Best gelati in Italy

Making gelati is in the Italians’ DNA. It’s all good. So deciding who does ‘the best’ is a tall order. Leaving no cone unturned from Sicily to Veneto this summer, here’s my selection of the top five gelaterie, plus an old favourite.

 

1. Pozzallo, Sicily

Gelateria: Mattioli Cafe, Lungomare Pietre Nere 45

Perfect pairing: Cannella (cinnamon) and panna cotta (Italian ‘cooked cream’ dessert)

Tasting notes: This gelateria is the second reason to visit the port town of Pozzallo; the first is the ferry hop from Malta to Italy. As a cannella first-timer I’d go there again in a heartbeat. I think I’ve found my new BF (best flavour).

 

2. Agrigento, Sicily

Gelateria: Le Cuspidi, Piazza Cavour 19

Perfect pairing: Pistacchio and nocciola (hazelnut)

Tasting notes: Making gelati since 1960, this classy-looking gelateria does justice to the classics. The real treat, however, is watching the goings-on in the adjacent piazza – everything from local kids kicking around a soccer ball, to nonni line dancing to Italian-style salsa.

 

3. Spello, Umbria

Gelateria: Caffe Cavour, Via Cavour 61

Star flavour: Meringa alla lavanda (lavender)

Tasting notes: Spello is synonymous with flowers, particularly during the annual Infiorate festival when elaborate pictures are created with flower petals on the cobblestoned streets. It’s also a culinary hub. Combine these elements and you get lavender, orange blossom and rose petal gelati.

 

4. San Gimignano, Tuscany

Gelateria: Gelateria dell’ Olmo, Piazza Della Cisterna 34

Star flavour: Frutti di bosco (fruits of the forest)

Tasting notes: This mixed berry flavour is less adventurous than fragole e aceto balsamico (strawberry and balsamic vinegar) but delivers a rich, fruity fix. Join the queue in the main piazza of this hilltop town and people-watch while you wait and salivate.

 

5. Lucca, Tuscany

Gelateria: De’ Coltelli, Via San Paolino 10

Perfect pairing: Zenzero (ginger) and ananas (pineapple)

Tasting notes: Ooh la la – my tastebuds are still tingling! The perfect finale to walking the 4km-long Passeggiata Mura at the top of the city wall that encircles Lucca.

 

Long-time favourite: Venice, Veneto

Gelateria: Gelateria Ca’ d’Oro, Strada Nuova

Star flavours: Limone (lemon) and pistacchio

Tasting notes: A sentimental favourite of mine since 1998. Buying an ice-cream from this well-established gelateria is the Venetian equivalent of throwing three coins in the fountain: you’re guaranteed to return.

8 comments

  1. WOW! My taste buds are tingling too. Now that you have got our attention, have you ever thought of organising a foodies tour of Italy? No worries about excess baggage – I only hope you two can fit into your seats on the plane home!

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    • LOL! On the plane home we’ll be carrying a few extra kilos — around our waists! Not sure if the culprit is the gelato or the prosecco or the Campari spritz…

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      • So…………..jealous yum!

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  2. Hey Prosecco princess and queen, am sooooo jealous and have been wondering how you are going!! Have fun!.

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    • We’re on the home stretch now. Hoping to bring some duty-free Canella Bellini home with us… xo

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  3. Wally wants to know if you bring some home for him.

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  4. Have you been to Gelato Messina Piano? Would love to know how Italian gelati compares to my all time favourite in Sydney.

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    • Hi Sooz. I haven’t been to Gelato Messina in inner-city Sydney, but a quick look at the website, http://www.gelatomessina.com, tells me why it would be a favourite. I see they do gelato sandwiches, which is a variation on the Sicilian custom of serving gelato in a bun. (The Sicilians then eat the gelato with a spoon — go figure!) Can’t wait to try this gelateria. Grazie mille!

      Reply

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