LivingTravelAll about ice cream and why you should try...

All about ice cream and why you should try it on your Italian vacation

A g elateria (pronounced jell-a-ter-EE-a ) is an Italian store that sells gelato or gelati ( pronounced jell-A-to or jell-A-ti ). If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating ice cream, put it on your itinerary, it’s a tasty delicacy that you simply must try while in Italy.

Ice Cream vs Ice Cream

Gelato is sometimes labeled “Italian ice cream” in the United States, but that definition is not really correct. Ice cream is closer to frozen milk, as Italians found that too much butterfat interferes with the fresh and flavorful taste of Italian ice cream. In fact, it would be completely wrong in the United States to call ice cream Italian ice cream, as the FDA defines ice cream as a frozen product with no less than 10% butterfat and typical Italian ice cream is lower in butterfat. .

A gelateria often sells fancy gelato concoctions, a plain cone (cone) or a cup ( coppa ). The customer chooses their desired flavors, which are labeled, often with pictures. Most of the time you will get 2 scoops (two different flavors) for the least expensive option.

Look for an ice cream parlor that says » gelato fatto in casa «, or gelato made at home, for the best authentic ice cream. Avoid places with bright color screens and instead look for colors that are closer to the real thing. A good flavor to check is pistachio, which should not be bright green but a paler, almost brown color. Fruit flavors should resemble real fruit, not something brightly colored (read: artificially). Also, the large, artistically arranged stacks are most likely factory-made products.

You can find ice cream parlors that offer options like yogurt or soy milk gelato. If you don’t have dairy, look for slushie or sorbet, fruit-flavored ice cream that doesn’t contain milk.

More than just ice cream

You can usually find a few other things even in the most basic ice cream shop like ice cream cakes or desserts that you can take out. The gelateria can be combined with other functions, becoming a bar-gelateria , a gelateria-pasticceria or even a combination of the 3. If it is also a bar, it will serve coffee, spirits, sandwiches, cakes and gelato all under one roof. If the name includes the word pasticceria, it will also offer fresh pastries in addition to ice cream. In larger cities, you will often find an ice cream parlor that sells only gelato, but in small towns, these are often combined with other functions.

Sampling of ice cream throughout Italy

If you’re going to Florence, book the Pizza and Ice Cream class or the Ice Cream and Wine Tasting through Select Italy to get an up-close look at an ice cream parlor and how ice cream is made. Food tours often include a stop at an insider recommended ice cream parlor. In Rome, try Eating Italy Food Tours or food tours with The Roman Foodie.

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