The main ingredient that differentiates ice cream and Italian gelato is milk. Ice cream is made with cream and has air whipped into it. Gelato is made of milk and has NO air added at all, which is why it is so dense. This is good news for anyone traveling to Italy. Gelato has less fat and calories than ice cream – so no need to feel guilty for indulging as you stroll the back streets of Rome, or get lost in Venice or hike the Cinque Terre! If you don’t have the time to find the absolute best local gelateria making homemade gelato, then GROM is a trustworthy brand that has shops all over the country. My two favorite places to indulge are Di San Crispino and Bar Giolitti.
If you're planning a trip to Italy, here are a few easy tips on how to find YOUR perfect gelato.
- The Color Of The Pistachio – Be Aware! A great way to quickly check to see if a gelaterie is serving good quality gelato is to look at the color of the Pistachio flavor. If it’s neon green or very bright in color, it’s a sign that the ice cream is manufactured and not homemade. Filled with artificial coloring and flavoring. Good homemade Pistachio gelato should have an earthy green color – in general, good gelato of any flavor should have soft, muted colors.
- Make Sure The Gelato Is Hidden! Although gelato looks so much better when it’s arranged in a big mound with fruity decorations, it’s not a good sign if you are seeking high quality. High quality gelaterias keep their gelato hidden away in covered metal canisters. They can preserve it better and keep the gelato at the ideal temperature, giving it that perfect creamy, dense consistency and vivid flavor.
- Avoid Abundant Mounds of Gelato! The big piles of sculpted gelato that draw most tourists inside a gelaterie have been infused with air. Although they are lovely to look at, remember, true Italian gelato contains no air. If you find mile-high containers of gelato, so much air has been injected into the product during production, that half of it by volume is composed of air. Causing the Gelato to be airy and less flavorful.
- Look for a Sign Stating 'Produzione Propria'. Try to find Gelaterias that make homemade Gelato (preferably in the back room of the shop) and advertise their gelato as ’produzione propria’. If the gelato is made in-house, it's unlikely to contain artificial flavorings, giving you a true flavor.
What you can learn from the photo below:
- Look at that blue smurf-colored gelato, that’s a bad sign of artificial flavoring and coloring.
- Fruity decorations look better than they taste.
- Sculpted gelato is a sign of air infusion.
- Avoid shops with bright neon signs outside, as often they’re a giveaway for poor quality – the best Gelaterias usually don’t use them.
I know it's pretty, but that plane ticket to Italy was too expensive to settle for this puffed up gelato!
No self respecting Italian would eat gelato on a cone..... but a 19 year old American girl will!
So have you found the perfect gelateria? What's your favorite flavor? Mine is definitely lemon made with Sorrento Lemons! Ahhh Italy!