It’s been a full three months and I haven’t made a post about gelato. Lucky for you, this is about to change.
You might be asking: “What’s the big deal? Gelato’s no different than ice cream.”
That’s where you’re wrong. Very, very wrong.
Though the word “gelato” means ice cream in Italian, the two delicious summer treats are made differently.
Gelato has a higher proportion of milk than ice cream. It also has a lower proportion of cream and of eggs – sometimes it doesn’t have eggs at all. Gelato is churned at a much slower rate than ice cream, resulting in a much denser consistency.
Due to the lower percentage of fat, gelato typically carries a stronger flavor. It is also served at a warmer temperature, leaving it silky and soft.
Last Wednesday, our fearless leader and beloved receptionist, Andy, led a group of about 45 hungry and tired college students through the streets of Florence to three of his favorite Gelateria’s in Florence: Vivaldi, Santa Trinita and La Carraia.
Stop One: Vivaldi
Our first stop brought us to Vivaldi, a Gelateria in the San Niccolo area of Florence.
Vivaldi has unique gelato flavors that are typically hard to find around Florence. My favorites are the lemon basil flavor and the Oreo flavor (yes – this is a rarity).
Here, I tried lemon and fondente, or very dark chocolate.
Vivaldi’s gelato is incredibly silky and smooth. The dark chocolate is my favorite in Florence – it tastes like chilled brownie batter.
This is a great place to stop after hiking up to watch the sunset at Piazzale Michelangelo.
Stop Two: Santa Trinita
Located directly at the end of the Santa Trinita bridge, this pretty, pink Gelateria is not only a great place for delicious gelato, but also a great place for your Instagram pictures.
Their flavor selection includes the standards – mint, lemon, strawberry, stracciatella and coffee – and also some signatures – santa trinita, passion fruit and black sesame.
The first time I came here, I tried the Santa Trinita. I’m not sure what exactly was in it, but it tasted like a sweet blend of cream (or vanilla), chocolate and caramel.
This time, I was a bit more adventurous. I tried the black sesame and pistachio. Together, it tasted just like peanut butter.
Stop Three: La Carraia
This store actually has two locations: the original, in Piazza Nazario Sauro on the other side of the river, and another directly across the street from my apartment.
On this tour, we visited the original location, which is bigger and has a larger selection of flavors.
The best thing about La Carraia is its low prices – you really can’t beat one euro gelato.
Beyond that, it has a great flavor selection and a mix of gelato and mousse. Though I typically avoid the mousse, it is a lighter and fluffier alternative to the denser gelato.
I took advantage of the large flavor selection and tried a flavor that I never saw at the location across the street: cream with chocolate and orange. Made with real orange (you could actually see the large shreds of orange zest mixed in) it tasted like a creamsicle. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for the best gelato in the city.
It’s not an easy task to pick a favorite gelato flavor or a favorite Gelateria, but the place that stole my heart – and stomach – on this particular tour had to be La Carraia. With unbeatable prices, fun flavors and fresh ingredients, it has to be my favorite place to get gelato in Florence.