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Gelato Flavours That Will Make You Melt

Lauren A
by Lauren Almonte

February 04, 2019

4 minute read

This is part two of my two-part series on Italy's famous sweet treat, gelato. When I travelled to Italy with my family this past summer, we ate a lot of gelato and I became something of an expert on the topic. Read on to learn all about the incredible flavours you'll find and how to choose the perfect pairing.

Sample the flavours

2 Lauren and Emily eating Gelato

The quickest way to be labeled as a tourist is to only get one flavour, which is the standard practice for ice cream in America. This doesn't mean you have to order a size medium for two flavours - most places will allow two little scoops for a small. If you're afraid of committing to two flavours that you might not enjoy, don't worry! Almost every gelateria will allow you to sample a flavour or two before ordering.

Plan your flavour pairing

3 Bowl of Gelato

Since you're expected to get at least two kinds of gelato, you might as well try interesting combos and new flavours! I usually like to choose one fruit flavour and one dessert flavour - the combination creates a taste that is not overwhelmingly sweet and also provides a hint of freshness. However, if you've got a prominent sweet tooth or a craving for fruity flavours, you can definitely pair whatever suits your taste buds! Here are a few of my favourite flavour combinations:

  • Dark chocolate and raspberry
  • Cinnamon and apple
  • Honey and grapefruit
  • Red wine and chocolate
  • Passionfruit and coconut
  • Lemon and strawberry

Pay attention to regional or seasonal flavours

4 Lemon Gelato

Certain flavours will be more fresh in different areas, so pay attention to what you see in the markets. Southern Italy is known for its lemons, so definitely give their limone gelato a try. Some places will also rotate in new flavours that are in season - such as peach (la pesca) in the summertime or chestnut (la castagna) in the winter.

House Specialities

5 Cup of Gelato

Another little trick of the trade is to look for "House flavours" - which are sometimes labeled as "della casa." This is the gelateria's speciality flavour - and it's always worth giving it a taste. The gelato might be listed simply as the name of the store, such as "Il Gelato di San Crispino," which is found in a shop by the same name. All speciality flavours will be different depending on the shop, so it won't hurt to ask. The gelato of San Crispino is a rich, mouth-watering honey flavour whilst the speciality flavour of the shop "La Strega Nocciola" - which translates literally to "The Hazelnut Witch" - is, to no one's surprise, hazelnut.

Be adventurous!

6 Colorful scoops of Gelato

The quality of gelato is usually so fresh and natural that even the most questionable flavours end up being delicious. I would never try apple ice cream but apple gelato paired with cinnamon tastes like a slice of pie on Thanksgiving. There's also opportunities to try interesting flavours that you may never see anywhere else (like red wine, matcha green tea, or tiramisu!) so you might as well take advantage of the opportunity and allow your taste buds to go on an adventure. Who knows? You might just find your new favourite flavor!

Know your flavours

7 Gelato

If there's a flavour that you especially enjoy - for me, it was coconut - it doesn't hurt to learn the name in Italian because flavours are not always translated. Some flavours, like cioccolato or menta, might be easy for you to understand because they are similar to their name in English. However, here are a few common flavours that you might have trouble translating:

  • Stracciatella - chocolate chip
  • Nocciola - hazelnut
  • Bacio - Nutella
  • Fragola - strawberry
  • Cocco - coconut
  • Miele - honey
  • Cannella - Cinnamon
  • Mela - Apple
  • Fondente - dark chocolate
  • Lampone - raspberry
  • Mandorla - almond

Eat fast!

8 Two flavors of Gelato

Italian gelato melts a lot quicker than ice cream due to its smoother texture, lower fat content, and because it is stored at a slightly warmer temperature. It's best to start eating right away - and why would you want to wait anyways? You don't want it dripping down your hand!


9 Lauren eating Gelato

Now that you have the inside scoop on gelato in Italy, you can have faith that your gelato experience will be the absolute best that it can be. Go out and treat your taste buds - just save a little scoop for me!

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