Whereas ice cream sometimes contains egg yolks, gelato (the Italian word for ice cream) never uses eggs. Also, a gelato contains more milk and less cream than an ice cream, hence its denser and silkier texture. Meanwhile, a sorbet does not contain any dairy and is often made out of fruit juice. Needless to say, among the three of them, the gelato is my favorite because I love its creamy texture and flavorful taste. However, not every gelato is equal, thus, always you have to look for a high-quality artisanal gelato, even when you're in Italy.
How to find good gelatos then? Firstly, don't be fooled by the attractive presentation of the colorful piles of gelatos. Authentic gelatos should maintain their natural colors (white, pale pink, pale green, brown) as seen in the picture below. Avoid any gelatos with bright colors such as bright pink and blue. The natural pistachio gelato, for instance, is never in bright green. The taste of the home-made gelato must be fresh and distinct. For example, the banana gelato should taste exactly like the banana. The texture is extremely smooth, creamy, and silky. Fancy gelatos are usually kept in containers with lids but it is not always the case with good and budget gelatos. The final rule is that the lesser the flavors, the better the taste. Look for gelaterias that focus on classic flavors. Like any other Italian dish, such as pizzas, pasta, and tiramisu, the classic flavors are always the best. The most popular flavors are pistachio, hazelnut, chocolate, and fior di latte (simply cream).
Next, I am going to tell you my favorite gelato flavors and gelaterias in Italy. In Rome, my to-go gelaterias are La Gourmandise in the residential neighborhood called Monteverde Vecchio, and Il Gelato di San Crispino in the center. I almost always order the pistachio and hazelnut flavors but sometimes I am an adventurous taster. The pistachio gelato at La Bottega del Gelato in Pisa was top-notch but the one that won the best title "The Best Gelato in the World" in 2017 was in Spoleto. In Numana in Marche and Corniglia in Cinque Terre, I tried some fruity innovative flavors such as the combinations of chamomile, lemon balm and passion flowers as well as cherry and ginger. My most favorite gelateria in Italy is a local-favorite on Giudecca in Venice. I loved all the flavors there and the freshness of the gelato left me speechless.
Nothing is gonna stop me from enjoying a cup of quality gelato. I highly recommend pistachio and persimmon flavors from my local favorite: La Gourmandise in Monteverde Vecchio. Persimmons are in season now. I learned the Italian word for persimmon - that is kaki. - @vylyst01 on Instagram
The Roman heat makes me crave the refreshing gelato flavours of the Gelateria Morelli in Numana - one of them was camomile, lemon balm and passion flowers! How awesome that was! - @vylyst01 on Instagram
The third town I visited in Cinque Terre was Corniglia, the cutest of them all. If you hike, refresh yourself with the delicious 🍦 from Alberto Gelateria. The flavours cherry and ginger + green apple were perfect. - @vylyst01 on Instagram
Once in Pisa, do not miss trying gelato from La Bottega del Gelato. It seemed like a local favourite because there was a long queue for it! The flavours pistachio and baci were really good! - @vylyst01 on Instagram
Do you know why Giudecca is my favorite island? One of the reasons is that Giudecca has the best gelato in Venice!!! (Taste is subjective). In the photo you can see coconut gelato with milk chocolate pieces. - @vylyst01 on Instagram
The Gelato World Tour brought me to Spoleto because after a 3-year contest, the Gelateria Crispini from Spoleto won the best place! Their pistachio flavor was awarded the best gelato in the world, and I could not wait to try! The gelato consisting of roasted vanilla beans and pieces of Sicilian pistachio was Incredibly smooth, melts in the mouth, and is heavenly light. - @vylyst01 on Instagram
Making gelato is not that difficult, yet an important ingredient that can only be found in artisanal gelato is the "passion" of the maker. To learn more about how artisanal gelato is made, check out this fun and insightful video from the Eater:
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