Who doesn’t love a good ice-cream or to be more precise a good gelato? On my trip this year I made a concerted effort to eat the best gelato in Italy as often as possible. After all I had to do research for this article or at least that’s what I told my husband.  Somehow I don’t think that he was convinced, but he happily went along with it.

 

Where did gelato originate?

 

There is a bit of confusion about this. Some believe that it dates back to desserts made from snow and ice in ancient Egypt, Sicily and Rome. The more popular story is that Bernardo Buontalenti, who was from Florence, served his creation to Catherine de Medici in the 16th century. By the 17th century gelato had become popular and as a result became more widespread. During the 19th century was where the real growth happened and the whole world fell in love with gelato, which actually means something frozen in Italian.

 

What’s the difference between the best gelato in Italy and ice cream? 

 

There are three main differences

 

  1. Gelato is made with milk and not cream. It has much less butter fat at around 7-12%. This means that the gelato is not as solid when it freezes. The “creaminess” is a result of its density
  2. It is also served slightly warmer than ice cream so the texture is soft, silky and decadent as it melts in your mouth.
  3. Gelato is churned less than ice cream so it has less air in it. This helps to intensify the flavour.

 

 

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How to tell artisanal gelato from commercial gelato

 

Colour

 

The easiest way to decide is to look at the colour of the gelato. In a gelateria that uses fresh, natural ingredients the colours are much paler. If a pistachio gelato is lime green then there is a very good chance that artificial colour has been added.

 

Display

 

Look at the display. This is something I always do before deciding on what to choose. If the gelato is piled high and looks sculpted then it has been whipped to add air to it. I usually walk away at that point.

 

Seasonal flavours

 

Certain fruit, like bananas are available all year round. Other fruit is seasonal. If you are eating peach gelato in the middle of winter then that should trigger alarm bells.

 

Quality

 

Artisanal gelato is made in relatively small batches and should be eaten within a couple of days of having been made.

 

Price

 

Commercial gelato is usually sold by liquid volume and not weight so the amount of air incorporated into the product is important. An artigianale gelato may cost more, but it’s worth every cent.

 

 

What does produzione propria  and gelato artigianale  mean?

 

Produzione propria

 

This means that the gelato is homemade. It does not necessarily mean that is made from fresh ingredients. It can be made from a premix.

 

Gelato artigianale

 

This is made from scratch, in the traditional way, with fresh ingredients.

 

Now that you understand how to choose the perfect indulgent gelato I’ll share some of my favourites with you. This is naturally a total subjective choice simply based on the fact that I  enjoyed the gelato from these shops and in some cases went back a few times to try other flavours.

Remember that gelato does not have to be sweet. There are many gelaterie making savoury gelato that can be served as an appetizer or instead of cheese. There are some really interesting flavours that are worth trying if you dare!

 

Tip : You can ask for a taste of the gelato before buying it

 

Sorrento

 

Gelateria Primavera

 

This is probably the most famous gelateria in Sorrento. When we visited the owner was in the store and very proudly showed us a photograph of him taken with the Pope. On any given day there are more than 80 flavours to choose from.

Try : Cream of lemon, croquante, salted caramel, pistachio, cherry

 

Gelateria Primavera Contact
Gelateria Primavera Contact

 

 

 

Gelateria Primavera
Gelateria Primavera

 

Rome

 

Gelateria del Teatro

 

Their website describes the gelateria as a laboratory of taste. Thinking about it of course  I had to agree. I simply have to visit this shop and I feel cheated if I miss an opportunity. They have a camera in the kitchen, so while you are eating your gelato you can watch how it is being made. The flavours are wonderfully creative.

Try: Sage & raspberry, Crème brûlée, Lavender & white peach, White chocolate & basil, Ricotta, fig and almond.

