A Gelato Journal

One of the things I look forward to in Italy is the gelato.   And on this trip I was determined to sample gelato everywhere I went.  It wasn’t easy, but I’d challenged myself and I did my best to go to as many gelato shops as I could.  So while I was in Italy I had at least one a day. But it was in the name of research, and I decided to eat as much as possible to provide accurate information.

Later I realized I could never say who has the best gelato.  Because it’s always so delicious, I enjoyed a refreshing gelato from a stand near the Vatican just as much as one from a specialty shop in Venice.   One difference was that in smaller places there weren’t as many choices.  But this didn’t matter because I like flavors such as vanilla just fine.   But there was a flavor in San Gimignano that I’ll never forget:  a Nutella/hazelnut combination!  That gelato was delicious and I nearly went back for a second one immediately.   Another flavor I really enjoyed was crème brulee.   It was so tasty that I may have (momentarily) forgotten to admire the beautiful scenery.

An important thing to remember about the gelato in Italy is that the portions are quite small.  I usually bought the smallest size, which was surprisingly satisfying.  I’d buy it in a waffle cone, but many people seemed to prefer cups.  I would also get one of those tiny spoons to try to make it last longer.

I’ll continue with this journal and focus on some special places with excellent gelato.  And one of the best things about eating gelato in Italy is that I got so much exercise walking up and down hills (and flights of stairs) that the calories didn’t really count.  Or so I keep telling myself…

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121 thoughts on “A Gelato Journal

  1. I admire your dedication to this important research Meg, you are doing us all a great service. Lovely photos, and that second one looks most intriguing with all those colours.

  2. One of the things I truly enjoy when travelling is the variety of foods (did you have any doubt!) two of my good friends who lived in Italy (Le Marche & Milan) actually mentioned an ice cream stall near the Vatican in Rome as the absolute best! I really wonder if this might have been the one! ;)

    • Wouldn’t that be something if we were talking about the same place? I’ve actually gone to this particular stall more than once, and there always seems to be a crowd. I guess when you have good gelato, people will find you!

    • I’m glad you understand that it was a challenge to eat so much gelato :) And I was always looking for new flavors that sounded delicious. The creme brulee was definitely one of the best!

  3. Hey Meg…I’m thinking you shouldn’t have to do all the dirty work. If you need a “research assistant”….I’m free! Yummy Post!
    R

  4. In Monterosso in Cinque Terre I found pesto gelato. I know it sounds strange, but it was delicious! A fresh minty basil that made my taste buds do a happy dance.

  5. I do love gelato! How very selfless of you to be willing to take your time to do the necessary research for an authentic accounting, Meg! Well done! And I’m sure the calories don’t count anyway…you were on foreign soil! :-) But seriously…I repeat! I do love gelato! Was there anything about the gelato itself that seems different from what we can get here in the States? I mean consistency or something, not just flavors? I’m just curious! Of course everything would taste better in Italy, I’d assume! Debra

    • I’m glad you understand my dedication to this subject Debra! And gelato is really tasty when you’re in Italy. I think it has to do with the texture, creaminess and freshness. I may have to continue my research… :)

  6. We love gelato too. And remember, it doesn’t have as much fat as ice cream, so between all your walking and the lower fat content, you did yourself no harm. ;) We have a really good gelato place near us where they create so many different and interesting flavors, you want to go back often just to taste something new. But those authentic Italian gelatos would probably put all our American places to shame. :) And we do the same thing as you – we use those tiny spoons to make it seem like more and last longer! :D

    • You’ve provided some excellent information about gelato – thank you! And it’s great that you’ve found a local gelato shop. It brings a little bit of Italy back home… :)

    • Let me offer my congratulations on your wonderful goal of eating gelato! I hope you’re visiting lots of towns so you can try different flavors :) Keep up the good work!

  7. Oh boy ! What a challenge. I really admire you dedication … and all in the name of science too. :-D
    I had gelato in Venice once … Oooooh ! (better than sex) !

  8. JUST ONE A DAY? You are so disciplined! While in Italy, I tried every gelato shop I passed by so I had an average of 4 scoops a day sometimes 5-6 scoops! The way I see it is, you can’t get gelato like that in ITALIA, so enjoy it while you’re there! Excellent journal! Keep me posted on the most memorable one yet!

    • I really should have eaten much more gelato than I did! And I think your reasoning for sampling lots of gelato is very sensible :) It’s just a great memory of Italy…

  9. Oh Meg! I’m so glad you made the sacrifice to be the gelato researcher for us! ;) What a tough job, but someone has to do it, right? lol
    I was salivating just reading your words, and your photos are wonderful. I love the close-up of the gelato display and the one with the bike in front of the store too… I’m bummed that I missed the gelato shop in San Gimignano! Great post!

    • Thanks Judy! I decided to visit gelato shops before I went to Italy, so I actually had a plan. And it was an easy plan stick with. However I never got a picture of any gelato I bought – it didn’t last long enough!

  10. Gelato in Europe is amazing… Stracciatella is usually my favorite flavor. In Germany / Austria usually one can buy a one scoop cone for only 1 euro. Hits the spot!

  11. Just looking at those photos makes my mouth start watering – and I swore when I got back from Italy yesterday that I wouldn’t be able to eat gelato again for at least 6 months! It’s just too gooooooood :)

  12. Are you keeping a gelato journal ? That’s a great idea! My favorite flavor is Stracciatella. It always makes me think of the line “a tarantella! “from some musical which I can’t recall right now . . . xo

    • I really did keep track of where I had gelato in Italy! The pictures I took make great souvenirs, although all the actual gelato got eaten immediately… So I’ll have to get back to Italy soon so I can continue my research :)

  13. You’re a woman after my own heart. My favorite gelateria was on a main square in Florence. I can’t remember the name of the place, but hope to return some day. I really enjoyed your post and recalling the memories of delicious Italian gelato.

    • Thank you – I really consider gelato one of my favorite things about Italy! And I have a feeling that when you get back to Florence you’ll find your gelateria again :) But for now we’ll just enjoy the memories!

  14. In Bologna there is a never-ending debate over which gelato place is the best from three or four of the most famous places in town. During the spring and summer I always go to this outdoor cafe to get some sun, and I always buy their gelato just to buy something so I can sit in the sun. This cafe does not happen to be famous for their gelato at all, but I just felt like I needed to buy something so I could sit for a while. But I always ended up loving the gelato from this place, like, a lot. I thought I was crazy or my tastebuds were off or something, because this place was not known for their gelato. Months later I discovered that the mother-in-law of the owner of the cafe makes the gelato there from scratch every morning from her own recipes. So it was a lesson for me – famous does not necessarily mean the best. Now I always take my out-of-town visitors here for gelato and the mother-in-law is thrilled. :) If anybody ever goes to Bologna – Lab 16 on via Zamboni! :)

    • This is a wonderful story! The gelato sounds like it must be delicious, especially now that you know the reason why. I’ve been interested in a trip to Bologna, and here’s another good reason to go! Thanks for giving the address too. I (and all gelato lovers) really appreciate it :)

  15. I also love this story! Can you believe it, on one trip to Italy last year I came home and realized I didn’t have ANY gelato at all?! And I was traveling alone, I could have had gelato nonstop. That’s business travel for you. By the way, and I know it’s not at all the same as gelato, but Ben & Jerry’s has an amazing crème brulee flavor and it’s so delicious. Thanks for posting this, and glad I came across it on this 97 degree day!

    • I’m very sorry to hear you missed out on gelato when you were in Italy. You’ll just have to make up for it next time! And thanks for the tip about the ice cream, too. Something cold sounds good when it’s so hot outside :)

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