Italians celebrate lockdown’s end with ice cream

Source:AFP Published: 2020/5/28 22:23:40

A woman wearing a surgical mask prepares a cup of ice cream. Photo: AFP

Strawberry and chocolate or fig and hazelnut? Italians have been celebrating the end of lockdown with one of their favorite treats: artisanal gelatos.

"After a long period spent at home, many have chosen to cool down with an ice cream even during the week, at lunchtime," agriculture group Coldiretti said in a statement.

The country's 39,000 gelato shops, which employ 150,000 people and post annual sales of 2.8 billion euros ($3.1 billion), were being "saved" by people's desperation to spend time outdoors after almost three months inside.

The sector had "decidedly picked up again" following the economically-crippling nationwide shutdown, it said.

Nearly 240 tons of ice cream were consumed last weekend in Rome and along the Lazio coastline alone, but cones were being licked up and down the country in cities and seaside resorts alike, it said.

They were helping fight not only lockdown fever but also stickier than average temperatures, with this year being classified so far as the hottest since records began in 1880, Coldiretti said.

A whopping 94 percent of Italians regularly eat ice cream, it said, with seven in 10 preferring it piled on a cone rather than scooped into a little tub.

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