 

Gelateria Del Teatro Contact

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gelato ingredients window dispaly Gelateria del Teatro
Gelato ingredients window display

 

 

Florence

 

Gelateria Dei Neri

 

This gelateria was very conveniently located in the road (Via dei Neri) that I was staying in. It is not far from the Uffizi, so whatever you do make a detour to taste the gelato . This is undoubtedly the best gelateria in Florence. It is a family run business and they use the finest ingredients available. As a result the flavours are innovative and moreish.

 

Try : Chocolate & orange, gorgonzola, fior di late, ricotta & fig, raspberry

 

Gelateria dei Neri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gelateria dei Neri Florence
Gelateria dei Neri Florence

 

On your travels make sure to try only best gelato in Italy and I am certain that you will love it as much as I do!

 

HERE ‘S A REMINDER TO SAVE TO PINTEREST FOR LATER

 

Where to find the best gelato in Italy
Where to find the best gelato in Italy

 

Where to find the best gelato in Italy
Where to find the best gelato in Italy

You Have To Try The Best Gelato In Italy
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33 thoughts on “You Have To Try The Best Gelato In Italy

  1. I believe we’ve been the Florence gelato outlet that you’ve mentioned. There are so many of them in every city, but once you’ve found an authentic one, you keep coming back.

  2. I visited Italy in February so there was no way I could try Italian gelato. But I have tried it in other places and I love it. Prefer to ice-cream actually

  3. If you are eating gelato, period, in the middle of winter that is a good indication that the place is very touristy. We lived in Italy for seven years and most gelatarias close up shop for the winter as Italians would never eat it then. Winter is for eating chocolate, which isn’t sold from April – October.

    1. I have just come back from my trip last month and everywhere was packed! Having said that, I have also eaten really good gelato in Venice in December.

    1. Thank you! The really good gelato is head and shoulders above the ordinary gelato. Hopefully next time you try it you will see the difference.

  4. I love gelato and ate it almost every day I was in Europe! I haven’t been to Italy yet, so this is a great guide to learn a little bit more. I think my favorite gelato I’ve had was in Olomouc, Czech Republic, where I had a lemon basil gelato. Yum!

  5. My sister loves Gelato and when we were in Italy we got it in Rome and Florence! We didn’t know about how to find the real thing like you have shown so next time for sure!

  6. Having just attended the University of Gelato in Bologna, I’m even more in love with gelato. It is truly one of the nicest things to eat in all of ITaly and it’s great being on the hunt for the artisanal stuff to get the best.

    1. Lucky you to have been studying in Italy. I am sure it was a wonderful experience and I hope that you managed to eat loads of gelato.

  7. I’ve never tasted savoury gelato – and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it down here in Australia!! But now that I know it exists, I’ll be on the lookout for it!! If I can’t find it, I’ll also be on the lookout for some of the other amazing flavours you’ve mentioned – ricotta and fig; or lavender and white peach both sound awesome! Failing that, I’ll have to fall back on my two favourites (when eaten together) – blood orange and coconut!

    1. Your favourite combo sounds pretty good to me. I have even had blue cheese gelato, but not in Italy!

  8. Gelato is the nectar of the gods frozen into the perfect treat! haha. Just my humble opinion. 😉 I loved learning about the actual difference between gelato and ice cream. I know when I was in Italy I had gelato at least twice a day!

  9. Now this is my kind of post. I love gelato. Glad i know now how t figure out which has more natural ingredients. I will be on the look out now.

  10. Here, her recommendations for where to find the best scoop. Alchemist Cosimo Ruggieri created what we know as gelato when he served the dessert for the famous Medici family. Since this time, gelato has become an art form.

  11. Yes! I adore Gelato and went on a proper hunt on my recent trip to Italy. Gelateria del Teatro was my favourite too, I visited 3-4 times and the Pumpkin Spiced with Chocolate Chips was a TOTAL dream. Never tasted anything like it!

  12. I super love Gelato, as I remember when i was in rome and milan its like a snack for me. its very addicting. thank you for this wonderful article

    1. It is strange the way some flavours don’t get made in other parts of the world, but then that’s a great excuse to travel more.

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