Did you know that the city of Florence has 136 gelato shops? That’s given me more than enough opportunities to try lots of gelato in the past month and a half. I’ve tried some flavors that you won’t find in the states, and some that just do not compare to any American ice creams.
1. Bacio milk chocolate & hazelnut
I had never been a huge fan of Nutella before coming to Italy, but being in the Nutella headquarters of the WORLD, how could I not like it? Nutella lovers, this flavor is for you! Here in Florence, anything and everything chocolate is to die for. The subtle hazelnut flavor is the perfect combination with a sweet, rich milk chocolate. Even if you don’t care for Nutella, I’d still recommend trying it, since it’s a much more natural flavor and isn’t overly sweet (or as processed!).
Fun fact: Be careful who you ask for a bacio! It also means kiss 🙂
2. Fragola strawberry
This is nowhere near the so-called “strawberry” ice cream that you’d find in America. It’s closer to a sorbet, and much more natural. It tastes just like fresh strawberries, but still has that thick consistency of an ice cream. This strawberry gelato is super sweet and pairs well with either a stracciatella or chocolate flavor.
A dark chocolate and strawberry combo is AMAZING.
3. Biscotto chocolate chip cookie
Many gelaterias have their own version of this flavor. The base is typically a yellow, french vanilla ice cream, with hints of chocolate syrup and cookie dough. Instead of the all-too-familiar chocolate chip cookie dough pieces, this gelato has pieces of double chocolate chip cookies. This one is definitely a favorite of mine.
4. Cioccolato Fondente dark chocolate
Dark chocolate here is so rich.
This gelato flavor got me out of my milk-chocolate comfort zone. Even though it’s bitter, which I’ve never been a huge fan of, this gelato is so dense in cocoa flavor. It doesn’t feel as heavy as the milk chocolate gelato, which is much creamier and has a higher fat concentration.
If you don’t like any bitterness, then go for the milk chocolate, which is also amazing. Something about the dark chocolate here is so delicious, though. Pair it with a sweet flavor like biscotto or fragola!
5. Panna Cotta cooked cream
Panna cotta translates to “cooked cream,” and is similar to a French vanilla. This gelato is usually topped with a caramel and nut drizzle, giving it a burnt orange coating. This flavor is so sweet and indulging, and a go-to for caramel lovers. Containers of this flavor are easy to find in grocery stores around Italy, since it’s such a popular traditional flavor.
6. Stracciatella vanilla cream with chocolate bits
While a simple flavor, it’s still a must-try. Stracciatella isn’t overly sweet, as it’s considered a “cream” flavor, not actually vanilla, despite its white appearance. The chocolate chips add to the presentation and modest flavor.
The origin of this flavor comes from a popular dish of the same name. Stracciatella first came about as a soup and a cheese, in various regions of Italy. Enrico Panattoni, a pastry shop owner who later established his own restaurant, came up with a gelato form of this popular milk-based, Roman soup. He used milk, eggs, sugar, gelatin and a few other ingredients that have since been modified in today’s gelato recipe. He passed away in 2013, at 85 years old, but his influence lives on. Stracciatella is one of the most popular flavors in Italy.
7. Cappuccino coffee
Who doesn’t love coffee? Any kind of coffee gelato here is so rich and full of flavor. Paired with a milk chocolate gelato, it’s the perfect combo. Some gelaterias will even drizzle their coffee gelato with fresh liquid chocolate or a thick chocolate fondue. This authentic flavor is a must-try in Italy.
You’ll find pistachio gelato at every corner. This gelato is better than any American ice cream because it has so much more flavor! This also goes for other nutty gelatos, such as hazelnut and almond, two extremely popular flavors here (hazelnuts, duh). Pistachio in general has never been a favorite of mine, but I’d certainly give this one a try. It’s one of the most popular flavors around Italy!
9. Fru’ Fru’ Wafers
This flavor is sweet, chocolatey, and the base tastes almost like a cake batter. Pieces of wafer and chocolate bits are mixed in to add to the sweetness. The wafer seemed to have a chocolate filling, and no sign of nuts. I’ve only seen this flavor at La Carraia so far, to my disappointment! I first tried this one with milk chocolate gelato and it was a perfect combination. This could fix any sweet tooth of mine.
This is definitely one of the most popular flavors in Italy, and for good reason! Tiramisu dessert originates from the Veneto region of Italy. Its name means, “Pick me up,” referring to its two caffeinated ingredients: coffee and cocoa. This gelato flavor tastes just like a traditional tiramisu cake, packed with sweetness and the best chocolate flavoring you’ll try.
While they’re all so good, I found myself always going back to the same place for the same flavors. My favorite combination was Biscotti and Fondente from La Carraia. A huge thanks to Roberto for always serving my Monday night gelato craving:) Which flavor are you trying first?