Remembering Bénédicte Pesle: The $100 Ice Cream

The $100 Ice Cream (orginally published on

In 1994 David Tudor and I were summoned to Venice by Benedicte Pesle to visit the historic La Fenice theatre. Our objective was to determine whether David’s music “Soundings: Ocean Diary” (1994), music for Merce Cunningham’s “Ocean”, would work in such a potentially challenging venue. Our trip was short but sweet. Filled with plenty of shopping, delectable eating and pensive pondering. Benedicte took care of us very well, shuttling us around the city via Gondola and water taxi.

David had been talking for quite some time about a very special shop that, and I quote, served “the best ice cream in the world” – Cucciolo’s. David sent me off on a scouting mission to verify that the Gelateria in fact still existed… it did. At the time David was experiencing some difficulty with his mobility so walking, especially in the twisty-turny Venice labyrinth, was out of the question. We met up with Bénédicte, she hailed us a water taxi and off we went across the grande canal to patronize Cucciolo’s. The taxi captain (I can’t really call him a “driver”) pulled up his craft to Cucciolo’s, we disembarked asking him to wait for us, and proceeded to indulge. We each gobbled down a bowl of their gelato chocolato and without hesitation, David ordered another. I can safely say, it was indeed an incredible taste experience. After our cravings were satisfied we sauntered back to our waiting boat and motored back across to our hotel. I worked out the Lire-to-dollar conversion in my head after we got back… all tolled up, it came to about $100. David Tudor drew no lines when it came to indulging in the decadent.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *