You have just landed in Rome; the sun is shining you are strolling through the narrow streets and you fancy an ice cream. You go off in search of what the Italians call Gelato and you can buy it everywhere. But the question is…… Is gelato ice-cream? Where do I buy the really good stuff and how do I know it’s the real thing? Allow us to guide you to your best gelato in Rome!
The first thing to get straight is that gelato is not the same as ice-cream. What is the difference? Is it just about ingredients? Both gelato and Ice cream contain dairy, sugar, possibly eggs, but that is where the similarity ends.
Whats the difference between gelato and ice cream?
• Ingredients: While both gelato and ice cream contain cream, milk and sugar, authentic gelato uses more milk and less cream than ice cream and generally doesn’t use egg yolks, which are a common ingredient in ice cream.
• Butterfat, air and flavour: Ice cream contains at least 10 percent butterfat and usually has between 14 and 25 percent. Meanwhile, Italian gelato includes only about 4 to 9 percent fat. Yet gelato also contains less air than commercial ice cream — that helps keep it dense, fluid and creamy.
• Creaminess: Gelato is creamier, smoother and silkier, as well as denser and more elastic and fluid, than commercial ice cream.
• Temperature: Another flavour enhancer: Italian gelato is served about 10 to 15 degrees warmer than American ice cream, at about 7 to 12 degrees Fahrenheit, so your mouth is less numb and better able to taste it.
You can buy Gelato in 3 sizes: small – piccolo, medium – medio and large – grande. But can also buy by weight in a ½ kilo or 1-kilo tray to take home with you.
Whatever the size, you can have a cup or cone starting at €2.50, most gelaterias will have different cones which may cost extra. Remember not to be shy, even if you are having a small you can always have two flavours.
If you want the full Italian experience you should say yes to panna on top – a dollop of fresh whipped cream. You might think.. that’s just crazy!!!! Cream on top of ice-cream?! When in Rome everyone!
Lastly…. When is gelato time?? Any time! Italians eat gelato just because it makes them feel good, and cools you down in the heat. It is not unusual to see crowds of people including babies in strollers at gelateria at 11 pm at night.
Top tips to make sure you’re getting the best gelato in Rome
- Buy it from a Gelateria where they specialise in making Artiginale gelato. Look out for it on the sign!
- Avoid places with 100s of different types of flavours of gelato. It is not easy to make fresh gelato and sell 100+ flavours every day! However, there are two places in the center that we recommend Gelateria Fassi and Fatamorgana.
- What does it look like? Bright colours and glossy toppings heaped into fancy shapes is not a good sign. Banana should not be bright yellow! The gelato should look like the principle of fresh ingredients. If it is heaped in fancy shapes on top of the container walk away!!
Our favourite Gelato in Rome
The list of good gelaterias in Rome is endless, but here are a few of our favourites.. We highly reccomend you try the Pistachio… in our opinion it is the best gelato in Rome!
- San Crispino Some Romans say the best in town, located near Trevi fountain and other locations
- Fatamorgana Located at Piazza degli Zingari 5 in Monti and a few other locations. This is a local favourite with alternative flavours including seasonal specials as well as the classics. Great Vegan options.
- Gelateria del Teatro Located near Piazza Navona on via dei Coronari 65
- Gelateria La Romana Two taps constantly running with melted white and milk chocolate. Perfect place to take the kids! Located at Via Ostiense, 48, and a few other locations. Try the Ricotta and Caramelized Figs.
- Grezzo – Some of the finest raw chocolate products and vegan gelato in the world. That’s right, raw, no added sugar and out this world. We recommend the gelato but in particular Gianduia which is chocolate and hazelnut. All of the gelato is Vegan, but you wouldn’t be able to tell.
If you want to find out more and discover some of the best gelaterias in the city, why not join us for our Piazzas, Squares and Gelato Tour where we will take you through some of the most beautiful areas of Rome and of course tell you all there is to know about one of Italy’s finest culinary delights!