Italian gelato is a great year round treat, whether you’re wandering the streets of Rome or Milan or enjoying it at home. The range of gelato available can be vast and there are so many different options to try. When it comes to flavours, these can usually be broken down into five major types: fruit, chocolate, nuts, cream and the tastes that don’t fit into any category. These are some of our favourites to try from each one:
When it comes to fruit flavour gelato don’t expect there to be lumps of actual fruit, as most of these will be blended smoothly. Gelato is a creamier and lighter alternative to ice cream and large pieces of actual fruit would ruin the eating experience. Fruit flavours such as raspberry (lampone), strawberry (fragola), peach (pesca) and pear (pera) are deliciously creamy and have a huge depth of flavour thanks to their fruit ingredients. Frutti di bosco (fruits of the forest) is essential to try, as is limone (lemon) and melona (melon).
You may have thought that chocolate gelato was chocolate gelato. However, there are many different chocolate options and we’d highly recommend that you try as many as possible. Start with cioccolato al latte – milk chocolate – when you’re just starting out with the chocolate flavours and make sure you contrast it with a cioccolato fondente (dark chocolate) too. Try gianduja if you like chocolate and hazelnuts and cioccolato all’arancia if the idea of chocolate orange gelato appeals.
Nuts are frequently used in combination with other ingredients in gelato but also often get their own standalone flavours. Pistacchio (pistachio) tends to be a favourite – the paler the green colour the higher quality the gelato is likely to be. Mandorla (almond), nocciola (hazelnut) and noce (walnut) are all also an essential tasting experience.
And the rest..
Gelato makers can be quite experimental and there are some flavours that don’t really fit into any obvious categories. Stracciatella, for example, is basically a gelato version of a chocolate chip ice cream while menta is mint and malaga is rum n raisin. Zuppa inglese might translate as ‘English soup’ but it’s actually a flavour based on trifle, while riso is rice pudding, complete with pieces of cooked rice.
Gelato is a wonderful treat and with so many different, delicious flavours to try there’s no time to waste with the tasting.