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Gelato in Boston area?

My mother in law is coming to town and was recently talking about how much she was longing for some "real" gelato. We will be celebrating her recent birthday and this would be a great birthday treat....Has anyone found anything authentic in our area? Unfortunately a trip to Italy is not practical at the present moment. Thanks!

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  1. Just head over to the North End.

    1. Or take a trip to NYC for the real stuff:


      1. There's a fairly new, well-reviewed gelateria in downtown Needham, called Spasso. I haven't been yet, but they claim to have learned their trade in Italy.


        1. Also, as an aside, it's not driving to Italy, but if you feel like taking a road trip that's not all the way to NYC, the best gelati that I've had in the US (and I've tried a lot) is in Brunswick, ME, at Gelato Fiasco. It's an easy and scenic 2 hour drive from Boston.

          1. i don't know about "real" gelato but i have always enjoyed the variety of flavors at the gelateria on hanover street in the north end

            2 Replies
            1. re: galangatron

              Sorry to disagree, but we stopped at Gigi's Gelateria on Hanover this past Monday, and I was so dissappointed. Chemicals, chemicals and more chemicals.

              It is surprising that with such a variety of good ice cream makers in Boston, and New England generally, there isn't anyone that I can find anyway, making even decent gelato. A few years ago we were in Philadelphia and by pure chance stopped at Capogiro, ever since I've been hoping and looking for something similar around here, but no luck.

              1. re: qianning

                I have not found an ice cream producer in the Boston area who doesn't use chemicals or stabilizers. Who am I missing?

            2. The closest thing to Italian gelato I’ve had around here texture and appearance-wise is that chain, Melt, in the Natick Mall, of all places. I’ve been to all the North End joints, and Spasso, and they have all been served too cold and the texture has been grainy. The gelato I had in Italy was pudding-like, and glistened, and it seems that many places around here have the “glisten” on the top of the container, to a depth of about half an inch, then it all looks like grainy ice cream. I’m not sure whether Melt uses some godawful additives to achieve this, but I like it.

              I also like Herrell’s chocolate pudding flavor for a quasi-gelato experience.

              3 Replies
              1. re: nsenada

                There was a Melt in South Shore Plaza but it lasted only a few months.

                1. re: nsenada

                  I second this recommendation. I am very picky about my gelato ... I can't seem to find any that I like, including Athan's in Washington Square in Brookline - they are so close to where I live, but always are a let down ... until I tried Melt in the Natick Mall. It's delicious.


                  1. re: nsenada

                    Melt is so-so. BTW - Whole Foods in Woburn has pretty good gelato. It used to be great when they imported it from a company in NJ (forget the name) but now they make it in house.

                  2. Paradiso on Hanover. The only real gelato in the North End. There's none of that Bindi preservative laden box-kit re hash. They make it onsite daily with 14% milk fat and real ingredients. Try the pistachio -- it's absolute death and resurrection.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: 100kd

                      Agreed! Look up gelato in the dictionary and it says "go to Cafe Paradiso". So rich and creamy a small scoop does it all!

                      1. re: 100kd

                        The must have gelato is "Nocciola" When you try a really good Nocciola, nothing else can compare. Nocciola is pure hazelnut. Some places use roasted hazelnuts to bring out more flavor. Hmmm. A trip to Grom in NY may be past due. !!!!

                        If you ever run into Gus at Toscannini's, ask him about hazelnut gelato...

                        1. re: robertlf

                          Tried the nocciola at Paradiso - it was quite excellent, right consistency, and really rich. A little pricy for a small ($5) but worth it.

                        2. re: 100kd

                          14% is a higher fat content than standard Italian gelato, isn't it?

                          As an earlier post mentioned, I also haven't found anything locally that compares to what I've tasted in Italy, but that won't stop me from trying until I do! I will check out Paradiso

                        3. Thanks for all the suggestions! Looks like we have some great ideas for this weekend....And gelato adventures over the summer as well.

