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Best gelato places in the World?

  • b
  • best Dec 31, 2002 06:23 PM

In your experience what / where are the best gelato places- I mean places so special that you would make a trip.
If this question would be the best value, I would have to say recently it was Buenos Aires: very high quality, great flavors, supernice texture, beautifully served for 1/3 of the European or North American prices.

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  1. I had excellent gelato this past spring in San Gimignano. It was listed in the Buon Paese book, and is called "Gelateria della Piazza", on Piazza della Cisterna. Well worth the detour if you should be in the area, ans San G is a great place to visit anyway.

    3 Replies
    1. re: James G

      In Rome, Gelateria San Crispino is one of the best. Viale Panetteria 42, near the Trevi Fountain.

      1. re: Eliot

        Yes, San Crispino is worth a special visit (or two). It's a lot more expensive than anywhere else I had gelato in Italy, but the flavours are intensely good. We tried lemon/grapefruit and valrohna cocoa/ginger-cinnamon on the first visit and honey/raspberry on the second. The honey is their signature flavour. The raspberry was probably my favourite as it tasted *just* like eating a berry, with no trace of the overly-sweet "jam" flavour that many (even naturally flavoured) raspberry gelatos have.

         
      2. re: James G

        That was my favourite in Italy too! I didn't know it was listed anywhere, but it was really outstanding. My test is always the pistachio. If it's really green, I run away.

      3. Hey, you can't hold out on us like that!! Where was the best in BA?!

        Smokey

        1. In my opinion, the best gelato can be found at Vivoli in Florence. On a recent trip my partner and I ate there every day. Even flavors that sounded weird, like peach or pear with burnt caramel, were amazing. It's hard to go wrong there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: joannap

            Second for Bar Vivoli in Florence. Not just for the flavor but for the astounding variety (all seasonal, of course) and combos

          2. Do you just mean gelato or would ice-cream be included? Recently tried some Berthillon in Paris and some of its flavors are fantastic. Also tried Vivoli in Florence before but since it was so long ago, can't really compare it to Berthillon. But I guess you can't go wrong with either.

            11 Replies
            1. re: HKTraveler

              Berthillion is US $11.00 per pint ice cream whose chocolate may be the best in the world. Badiani is the Florentine gelato maker that is generally recognized as superior to Vivoli. The particular flavor they are famous for is biantalenti. Having said all of this Graeter's in Cincinnati is better for their chip flavors as well as turtle and Swiss sundaes; Kopp's Frozen Custard in Milwaukee may be the best store bought ice cream/gelato/frozen custard on earth. New England has three great places: Toscanini's near Boston along with Bart's and Herrell's in Northampton, MA. There are a whole host of others including Richardson's north of Boston and Longacres just south of Allentown, PA on Route 100, both of which are 1920ish dairies that have survived to the present. Robin Rose, late of Santa Monica had an outstanding chocolate flavor, Neilsen's of Salt Lake City along with Leon's in Milwaukee will both rival Kopp's with Ted Drewes of St. Louis and Abbott's of Rochester (both long standing local instittions) in the distant pack.
              Overall I personally prefer American ice cream and frozen custard to the absolute best gelato in Italy and ice cream elsewhere in Europe. On it's best day Berthillion's US $13.00 hot fudge sundae couldn't fill Graeter's dish although it's chocolate ice cream was remarkable.

              1. re: Joe H.

                Since it's shifting to the subject of ice creams, I'd add Out of A Flower (Texas IIRC), Marco Polo and Mitchells (SF).

                1. re: Limster

                  Out of a Flower!!!! MY God, this is incredible ice cream. Something like $10 a pint but actually worth it with several flavors as good as the best I can make myself in a hand cranked White Mountain freezer using pasteurized heavy cream. Mitchell's was awfully good, too. But Out of a Flower! To think that Texans can make ice cream this good!

                  1. re: Joe H.

                    In SF as few years ago, I used to get Out of a Flower at Andronico's for $7 a pint. Loved their jasmine tea. very delicate flavouring, exquisitely smooth and soft texture. Unfortunately, I haven't tried that many flavours (selection at Andronico's was, alas, limited.) What are your favourites?

                    I thought I saw them at Formaggio Kitchen here in Boston but I could have been dreaming. Been busy with the local ice cream places anyway. *grin*

                    Since you've already tried many of the greats around Boston, you really should also visit Christina's (I'd be more than glad to take you there anytime!).

