The Beginner’s Guide to Gelato

After a hard day of experiencing Italy (yeah, right) you’ve just polished off a scrumptious cena in an authentic little osteria. You decide to fare una passeggiata, since you read on your favourite blog, Not Just Another “Dolce Vita” that this was the thing to do after dinner in Italy. When in Rome, right?

There’s one element of the passeggiata that I don’t think I mentioned in that post – shame on me! How could I neglect to mention the gelato component? No trip to Italy, no Italian experience, and in my life here, no day is complete without a gelato.



So on your passeggiata, you pass by this gelateria window and decide that these foot-high mountains of ice cream might just be worth trying. And you’d be absolutely right!

First, survey the flavours, ask any questions you might have about what’s what, and even sample a few before deciding on the perfect combination of flavours. Yes, I said combination of flavours. Even in the smallest gelato cono (cone) or coppetta (cup) you can usually get two flavours. As the size of cono or coppetta increases (with the price) so will the number of flavours you can get.

Now, don’t just go picking gusti (flavours) willy-nilly, or “a casaccio”, as we say in Italian. Try to think of good combinations, like mango and cioccolato fondente (dark chocolate), which is probably my personal favourite.

So, decide on your flavour combination and say which price of cone or cup you’d like (“una coppetta di 2 euro, per favore” = “a 2-euro cup, please”). Tell them which flavours, and then you’ll be on your way to happily consuming this refreshing treat. Please enjoy like you see me doing in the photo below:

Enjoying Gelato

How to Enjoy Gelato

Please be advised that a gelato can be eaten pretty much at any time of the day in Italy, after about, 11 am. It doesn’t solely have to be enjoyed during an evening passeggiata, but it makes a great after-dinner treat!

Since I’d never send my readers out into the wild without some sort of gelato guide, I’ve composed a list of some of the most common gelato flavours, with their English translations. Buon appetito!

Gelato Flavour Basic Vocabulary:

Cioccolato – chocolate / Stracciatella – chocolate chip / Menta – mint / After Eight – mint / Bacio – bacio chocolate /

Nutella – self explanatory / Pistacchio – pistachio / Nocciola – hazelnut / Caffè – coffee / Tiramisù – tiramisù (coffee based) /

Pesca – peach / Mandorla – almond / Fior di latte – cream (sweet) / Amarena – cream with sour-ish berries /

Mango – mango / Fragola – strawberry / Frutti di bosco – mixed berries / Limone – lemon / Coco – coconut / Pera – pear /

Melone – canteloupe, melon / Bellini – peach and prosecco / Gianduja – chocolate and hazelnut (different from Nutella) /

Malaga – rum raisin / Croccantino – cream with crunchy stuff / Zuppa inglese – custard /

Cioccolato fondente – dark chocolate /Lampone – raspberry /

5 thoughts on “The Beginner’s Guide to Gelato

  1. My personal go-to combination is always limone e fragola – I’m easy to please! And, you’ll be happy to know, there’s a great gelateria on Yonge near Mount Pleasant that Chris and I rated about an 8 on the grocery-store-to-Grom scale of gelato perfection.

  2. Pingback: 5 Italian Food Faux Pas (And How To Avoid Them) | Not Just Another "Dolce Vita"

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s