- Coccodrillus, Lungomare Dettori 41, Isola Rossa, 07038 Trinità d'Agultu e Vignola, Italy www.coccodrillus.it
We stop in Isola Rossa on the way home from a gorgeous day at the beach. Ambra and I are extremely burnt; even the sun protruding through the windshield is a burden. I see a sign for Valledoria. I know we’re close.
“Turn right!” she exclaims. ”What? Valladoria is straight.” ”We’re not going home,” she says. “There’s a place you have to see.”
I’m not sure I can handle anymore sun, but when Ambra says we’re stopping for gelato, I never argue. We park on the water.
At 5:00 pm in the middle of August, the vacation town is bustling with life and at Coccodrillus, we are not the only ones there. A Nigerian man fluent in Italian greets us.
The terrace is big and the outdoor seating boast a gorgeous view of the sea. Trees and vegetation provide all the shade and decoration we need. One of the groves is so big that it requires some extra assistance to keep it propped up.
Inside is what we’re looking for, gelato. ”The pinolata is the best here,” Ambra says. ”But what about the Frutti di Bosco?” The vibrant red and purple sorbetto looks delicious, thick and full of berries. We ask for a sample. Solid.
“What’s that?” I ask, licking my spoon and pointing toward a large open seating area. ”It’s their restaurant,” Ambra tells me. Ten minutes later we’re eating pizza covered with smoked salmon and Scarmoza cheese. It’s savory, but we still didn’t get what we came here for, and once I have my mind made up that I’m eaten gelato, no pizza can stop me.
“What are these?” I say pointing to the Coppas on the menu. ”You’re not about to get gelato now, are you?” she asks. I make a suggestive face. ”Fine, but then we’re not getting dinner.” A fair bargain. Again I inquire about the Coppas. “You’ve never tried a Coppa?” she says with the sympathy one would to a child deprived of watching Sesame Street.”Wait here,” she says.
Minutes later she returns with an extravagant concoction. “That looks like a sundae,” I tell Ambra. ”Don’t call it that,” she says. “It’s an insult. This is gelato.” I try a bite. Incredible. The freshly hand made melted chocolate is still warm, covering the three scoops of chosen hand crafted ice cream: Pinolata, Bacio and Pistachio. Stashed inside are amaretti cookies, biscottis, and chocolate covered nuts.
“It’s ok” Ambra says. Perhaps like all our first times, the experience, even if not our best is always memorable. The coppa at Coccodrillus may not end up being my favorite; I hope it’s not. Either way, my eyes have been opened to a new world, of gelato.
It would have been better if… I had had more experience.