Gelato Flavors 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 traveled around 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 flavors you'll find and how to choose the perfect pairing.

Sample the flavors

2 Lauren and Emily eating Gelato

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

Plan your flavor 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 flavors! I usually like to choose one fruit flavor and one dessert flavor - 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 flavors, you can definitely pair whatever suits your taste buds! Here are a few of my favorite flavor 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 flavors

4 Lemon Gelato

Certain flavors 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 flavors that are in season - such as peach (la pesca) in the summertime or chestnut (la castagna) in the winter.

House Specialties

5 Cup of Gelato

Another little trick of the trade is to look for "House flavors" - which are sometimes labeled as "della casa." This is the gelateria's specialty flavor - 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 specialty flavors 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 flavor while the specialty flavor 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 flavors 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 flavors 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 favorite flavor!

Know your flavors

7 Gelato

If there's a flavor that you especially enjoy - for me, it was coconut - it doesn't hurt to learn the name in Italian because flavors are not always translated. Some flavors, 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 flavors 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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