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Surprise Gelato Delivery Reveals Pope Francis' Favorite Flavor

It’s a poorly kept secret that Pope Francis has a sweet tooth, with a particular weakness when it comes to ice cream.

ROME — Life in the eternal city in August is an oppressive affair. With day after day of mid-90s heat and almost no reliable air conditioning, the romani often have but one last refuge: a cup or cone of dense, soft and blissfully cool Italian gelato.

Just ask Pope Francis, long known as something of an enthusiast. And now, thanks to an intrepid Italian gelateria owner, we even know the pontiff's favorite flavor.

According to popular radio station R101, Maria Grazia Magrini, whose shop on Italy's Adriatic Coast will celebrate its centennial next year, sent a package the Vatican's way with three of their most popular flavors: custard, vanilla and coffee.

Along with the milk- and sugar-based cooling goodness, the proprietor sent a little note: "As we pray for you, please pray for us."

As one occasionally does, Magrini got a call from Francis to thank her personally for the package. "Thank you for thinking of me," said the pontiff. "Your gelato is really good."

Magrini said the two spoke for about 15 minutes. She did not want to reveal too much of their conversation, but said that among the flavors, Francis had a clear favorite: coffee.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

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