Although it’s difficult to go wrong with gelato, just as it is difficult to go wrong with pizza—there are a few tricks of the trade we picked up while searching for the next best cone (or cup). In talking with numerous “gelato specialists,” otherwise known as our friends living in Italy who have consumed vats of this delicious sugary milk, there seemed to be a common consensus of what to search for when looking for “the BEST gelato.”
What qualifies as “the best gelato,” you ask? Well, it’s all about finding an artisanal product made locally, from fresh ingredients…rather than something that might claim to be gelato, but really is made from diluted ingredients and artificial flavors. That’s not what you want to be spending your precious euros on!
Avoid brightly colored gelato in neon colors, the gelato should be in more natural, earthy tones—closer to the color of what it consists of. So, if it’s banana flavor, it should be a pale yellow, opposed to a vibrant fake yellow. The bright colors are meant to draw people in and have a bunch of additives and food coloring.
Usually the shops that display their gelati out front of the store are doing that as a tactic to draw tourists in. It’s a common rule that the shops you have to enter will typically have better flavors and quality (they don’t have to put on a show, the locals know what’s good). Look for low metal vats similar to these, or some shops will even have their flavors covered with a metal top to preserve freshness.
This ties in to the display—if the gelato is super fluffy and almost touching the glass, that means it’s been fluffed with air, making it a lesser quality product. It’s best to opt for those that are flush with the metal containers.
Consider the flavors available and if they are made of in season produce. An indicator of an artisanal gelato shop, is if they are making their flavors fresh, and only using seasonal fruits and ingredients.
Like we said above, it’s difficult to go wrong with gelato…but we think it’s so worth it to find the specialty places that make their frozen delights fresh and with local ingredients. Plus, you’ll be surprised by some of the flavors they offer! Tomato, basil and buffalo mozzarella wasn’t as strange as we thought it would be. Savory, yes, and we didn’t end up getting a whole scoop—but we were happy to try it! Additionally, the artisanal shops typically have more unique flavors that you won’t usually find.
Fact: Nuns love gelato.
Our philosophy? Why stick to flavors you can get at home when you can try something specific to the region?
(That said, we definitely had some mint chocolate chip, for good measure.)
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