After living in Italy for exactly one month and four days I have a few insights on gelato:
- If you want real gelato, don’t get gelato near a famous tourist site, or heavily populated tourist space. If you do get gelato from one of those places 90% of the time your gelato will not taste like gelato, but chunky cream/chunks of ice in American style ice cream. An example of this would be any gelato place in a famous piazza.
- These same crappy gelato places will have beautiful displays. So they may deceive you with their presentation. But that will not be representative of the taste you’ll get from the gelato. IT’S NO BENE = not good.
- Typically, the really good gelato places I’ve gone to have gelato that when displayed under lights, reflected the lights back. Good gelato looks like layered silk sheets under gelateria glass. When you taste it, unlike the fake stuff, it melts in your mouth and it’s consistency is like a cold creamy smooth texture. You will never feel a chunk of ice or cream in your bite. It’s all evenly processed.
- My favorite gelateria so far is Gelateria Dei Neri. It is the REAL DEAL. With white marble, dark wood and gold, the inside of the place is beautiful as well.
- Don’t be afraid of unknown flavors. Yes, it’s great to go for the classics like:
- Stracciatella – vanilla with chocolate chips or sauce mixed in
- Fragola – strawberry
- Cioccolato fondente – dark chocolate
- Cioccolato amaro – bitter chocolate (pretty much the same as dark chocolate)
- Pistacchio – guess what it is … 🙂
- Frutti di bosco – “fruits of the forest” – usually this one has raspberries, blueberries, etc.
- Bacio – This word translates to “kiss.” It’s based off the Italian candy, “bacio” which is a chocolate candy that has a whole hazelnut in the center.
Every time I eat gelato I choose something that I’ve never had before. The unique flavors I’ve gotten so far include, from least tasty to best are:
Puffo – So in Italy, the “Smurf” cartoon is known as “Poof.” So this is a very light blue gelato. It tasted like “Blue Moon” in the states.
Riso – This means rice in Italian. It reminded me a lot of rice pudding. There are bits of cooked rice in it
Malaga – Rum raisin. Much more tasty than I’ve had in America.
Forza Viola – I still have no idea what this was/is but it was purple and translates to “purple force” in Italian. Maybe there was some lilac in there? It was sort of floral. Maybe some berries. The only way I can describe it is, if light purple had a taste, this is what it would taste like.
Marscapone & Ficcha – This was marscapone and fig. it was a rich vanilla with drizzles of fig sauce and bits of fig in it.
Pistacchio – This gelato was heavenly. It’s flavors were so complex and you could taste every aspect of the pistachio. It had the salty rich nutty tones but the sweet cream too.
Caramello Salato – Ok so I know we have “salted caramel” in the US and that it’s popular. But the salted caramel I tasted was a food-gasm. This gelato tasted as if someone had just made caramel on the stove and handed the pot to me. You could taste each flavor: the butter, the lightly salted caramel sweetness, and that slight smokey burnt crispy taste that all good caramel has.
If you wanna have two food-gasms in one gelato session get a scoop of salted caramel and the dark chocolate.