Gelato: it’s the elephant in the room. In Italy, you can’t walk 100 feet without passing at least one gelato shop, or as the locals so eloquently call it, “la gelateria”. As somewhat of an ice cream connoisseur myself, I thought it would be fun to put together the ultimate gelato showdown in hopes of not only reminding myself of the delicious treats I’ve indulged in while spending time here, but also to give some helpful tips and tricks for those seeking out some top notch ice cream! With so many flavors and choices to choose from, I’m here to give you the real SCOOP on Italian gelato!
A quick disclaimer: this post is going to be a bit of a Bar Nettuno Gelateria plug, but they really know how to do gelato right and you know what they say- don’t fix what’s not broke!
7. ZUPPA INGLESE
Coming in 6th place is the flavor “zuppa inglese” from Nettuno. I ended up getting this flavor mid-stroll on the lungomare a few nights ago and I am sad to report that it left me a little underwhelmed. Traditionally an Italian dessert with similar preparation to a tiramisu, it is normally an alcohol soaked sponge cake topped with creamy custard. I was drawn to this flavor after seeing its similar looks to stracciatella with a more yellow tint, and while I am glad that I tried it, I will definitely opt for something different next time!
Also from Nettuno is the Oreo flavor, which is ranking in at 6th on my list. Sadly, like zuppa inglese, I also do not have a picture to show, but it tasted like a very typical cookies and cream gelato. Good nonetheless, but I would have to have a certain craving for it next time amidst so many other choices!
5. LIMON / FRUTTI DI BOSCO
This killer combo is ranked at 5th. For me, I’m always cursed by the daunting choice between a milk base or fruity gelato when I get up to the counter. Of course, this combo was delicious and hit the all the spots, but personally I’ve had better fruit-based gelato elsewhere (we’ll get to that later). That being said, this is the best sorbet-like gelato that I’ve had in Salerno, so definitely don’t be discouraged if you’re in the mood for something a little bit lighter while in Salerno!
4. STRACCIATELLA / MYSTERY FLAVOR ???
I’ve talked about this gelato in my Paestum post, but no review would be complete without it! Made with real Italian buffalo milk, I had to put this flavor combo in 4th place. As someone that has had many a stracciatella in her life, I can tell you that this stuff was no joke! All around, this ice cream really just smacked and I will definitely be back for more!
2. LIMON: AMALFI COAST
It’s the top 2 and there’s no more fitting place for the limon gelato I ate while in Amalfi. I can say with certainty that this is the best lemon gelato I have ever eaten. So soft and creamy, yet refreshing and sour all at the same time, this treat was the best of both worlds! Luckily for foreigners like myself, you don’t have to be a local to pick out a good gelato spot in Amalfi because everywhere is good! I opted for the touristy, comes in a lemon that you pick yourself, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!
Drumroll please… Also from Bar Nettuno (what more did you expect) is the gelato flavor to top all others. Similar to a cookies and cream, I simply cannot describe how absolutely delicious this is. Ever since I’ve eaten it for the first time I’ve been on the hunt for the soft, buttery cookies that are folded into the mix that give it just the right amount of crunch and texture amongst the chocolate you’ll find swirled throughout. Not only have I gone back several times for this flavor specifically, but I’ve also had the delight of getting it served up “gelato con brioche” style (see picture above). Yeah, you read that right. The perfect amount of gelato in a sweet, airy brioche bun that is certain to make the most delicious mess you’ve ever eaten. While I know it sounds weird to eat ice cream in a vessel made of bread, trust me when I say that this is one of the BEST things I’ve eaten here in Italy so far. Be warned: the “piccola” size will be plenty!!!
Now, what I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for… how to actually know when you’re getting the authentic stuff:
- If you’re lucky like me, the second you arrive you’ll be pointed in the direction of where to get the best gelato in town (i.e. Bar Nettuno Gelateria), if not ASK THE LOCALS and you will find!
- Don’t go for the bright colors: flavors should be natural without crazy additives and dyes, let the gelato speak for itself! (**pistachio gelato should NOT be neon green!**)
- Look for metal tins: any real authentic gelateria is able to better regulate their temperatures in metal so you know what you’re getting is made by those who care about its quality!
- Choose different flavors: While always keep in mind to avoid the tourist trap flavors (i.e. bubblegum, cookies and cream etc.), I can assure you that there’s plenty of time and gelato to taste so many different things that you may never get the chance to again. Why not take a walk on the wild side and get something you’ve never heard of or may not even know how to pronounce!
That’s all for this gelato post! I hope that showing some of the sweet treats I’ve gotten to experience on this trip will not only inspire y’all to come and decide for yourself, but also give a greater insight into what it truly means to eat like an Italian!
Ciao a tutti!