                    And then down to Manhattan for Laboratorio del Gelato that the NY chowhounds have been raving about.

                    1. re: Limster

                      Limster, I really appreciate the suggestions. I will try Christina's. I need to find a great dessert after Santarpio's which I have become addicted to for a biannual or triannual stop. (I'm in Boston about 10 or so days a year on business.) I've also read several of the posts on the New York boards about Laboratorio. That's also on my list although Christina's (because of my business) will probably come first.

                      Out of a Flower had three or four flavors that are incredble including a rum flavor that is awesome. But there must be a half dozen or so that I really like and, well, respect. There's a freshness to the texture of this ice cream that I've never found in another store bought ice cream. I swear, it really tastes truly home made, even several hours before.

                      I've never had Mitchell's. Where did you find this? Which flavors would you recommend?

                      Thanks again for the suggestions. I really appreciate them. If there's another Chow meal in Boston I would love to join in if I'm nearby. (I would have loved the pizza adventure you guys had a number of months back!) Please copy my e-mail and include me. I really appreciate your thoughts. Thanks again.

                      Joe Heflin

                      1. re: Joe H.

                        Mitchell's is a favourite of the SF chowhounds -- it's in the Mission neighbourhood. I like them primarily of their tropical fruit flavours which are hard to find elsewhere. Macapuno/young coconut is one of the most popular, but it seems to me that every hound there has his or her favourite. :)

                        Marco Polo is more like gelato, and some of their best (or rather some of my favourite) flavours include lychee, jackfruit and soursop.

                        I'll definitely email you when we have another chowdown here -- they range from small dinners to big organized affairsl like the pizza crawl. Hope to break bread with you some day.

                    2. re: Joe H.
                      c
                      Caitlin McGrath

                      Unfortunately, its web site doesn't name locations where it's sold, but I used to get Out of a Flower at Whole Foods in the Bay Area (berkeley store); unfortunately, it's not carried at the WF in NYC, though I believe it may be available at Dean & Deluca (so maybe also in DC and CA?). In the East Bay, it used to, at least, be available at the Pasta Shop.

                  2. re: Joe H.

                    Where in the U.S. can you find Berthillion? Is it a local ice cream? Anywhere in NYC?

                    And what is the difference between frozen custard and ice cream?

                    American ice cream certainly takes better to accoutrements--hot fudge, whipped cream--brownies, etc., than Italian gelato does. And i have never understood why people associate Florence with being a gelato city. Certainly not more than Naples, Palermo, Rome.

                    1. re: adam

                      Berthillion is in Paris. Scroll back on the midwestern board for numerous posts about frozen custard which include detailed discussions about the differences.

                      1. re: Joe H.
                        c
                        Caitlin McGrath

                        Berthillon (note correct spelling if searching for info) is without doubt Paris's (okay, France's) best-known ice cream. I only sampled three each of their ice creams and sorbets, but they were definitely memorable. It's sold at several places in the city, but the store itself has the freshest and the widest selection of flavors.

                        Link: http://www.berthillon-glacier.com/

                    2. re: Joe H.

                      Does the Neilsen's in Salt Lake City serve old-fashioned custard? If so, there's a sibling Neilsen's in Vienna, VA. Dense, creamy, rich, amazing stuff.

                      Phenomenally wonderful Grom Gelato has shown up in the US, specifically in Manhattan. My husband and I were lucky enough to discover Grom in Bologna this summer. There's a Slow Food connection to the Grom product; Grom sources its ingredients from Slow Food-approved growers/producers.

                  3. try Fenoglio in Nice old town, in front of the cathedral: includes unusual flavours such as tomato, basil, etc
                    bon appétit

                    1. Without a doubt - Amorino in Paris. Love their Pistachio and Yoghurt flavors. Much better than Berthillon, IMHO.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sf2nyc

                        If you include ice cream (and have a non-U.S. passport) Coppelia in Havana's central park is excellent.

                        1. re: sf2nyc

                          Agreed! Amorino over Berthillon any day. And I did (about 5-1). Rome in general has stellar gelato. I still remember a place near Campo di Fiori where we went twice a day for the entire week.

                        2. My recent trip changed my favorite gelato from Carabe in Florence to Savoia in Verona. Absolutly mouth-watering fruit flavors!

