Oh gelato. One of the most important parts of assuring you are enjoying a true, authentic Italian experience – having a refreshing cone of Italian gelato while IN Italy gives you bragging rights and a story to tell at parties for years to come. Everywhere you look in Italy it seems there are a million gelaterias filled with tubs of delicious, creamy gelato calling your name – unfortunately however, not all gelato is created equal, so while there are tons of places where you can enjoy authentic gelato, there are just as many that rely on the unsuspecting prey that are eager tourists.
So in a sea of gelato…how do you find the real deal?
Listen, I’ve eaten really good gelato in Italy. I’ve also eaten really terrible gelato in Italy. I understand how important this is, so I’ve made it my personal mission to tell you exactly how to find the real deal and live your Italian gelato fantasy dreams. Let’s go.
One of the first hints to if the gelato you’re looking at is one that you should KEEP looking at is if it is piled up in huge mountains or not – if it is, it’s time to turn around and keep looking.
Sure, they look exciting – but only the metal tub that the gelato is actually kept in is cold, so if you see huge mountains of gelato (like in this picture above), it means something has been put in the gelato to make sure it can stay out of the cold without melting. Yikes.
Additionally, authentic gelaterias will make their gelato fresh every single day – sometimes even TWICE a day, with a batch made in the morning and a batch made in the evening to assure that what they are serving is fresh. Even in the busiest of city centers, there is just no way that gelaterias could sell through an entire mountain of gelato (like pictured above) in one day, which means that the gelato you’re eating likely isn’t fresh.
Instead, your first tip will be to look for gelato that is in line with the base of the tub it is in (remember – that’s the only part that is the temperature needed to keep the gelato frozen without melting).
You know how some predators are vibrant and brightly-colored in order to attract their prey? Yeah. Same story here.
As beautiful as they might look, fresh fruit and other natural ingredients when blended are actually a lot duller than you’d think. If the gelato you’re looking at is super vibrant and bright colored, it means something unnatural has been added to it to make it that way.
One of the best tricks to determine this is to look are pistacchios – pistacchios when blended actually come out to be a light brownish green, so the gelato should be that way too 😉
The “ch” in Italian sounds like the “k” in English, so in Italy, Pistacchio is pronounced “Pis-tak-ee-oh”! 😉
I feel like there’s this weird thing where people, for some reason, view gelato as something super fancy, and therefore they believe that it must be expensive. As a result, they don’t think twice when asked to fork over 6€ or 7€ for a small cup or cone, which just makes my heart hurt.
Even in big touristy cities, a small cup or cone of gelato shouldn’t cost you more than 2.50-3 Euro at the MOST. It’s cheap. It’s yummy. There’s no excuse you shouldn’t eat it every single day of your trip.
We talked about the huge mountains above and how to avoid them BUT if you find gelato that isn’t even visible at ALL – you’ve hit the jackpot. If you see a Gelateria that has a bunch of tiny, fully covered circular canisters in the serving table, I need you to run to it. Because that…THAT is good gelato.
Note: this does NOT mean that gelato that ISN’T served in these metal cannisters is bad, it just means you have to “vet” it more 😉
And that is how exactly to find good gelato in Italy my friends. Happy eating! <3