I love Sundays in Barcelona. Shops are closed. Streets are hushed. Church bells are ringing. Elderly couples are out walking hand in hand. Families are dining together at home on their terraces. It's as if the city were taking a gentle nap until Monday when it once again assumes its twin mantles of bustle and fiesta.
So, it was unexpected that this particular quiet Sunday brought a momentous revelation. We had just finished reading the paper and licking the last bits of foam off of the spoons of our cafes con leche on the shady terrace of the Bar Virreina (Plaça Virreina), when we decided to stop by one of our usual ice cream haunts, Amorino, for a modest scoop.
As of last year, Amorino was number two on our list of best ice cream shops in Barcelona. Today, however, with the first licks of the crema crocante petals and the amaretto interior of our flower shaped scoop (pictured), it became clear that Amorino had shot ahead of the competition.
I don't know if it was the delicate flavour or the impossible creaminess or the simple loveliness of the shape that convinced us, but Amorino is number one this year, no question. It is still closely followed by Cremería Toscana. And we've brought back La Campana after last summer's boycott, primarily because we've discovered another location, not far from the one on Princesa, where the staff are more amiable and where an outdoor terrace provides the ideal spot for kicking your feet up after a day of shopping in the Born.
If you're keeping track, here are this year's standings:
1. Amorino (Gran de Gracia 53, Gracia), favourite flavours: amaretto, crema crocante
2. Cremería Toscana (c/ Muntaner 161, Eixample, and Canvis Vells 2, hidden near Santa Maria del Mar, Born), favourite flavour: cinnamon
3. Gelaaati! (c/Llibreteria 7, Gotico)
4. La Campana (c/ Princesa 36 and terrace on c/ de Flassaders 15, Born), favourite flavours: cherries with dark chocolate, cookie dough
5. Gelateria Caffetteria Italiana (Plaça Revolució 2, Gracia)