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Dec 31, 2002 06:23 PM

Best gelato places in the World?

  • b

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?!


        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.
                      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.
                        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.


                    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 app├ętit