Italian Notebook

I scream, you scream, we all scream for GELATO. That's right. In this house gelato reigns king.

We love ice cream. We do. But one bite of ultra-rich and creamy gelato turned our tastebuds forever.

When we were in Italy, if we felt tired or frustrated because we were the clueless Americans, we headed straight for the gelateria for a cup of happiness. Gelato - any flavor - makes everything all better. The perfect cure for every boo-boo or mishap.

Italian Notebook has more about the history of this wonderful treat.

    Gelato of one kind or another has been popular in Italy for thousands of years. After the Civil War in the     United States, Italian immigrants emerged in large cities as ice cream vendors called Hokey-Pokey         Men.

    The term "Hokey Pokey" presumably evolved from the Italian cry that the Italian vendors used as they         hawked their cheap ice cream. "Ecco un poco" they’d cry (that’s Italian for “here’s a little”), or "O che         poco" (Oh, how cheap). Hokey-pokey actually referred to cheap ice cream or ice milk.

Cool and creamy (photo courtesy of Italian Notebook)

Italian Notebook brings the best of Italy for holidays

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Meanwhile, check out what Italian Notebook has to say about the tradition of the Christkindlmarkt.

Bolzano/Bozen, Alto-Adige - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Bolzano/Bozen as tourists arrive from all over Italy for our traditional Christmas market, the Christkindlmarkt, a German-style Christmas market that isn’t typical elsewhere in Italy.

Towering above the market stalls is a giant Christmas tree with plenty of twinkling lights. There's a diverse selection of holiday ornaments to buy, including stars, gnomes and even some skiing reindeer as a little reminder that we’re in the Alps.

And then there are the sweets. There’s plenty to munch: cookies, lebkuchen (chocolate-covered gingerbread), Christmas stollen, and the local Bozner cake, dark and moist with nuts and candied fruit. Additional flavors of the local strudel make an appearance, too — try some tasty apricot along with the always-reliable apple.

To keep warm when the snow starts falling, sample the glühwein (mulled wine) or the Tyrolean hot orange punch (a personal favorite!), with or without added rum. The festivities run until December 23rd.

Buon Natale and Fröhliche Weihnachten from Bolzano/Bozen!

-- Contributed by Lee McIntyre (see bio), Freelance writer and photographer. Author of the book A Year of One a Days.