                          1. i can only compare it to what i've had here in the states, as i've [unfortunately] not made it to italy yet...but i was surprised by the number of gelato shops in sydney, australia...and i have to say that all the places i tried [and i tried many!] were fantastic. i'm convinced it has to do with the superior quality of the dairy down under. there are some seriously delectable frozen dessert products to be had in australia & new zealand.

                            1. I know it's been mentioned in some of the above mentioned threads but Amorino Gelato, Ile St. Louis, in Paris! I had just been in Italy (Venice, Florence, Tuscany region, Rome) I do have to say - when I think gelato the memories of Amorino are what hit my head and taste buds.

                              1. In Paris, Christian Constant in rue de Fleurus.

                                1. Giolitti in Rome was unbelievable. It's like the flavors have reached maximum capacity in each bite and can't be any more intense. How do they do that?!!

                                  Via Uffici del Vicario, 40 (near the Parliament) or Casina dei Tre Laghi, Via le Oceania, 90

                                  If you are traveling to Florence in August, you may be sorely disappointed to see that some of the best gelaterias (Vivoli, Vestri, etc.) will be closed for vacation. Call first. Enjoy!

                                  1. I've got to throw a shout out there for Gelato Fantasy in Venice. Anyone else feel me on that one?

                                    S. Marco, 929
                                    30124 Venezia (VE), Italy

                                    041 5225993

                                    M

                                    1. The best one is in Bologna, La Sorbetteria Castiglione http://www.lasorbetteria.it/. I'd say the runner up is D'Ijssalon in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. These both have really good pistachio!
                                      I think theirs are better than Vivoli and Amorino.

                                      1. It just has to be Sirmione - a little peninsula at the southern end of Lake Garda in Italy. I was there this summer. It's full of little cafes which specialise in their own icecream. I have never seen so many wonderful flavours and colours. A gelato paradise.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: NorwichPam

                                          I am spending two days in Sirmione in September so now I have a food group to look forward to!

                                        2. Perche No? in Florence. The chocolate orange, fragola and white chocolate... that's all we tried.
                                          Spent 2 weeks in Italy this summer eating gelato twice a day with kids and it was everyone's hands down favorite.
                                          We preferred it over San Crispino in Rome!

                                          1. I'd have to say Giolitti in Rome is pretty fantastic. There's also a wonderful little gelateria (have no idea what the name is) right off the Pantheon (heading towards Piazza Navona and right next to a pizzeria). I make a special trip there every time I'm in Rome.

                                            La Sorbetteria Castiglione in Bologna is great. So is any Freddo's in BsAs (you're right, best, it's great value). And I just have to give a mention to the olive oil gelato at Otto's in Manhattan-- not exactly something you have when you're craving sweet gelato, but it's so great with dinner...

                                            1. There is not need to argue. To get the best gelato in the world you need to come up to the end of the world ... a.k.a New Zealand. A friend of mine introduced me to the Giapo experience. I call it the Giapo experience because everytime you walk in there, it’s just a feeling of being out of this world. Whenever you are there - you can’t help but be happy! I know their fruit is organic and they are grand with chocolate and hazelnuts and they have the largest list of mix-ins ever seen in the world. Opss. I forgot to say that they also sell the largest cone in the world... the notorious super giapo. Come to NZ. Go and have fun!
                                              I also found them in FB: www.facebook.com/giapogelato

                                               
                                              1. Montreal has 2 really great places, Havre du Glace and the Canadian Maple Delights store. I don't know how artisanal Canadian Maple Delights gelato is, but they use maple syrup and their gelato is fantastic. The vanilla is incredible.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: ChewFun

                                                  Of the above mentioned places, I have tried Havre du Glace in Montreal, San Crispino and Giolitti in Rome, Otto's, Arte Del Gelato, Grom, and Il Laboratorio del Gelato in Manhattan, Bar Vivoli and Perche in Florence, Amorino and Berthillon in Paris, and many, many artisanal places in the US.

                                                  As much as I have eaten and grown fat off them all, the two that haunt me still are the cinnamon at Il Laboratorio del Gelato and the melon at San Crispino.

                                                  Also worth noting, for those of you international hounds in the NYC area, the best chocolate I've ever had is listed on the menu as a sorbet, but defies that description and feels more like gelato. The place is a small restaurant in Ft. Greene called Roman's.