                          1. Bina sells gelato in it's store. Haven't tried it yet though but they seem to have a variety of flavors.

                            1. Last summer I tasted very "authentic" and delicious nocciola gelato at the Lexington farmer's market (and returned for more several times). The brand was "Giovanna", and I noticed it was being offered a few weeks ago at Crosby's Star Market in Concord, so possibly also at other markets. I didn't purchase any because it was $6 a pint and I think the texture suffers when it has been frozen hard and then softened. I hope it does well, and that other traditional flavors will be added (there were 6), but I prefer enjoying it in a gelateria and at this point the owner had no plans for opening one.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: cassis

                                Giovanna gelato is sold at Savenor's, both locations, as well as that 24-hour food market just off Harvard Square (on Brattle St. at Church, I believe). The pistachio is outstanding. Also, at the Whole Foods on River St.in Cambridge, there is a real-live gelato stand, selling gelato by Cold Fusion from Rhode Island. It's really good---try the brandied pear in particular.

                                1. re: bella_sarda

                                  Whole Foods River Street has gelato I enjoyed enough to buy a whole cup of. They have stands at some of their other stores, but I don't know if they get the gelato from the same place.

                                  The Tosci's saffron sounds like it's worth trying. I really liked their honey thyme but they only made that once, AFAIK.

                              2. Where do you live? You may want to try Angelato on Trapelo Rd. in Belmont (next to the Studio Cinema). They have been in business for several years and produce a nice selection of gelato in about a dozen flavors.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: wellington

                                  Thanks for the tip! I'll try them.

                                2. Not convenient to the city but there is a great gelateria in Methuen, on 110, next to Piro's, a decent Italian bakery. I always enjoy the gelato but last time there I had the Marscarpone. It was beyond delicious.

                                  I have been to Italy a number of times and done the nightly gelato stroll in a small town (Levanto) with a very high number of gelaterias per capita ... I found the quality, here, to be very close. And there are always a few older gentleman, sitting at a table, having coffee and speaking Italian...for me, this adds to the authentic experience.

                                  1. Toscanini's had a few gelatos (gelati?) on the menu last night. I didn't try them, though! I had saffron & coconut ice creams, which I recommend. A little saffron goes a long way, though.

                                    1. There is a new Gelato place at Linden Square in Wellesley. Have not tired it. For a nice summer stop, Lookout Farm in South Natick has good gelato. They also have a very nice store where they sell their own home grown produce and lots of delicious gourmet items. Worth the trip. It is also a pretty ride from Wellesley through South Natick.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: emilief

                                        I've been to the new gelato place in Wellesley (I think it's called the Gelato Cafe) twice. In addition to gelato, they have coffee and fancy hot chocolates. The first time I had the pistachio, which is a reassuring greyish (that is, natural) green, and it was pretty good but not outstanding. The second time I had "bacio" (chocolate-hazelnut) and was less impressed--it was just bland and not very nutty or rich-tasting. Furthermore, it's really expensive. My brother-in-law, who is a huge fan of Burdick's white hot chocolate, pronounced their white hot chocolate bad, with an artificial aftertaste. (I'm also disturbed that they have no apparent facilities for recycling the Italian-style plastic coppas that the gelato comes in--hundreds and hundreds of them must get thrown away every day.)

                                        1. re: veryveryrosalind

                                          Agreed. The Gelato cafe's gelato aren't that great. Although their fancy hot cocoa are awesome.
                                          Spasso in Needham is better and has great sorbets.

                                      2. Morano has excellent gelato. It is located in Hanover, NH, 57 S Main St. The store is simple but classy, elegant, a complete delight. The perfect texture (enabled by temperature control) allow the gelati and sorbeti to sing with pure true flavors.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: whops

                                          Hanover NH is roughly 125 miles north of Boston, which is a pretty loose interpretation of the OP's request for "in Boston area" - plus this thread is 4 years old.

                                        2. Caffe Paradiso on Hanover St. The best I've ever had.