadent scoop of gelato beyond what you ever thought you might be allowed to eat. It was, in fact, this particular gelato that Virgil detailed in his lost appendix as the potion that reveals to a hero all the opportunities before her.  All we can say is grazie mille, grazie milione, SuSo!

With the last drops of Venetian gelato and sunsets long gone, we hold on to these golden summer memories as another ice cream Sunday comes and goes. Summer is a season made for adventures into the unknown, and Italy was certainly a great place to start. While we have seen so little of such a beautiful country, we hope we have provided you with a taste (heh) of our time abroad. While we normally like to stick close to home in the Big Apple, the Brunch with Bear team does a fair amount of traveling, and the allergies travel with us. We were particularly nervous to eat in a country in which dairy is so prominent, but we have found nothing but delight and deliciousness everywhere.

We hope we have given you inspiration for your own future trip to Italy, as well as optimism as you step out into the unknown world beyond New York. Although this divine trip to SuSo ends our miniature series on this summer’s travels, we have many new things in store for you soon!

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  1. Pingback: Pranzo con L’orso: Da Mamo | Brunch with Bear

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