                                                  Now off to scout the internet for the best way to get some of that Out of a Flower Ice cream delivered to me ;o)

                                                  1. re: ChewFun

                                                    That would actually be "Havre aux Glaces" up at the Jean-Talon market, which is excellent, but actually serves sorbet, not gelato. Montreal has a couple other excellent places for artisanal sorbet, including Meu Meu (on St-Denis), Sinis Artisan Glacier (on Rachel) and Le Patio (on Mont-Royal). Note that the latter also has some non-artisanal ice creams, but all their sorbets and some of their ice creams are homemade, and it's clearly denoted by the colour of the label, which are the homemade ones. Le patio is probably the cheapest and most generous, but Havre aux Glaces is the most famous for special seasonal flavours.

                                                  2. I wish I could remember the exact location or the name, but the best I've ever had was at a stand in an indoor market/food mall in Locarno, Switzerland. They had an amazing array of flavors too. I even made a day trip on a subsequent trip to the Ticino to go back.

                                                    I'm wondering if it could be this place:

                                                    http://yellow.local.ch/en/d/Locarno/6...

                                                    http://petercherches.blogspot.com

                                                    1. I'm from Toronto, and to my knowledge I've tried all the best and most well known gelato the city has to offer -- Il Gelaterie, Hotel Gelato, Hollywood, Soma (for chocolate), Dolce (highly overrated), Novocento, Palamoa (terrible, in my opinion). I don't think Toronto has world class gelato, but there are places to go for gelato fiends (like myself).

                                                      Outside of Toronto, the world class gelato I've had the following world class gelatos:

                                                      Dolcezza (Washington, DC). The best I've ever had! Argentinian style gelato -- so dense, so fresh, so intense. Love the owners, they seem so dedicated to their craft. I've been 3 times over the course of 2 days.

                                                      Capogiro's (Philadelphia). Some hits and some misses. Loved cashew, (especially paired with banana/rum and chocolate malt). Been 3 times over the course of 2 days.

                                                      GROM (Tokyo). I was surprised to find GROM in Tokyo. I'd been waiting to take a gelato tour of Italy. I was more impressed than I thought I'd be. It does not come out on top, overall (Dolcezza does), but I was astounded by how impressed I was with the chocolate based flavours (dark, extra dark, and bacio). They also had an espresso that was the most pure "coffee" ice cream I've ever had -- Paired with vanilla, it tasted kind of like the best iced coffee drink I've ever had.

                                                      Right now, I'm in Tokyo, and would like more recs on great gelato here, if anybody has any. In addition to GROM, I've tried Pierre Marcolini in the basement market of one of the train stations. It was good enough to eat, but not on par with any of the best gelatos I've tried.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Khadija

                                                        From Toronto:
                                                        I prefer Simply Italian (on Yonge b/w eg & dvsville), then Il Gelaterie, The rest kind meander below these two with Paloma at the bottom & Hollywood close to it.

                                                        From New York:
                                                        For my money this is the pecking order: Il Lab Di gelato > GROM > L'Arte De Gelato

                                                        Looking forward to trying the new ones I will encounter in Europe.

                                                      2. TESTA
                                                        Torino, Italy
                                                        Corso Re Umberto, 56

                                                        They are known for a singular, amazing flavour: Testa Nera (or Nero... I can't remember). It's the darkest chocolate gelato (or ice cream) I've ever seen. It's DELICIOUS!

                                                        1. After many trips to many of the locations mentioned here and others: probably the best combination of qaulity and reasonable price: Buenos Aires. Now not 1/3 of the price, but not much more than 1/ 2.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: kel

                                                            UN altra Volta( chocolate Volta!! Yummm)? Or the small Indie ones?

                                                          2. As long as this thread has been significantly bumped, let jfood throw in his favorite and confirm James G above in San Gimignano. Since his post the place has won lots of awards. Located in a little square in this walled city, the views are worth the side trip. Plus you get some incredible gelato.

                                                             
                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: jfood

                                                              Really enjoyed (several times) the gelato at Giovanni Gelateria, Les Halles, Paris
                                                              may have been a Haagen Daz in former life. Daily special flavors were great. Different than Berthillion . . . flavors much fresher. I'm a big boy and my 6yo had to fight me to get a taste.

                                                               
                                                               
                                                            2. when reponding please clarify if your suggestion is gelato, ice cream, sorbet, or ?

                                                              1. Capogiro in Philadelphia, the local place in tiny town of Barbarano near Toara [tiny village] Italy best we ever ever had and Arnaldo in Buenos Aires Argentina