Finding the best Gelato in Italy- where to start!
Synonymous for its tantalising creamy gelato, Italy attracts ‘gelato lovers’ from all over the world in a search to find the perfect, authentic gelato experience or ‘gelato heaven’ as it’s known. Gelato connoisseurs expect a perfect temperature, a creamy texture, and flavour that lingers on their taste buds long after they’ve had a lick, all wrapped up in a crunchy waffle cone that simply melts in their mouth. One might say that it’s the perfect Italian ‘match made in heaven’!
However, finding this heavenly Gelato perfection in Italy can be a tall order. Sooo to make it easier, we’ve created this fun guide to steer you in the right direction in your quest to discovering the best Gelaterias in Italy:
1. Look for menus with Gelato flavours that rotate on a daily basis: Generally speaking, when you find a Gelato shop that has a small list of flavours (10 or less) on their menu board, coupled with ‘daily specials’ and seasonal fruits – well let’s just say you’ve hit Gelato GOLD! This indicates that the gelato is freshly made each day with the freshest of ingredients that are at the peak of their season.
2. Look for Gelaterias that store their Gelato out of sight, in round metal tins with lids: you may ask why lids are important! Well, the logic is that lids indicate that the Gelato is maintained at the perfect temperature and that the shop doesn’t need to entice its customers with vast displays of brightly-coloured and decorated Gelato. When you find a Gelateria that keeps the Gelato stored out of sight, you know you’ve hit Gelato GOLD again! Always ask for a taste of your preferred flavour before you make your purchase.
3. Don’t judge a Gelato by its appearance: It’s advisable to steer towards less vibrantly-coloured Gelato. When we eat ‘with our eyes’, we tend to gravitate towards flashy, extravagant colours, garnishes and displays but, resist the urge when choosing your Gelato! Always remember that superior quality Gelato will have a higher proportion of natural ingredients, and therefore minimises the need for added artificial colouring.
4. Understated quality: You’ll easily decipher the traditional Italian Gelaterias from the flashy commercialised ones by simply looking at the exterior of the shop. In order to have the best Gelato experience, its best to steer away from shopfronts that have flashy signs outside or ‘special offers’. Well established and renowned Gelaterias don’t need any extra advertisement props, as they rather the ‘word-of-mouth’ method for spreading the word of just how good their Gelato really is!
5. Choose a Gelateria that sources seasonal ingredients locally: It’s a well-known fact that the most established Artisan Gelato makers commit to only using locally sourced high-quality ingredients, and ones that are in season. Gelato experts can instantly tell the difference in the overall quality, flavour, and texture of the final product of an authentic Artisan Gelato maker, so make sure you go the authentic route!
6. Paddle, not Scoop! Always opt for Gelato that’s served with a flat Gelato paddle. Traditionally, Gelato is served using paddles, or spatulas, which allow the Gelato to be worked and softened. Its best to avoid Gelato that’s served with a scoop as this technique can be indicative of a stiffer, less gelato-like texture. Stick with the paddle!
Finally, these simple Gelato phrases in Italian should help you along the way in your quest to finding the perfect Gelato in Italy….
Con panna: Gelato served with a dollop of freshly-whipped cream
Affogato: Gelato served with a shot of espresso
Semifreddo: Gelato served with a soft, mousse-like texture