Italian ice cream is another one of those things that Italy is particularly famous for, and you will find that you can’t swing a dead cat around a city like Rome without hitting at least 3 Gelaterie. Gelato is not too sweet, make with fresh milk and whole fruit, and is just plain delicious.
The problem with gelato is that it is very expensive to make properly, so many people, especially ones that sell gelato in highly touristic areas, are tempted to resort to using syrups and artificial flavor packets to save money and maximize profits. Some will also start with making good gelato in order to gain a reputation, then switch to the flavor packets once they’ve built up enough favorable internet ratings to ensure a steady customer flow. Given this, how are you going to tell if the gelato place you wind up in during your holidays is a good one? Life is too short to waste time on bad gelato.
Well, luckily, there is one solid indicator of the quality of the gelato in the establishment you have chosen. You don’t even have to taste it, you just have to look at it.
Banana ice cream is the best indicator of whether or not the Gelateria you have chosen is using fresh fruit. When you make ice cream from bananas they oxidize, turning the ice cream into a crappy ashy color. No ice cream place would fake such an unappealing color for they’re artificially flavored ice cream. So, if the Gelateria has banana ice cream, take a look. Is it yellow, or white, or is it an ashy gray? If the banana looks like this, you’re on the right track.
The only problem is, not everyone has banana ice cream. So, in the absence of this indicator, check the pistachio. Is it a bright green, or ore of an off-green brown sort of color?
Seeing seeds in the strawberry ice cream is also an excellent sign.
These examples were taken in my favorite Gelateria in Rome, Della Palma. It’s near the Pantheon, and the fruit you see them receiving in the morning is as gorgoeus as ever. I highly suggest a visit, though I suggest to avoid the flavors such as Snickers or Twix. They make all of their ice cream from the raw materials, so they make the Snickers ice cream, for example, with actual Snickers bars, rather than blending chocolate, caramel and peanut ice cream in order to “imitate” a Snickers bar. This means that the chocolate bar flavors result in being a bit of a watered down version of the chocolate bar itself. Instead, try any of the chocolate, nut or fruit ice creams, they’re excellent.
And that’s barely half of the flavors they have.