Your Guide to Italian Ice Cream
Forget the Roman empire, Italy’s greatest treasure is Gelato. Learn all about the delicious world of Italian Ice cream. From its origins to the rainbow of flavours, learn to savour every scoop on your next Italian holiday.
What Is an Italian Ice Cream Called?
Gelato is a special kind of Italian ice cream. Although "gelato" means "ice cream" in Italian, it's a bit different from the ice cream you might be used to. Gelato is creamier and smoother.
This is because it has much less air mixed in, making it denser and allowing it to have a stronger taste. So, when you eat gelato, you're getting a richer flavour in every scoop.
A Scoop Above The Rest
Italian gelato is celebrated around the globe for its lush, creamy consistency and vibrant flavours, with the finest examples naturally found in Italy itself.
Gelato is considered a fancier, handmade version of regular ice cream, mainly because of what it's made from. This is what gives gelato its unique flavour and smoother texture compared to ordinary ice cream.
It's the perfect choice whether you're relaxing after a long hike or just exploring new tastes. On a sunny day, there's nothing better than indulging in a scoop of Italian ice cream.
A balanced diet in Italy? An ice cream in each hand.
Types of Italian Icecream
Italy is famous for its gelato, offering classic flavours you'll find everywhere, along with special seasonal ones that are too tempting not to try. It's a colourful mix of so many tastes and textures, each one shouting, "Pick me!"
Do you go with a classic flavour like Chocolate or try something new like Mango?
Apparently the most popular flavours worldwide are vanilla and chocolate. But Italian ice cream, or gelato, offers a rainbow of unique and exciting flavours that you won't find anywhere else.
Try These Popular Gelato Flavours
Chocolate (Cioccolato): Chocolate gelato is a favorite in Italy, with many types to choose from. Whether you prefer creamy milk chocolate (Cioccolato al latte), rich dark chocolate (Cioccolato Fondente), or extra-dark, there's a chocolate gelato for everyone.
Strawberry (Fragola): A refreshing favourite, fragola gelato is the taste of summer. Made with fresh strawberries and either water or milk, this fruity gelato is perfect for cooling down on a hot day.
Lemon (Limone):Limone gelato gives a zesty and refreshing taste, ideal for anyone craving a light treat. Made with real lemon, it's a burst of citrusy goodness that's sure to tantalise your taste buds.
Mint Chocolate Chip (Menta): Menta gelato, also known as "Cioccomenta," combines the cool freshness of mint with the indulgent richness of chocolate chips, a bit like the popular ‘After Eight’ chocolates. If you love mint chocolate then this one's for you.
Stracciatella: Another classic Italian gelato flavour, stracciatella features creamy milk gelato with delicate chocolate shavings.
Bacio: Named after the Italian word for "kiss," bacio gelato is a fusion of hazelnut and chocolate flavours. It’s a delicious combination of creamy gelato and crunchy hazelnut pieces.
Milk (Fior di Latte): Fior di Latte gelato offers a simple yet satisfying taste of pure milk and sugar, showcasing the essence of traditional Italian gelato-making. It's a timeless favourite for those who prefer the simple flavours.
Pistachio (Pistacchio): With its vibrant green hue and rich pistachio flavour, pistacchio gelato is a beloved Italian classic.
Hazelnut (Nocciola): Nocciola gelato delights with its creamy texture and nutty flavour. It's a deliciously versatile option that's perfect for any summer day.
Tiramisù: A quintessential Italian dessert, tiramisù gelato features the irresistible combination of coffee and mascarpone.
In artisan gelato shops, the flavours vary daily, showcasing the freshest seasonal ingredients and latest trends.
Some avant-garde spots feature uniquely creative flavours, so prepare for surprises. Look for a board or sign listing the day's flavors, usually divided into traditional gelato and dairy-free sorbets, often fruit-based and equally delicious.
How is Gelato Served?
Gelato comes in various sizes, from small to extra-large, served in cups or cones. The smallest size offers 1 or 2 flavours, medium has 3, and large has 4 or more.
Expert gelato makers use a special spatula to scoop the perfect dollop onto your cone or into your cup, making it easier to serve.
Some gelaterias prefer serving only cups, while others offer artisanal cones for a better taste experience.
You might be offered the option to dip your cone in chocolate or roll it in nuts for an extra treat.
If you choose a cup, you'll get a small plastic spoon, and some places add a wafer cookie on top of your cone for extra sweetness.
Where to Eat Italian Ice Cream
When in Italy, don't settle for subpar gelato - it's practically a sin! Instead, go for the real deal: gelato artigianale, meaning "made on-site gelato" in English.
These beloved gelato houses are easy to spot - the lines stretch out the door and down the cobblestone streets.
It's a tourist attraction you’ll really want to see. Here, gelato is crafted with the utmost care.
Gelato: because even in Italy, icecream is a work of art.