Grom, the world famous gelato chain, opened in Rome on Friday. The newest franchise marks
Grom’s latest step towards world domination the 40th city for the company, which is known as much for quality products as it is for its masterful marketing.
I paid a visit on Sunday night to check out the shop and taste a few flavors. I have been to Grom in NYC and Florence before, but not for ages. I remember the gelato being good but not amazing and outrageously expensive. The outcome tonight was much better this time. The flavors were nice, the consistency of the gelato was creamy in a really unique way and a small cup was €2.50.
I tried five flavors: crema di una volta (an egg based ice cream), crema di Grom (crema di una volta mixed with cookies and Columbian chocolate), extra dark chocolate, fior di latte, and mint. This last one was not gelato, but a slushy granita made with mint oil. It was fresh and light, though a tad too sweet. Among the other flavors, crema di Grom was the clear winner. The others were quite good, as well. In fact, I really really liked them. Yet there is something about Grom that just doesn’t sit right with me.
I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was eating at the Ikea of gelato shops. The walls are plastered in a dizzying number of panels that show the farm where Grom cultivates its own organic fruit. Others declare “Grom Loves World”. (I said they were marketing masters, not English grammar experts!) The spoons read, “Biodegradable and compostable”. All these things should give me warm and fuzzy feeling, right? Instead, a visit to Grom warmed my heart about as much as my last purchase of a sturdy Scandanavian bookshelf.
In theory, Grom ticks all the boxes: quality product, good sourcing, attention to detail, organic and Slow Food recognized products, recyclable materials…But where is the soul? For me, food is about feelings and atmosphere. And in Rome there are so many outstanding gelaterie with a warm and welcoming neighborhood feel. These are the small businesses that I strongly recommend and support. So I’ll probably go back to Grom in a pinch. But I much prefer what Claudio makes for Il Gelato, what Fabio crafts at Vice, and what Maria Agnese dreams up at Fatamorgana.