I just returned from a wonderful trip to Italy, and I can’t wait to tell everyone about my new favorite Italian treat…gelato!

So many to choose from!

According to Wikipedia, gelato is an ancient Italian frozen dessert, and is made with some of the same ingredients as most other frozen dairy desserts. Milk, various sugars, flavoring including fruit and nut purees are the main ingredients, and cream is usually not used.

Gelato has a lower butterfat content than ice cream, mostly because of its lack of added cream. It usually has a lower butterfat content, and a highter sugar content than ice cream. The sugar content in gelato is precisely balanced with the water content to act as an anti-freeze to prevent the gelato from freezing solid. It’s usually denser than ice cream and has a more intense flavor than ice cream, because it’s churned during the freezing process, and air is incorporated into the mix.

I'll have a scoop of each flavor!

The history of gelato dates back to frozen desserts served in ancient Rome and Egypt made from ice and snow brought down from mountaintops and preserved below ground. Later, gelato appeared during banquets at the Medici court in Florence. In fact, the Florentine cook Bernardo Buontalenti is said to have invented modern ice cream in 1565, as he presented his recipe and his innovative refrigerating techniques to Catherine de’ Medici. She in turn brought the novelty to France, where in 1686 the Sicilian fisherman Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli perfected the first ice cream machine. The popularity of gelato among larger shares of the population however only increased in the 1920s-1930s as in the northern Italian city of Varese, where the first mobile gelato cart was developed.


A gelateria is what a gelato shop is called in Italy, and they are very popular. You can barely go a few steps without coming across another one. Each shop is different in it’s own way, and in addition to some of the more common, popular flavors, they may also have some other varieties. The shops are so pretty and colorful, that we took quite a few pictures to remember how they looked.

I'll take that one!

There are many different types of chocolate flavors such as dark chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate hazelnut, chocolate orange and even chocolate with pepper infused…Debbie couldn’t resist trying the pepper kind, and said it was good. Some of the fruit flavors available are strawberry, raspberry, lemon, mango, pineapple, apricot, melon, and peach to name a few. There are various cream flavors, nut flavors, and even some unique flavors that may be either regional or seasonal. Every time we thought there couldn’t possibly be more flavors than we had already seen we’d come across a shop with even more different flavors. Almost every day as we were walking around and touring, Debbie would say, “So much gelato, so little time!”

Our last night in Italy was spent in Rome, and our last delicious serving of gelato was from Cafe Tre Scalini which is located in Piazza Navona. We had truffle ice cream which is one of the things the restaurant is famous for. It only comes in one size and is a ball of rich chocolate ice cream which is surrounded by dark chocolate pieces and topped with whipped cream…what a great treat to end our visit to Italy!

Truffle Ice Cream from Cafe Tre Scalini in Piazza Navona in Rome.

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8 Responses to “Polly #2~So Much Gelato, So Little Time!”

  1. First choice for me….pistachio! They all look so good!

  2. Congratulations on completing the Gelato Challenge!

  3. Thanks…it was a lot of fun!

  4. They were! I think I’ll have to stay for about two months the next time so I can try all of the different flavors that are available!

  5. Mrs. Campbell's Class
    May 17th, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Dear Polly #2,
    We think the gelato looks delicious. We think you are so lucky because you got to try the gelato. How many flavors did you eat? What were some of the flavors? What is the white flavor in the back row of the third picture? How did you know which flavor to choose when you couldn’t read the signs?
    Mrs. Campbell’s Wonderful Class (and Mrs. Schneider, too!)

  6. Dear class,

    The gelato WAS delicious, and I had lots of scoops. I really don’t know how many different flavors I tried, but I bet at least 20! The white flavor in the back row of the third picture is fiordilatte. The translation of it is “milk flower”, and it’s basically made from milk, cream and sugar. It looks really good, but it’s not one of the flavors that I tried.

    The way I knew which flavor was which was one of two ways…sometimes the Italian word is similar to the English word, and therefore I didn’t have any trouble guessing what it was. The second way I used to find out which flavor to chose was by merely asking the person that was working there. The people in the gelato shops were always friendly and willing to help us out with choosing the perfect gelato flavor!

    Love Polly #2

  7. Dear Polly#2, How was the Vanilla in the third picture? Did you have fun? from Porsche to Polly#2

  8. I didn’t actually have vanilla from that shop, but I had some from another one and it was very delicious!