Whether we choose to share it with the rest of the world or prefer to nestle it close to our hearts, we all have a dream. For some, it may be a grandiose vision of world peace, of an end to famine, and violence, and hatred in all its forms; for others, it might be the no less important hope of making life better close to home, one careful step at a time. And sometimes, just sometimes, the fates smile upon us and our dreams come true, illuminating our lives with a shaft of brilliant sunshine that makes the world shine a little brighter, just for a moment or two. And after eight years of marriage, I yesterday found out my husband's own dearest hopes and dreams, the tenet upon which his entire moral code is founded.
Mr Liz's dream was to eat every flavour of ice-cream on sale in an ice-cream shop. And now, thanks to the new Fresco Freddo's Gelateria on Manchester's Oxford Street, that dream has been fulfilled.
But let's rewind a little - you may wish to imagine some harp music and picture the screen going wavy - to our arrival at the super-cute new shop that promises to bring some Italian joy to the shores of Mancunia. The counter houses 22 different varieties of gelato and sorbet (NOT ice cream, do note - gelato is much lower in fat as it is made with milk rather than butter cream, although this is unlikely to justify the behaviour of someone who has eaten all 22 flavours in one sitting *looks askance at Mr Liz but says nothing*) as well as offering waffles and Kimbo coffee from Naples for those who are too self-conscious to order ice cream for breakfast.
The welcome at last night's soft launch really couldn't have been warmer, with owner Reem enthusing about the different flavours and really keen for us to try them and enjoy them; indeed, it was this lovely, blameless lady who uttered the immortal words to a breathlessly excited Mr Liz - "oh, do try them all." Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth (or at a full ice cream counter from afar), he did just that, claiming brazenly that it was for the sake of the blog that he put himself through such gluttony. And this might just have worked, had his feedback been more constructive than "this one's really nice, and this one's really nice as well, and I also really like this one, and this one is nice too."
And actually, it's true - they are all really nice. Eventually some favourites did emerge - from the gelato selection we all loved the Peanutella (you can already tell from the name that there is nothing but good to be had in this particular concoction), the Hazlenut and the Pistachio. The real winners were the sorbets though, with the Lime and Mint proving the runaway favourite, tasting as it does like a Mojito. As the sorbets are fat-free, I tried them all with clear conscience, and can confirm that the Lemon, Raspberry and Passion Fruit varieties came in a close second - luckily you will be able to buy a mixed cone containing up to three different scoops in order to alleviate the burden of choice here. And, you know, if you walked both up AND down Oxford Street you could also put on a fake moustache and go in again.
This is a really charming new business run by truly lovely people - it deserves to do well, and judging by the reactions on Facebook and Twitter last night, the whole of Manchester is ready to welcome it with open arms; not least that lucky, happy boy whose dreams finally came true here.
Fresco Freddo's can be found at 83 Oxford Street, Manchester M1 6EG; if there's a large boy hogging the counter you have my permission to boot him out the way - he's HAD his turn for now.