Top 3 Gelaterias in Rome

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Sunset at the Colosseum, Rome

Rome, the Eternal City, rightly has a reputation as being a foodie mecca. Despite it’s growing international food scene, the heart (or stomach?!) of food in Rome still lies in its world-renowned pizzerias, trattorias and gelaterias.

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Delicious pasta at a Roman Trattoria 

I have been lucky enough to visit Rome twice (throwing coins over your shoulder into the Trevi Fountain must work!) and both times I have made it a personal mission to taste test as much gelato as I could get my hands on.

 

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Legend has it that if you throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder into the Trevi Fountain, you will return to Rome.

Yes, despite it being winter on both occasions I ensured I had at least one gelato a day (proving that not all heroes wear capes!), and in my quest for the best gelato, sampled a large array of flavours, in both cups and cones, coloured and flavoured naturally and not-so-naturally, and made using traditional and modern techniques. Along with my sister, we researched where the gelato hotspots were throughout Rome and tried to ‘do as the Romans do’ and sample gelaterias where the locals congregated.

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After all of this *rigorous* experimentation, I can say with some (questionable) authority that I have found the best gelato in Rome. So, without further ado, I present to you my top 3 gelaterias in Rome.

Number 3: il Gelato di San Crispino

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Delicious pistachio and honey gelato

The most traditional of my top 3, San Crispino (which conveniently has 2 shops located in the historical centre of Rome), takes its gelato very seriously and prides itself on using high quality, seasonal ingredients and not using artificial colourings, preservatives or chemical emulsifiers.

San Crispino was recommended to us by our Rome walking tour guide and has many certificates of excellence (and long queues at times). After sampling the gelato, I can see why.

Don’t be put off by the rather uninviting decor and not being able to see any gelato upon entering; each flavour is kept in a stainless steel bin with a lid on it so that it is kept at the optimum serving temperature (between -8 and -10°C).

There are fewer flavours here than in many gelaterias as San Crispino strives for quality, not quantity. The flavours that are on offer change regularly with the seasons, but be sure to try their famous Sardinian honey gelato – it’s delicious. Dairy free sorbets and ‘meringue ice creams’ are also available.

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il Gelato di San Crispino. Image: TripOrTreats

Locations: Via Acaia, 56, 00183 Roma, Italia (tel. 0670450412)
Piazza della Maddalena 3 – 00186 Roma (tel. 0697601190)
Price: From €2.70
Rating: 4.5/5 cupcakes
4.5 star

Top tip: don’t make the mistake of ordering your gelato in a cone, as the ‘gelato craftsmen’ believe this interferes with the flavours of the gelato and only serve it in cups.

Number 2: Gelateria Valentino 

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In second place is Gelateria Valentino. In stark contrast to San Crispino, Gelateria Valentino is a brightly coloured feast for the eyes with its rainbow-coloured gelato proudly on display. While still boasting a wide range of natural, seasonal flavours, Valentino also offers some “less natural” varieties (think pretty green mint gelato) and certainly has no qualms about cones – you even get an adorable mini cone when you order your gelato in a cup!

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As you can see, the raspberry flavour was a big hit in my family! 

My sister was the mastermind who brought us to Gelateria Valentino after reading up reviews on TripAdvisor, many of which confidently declare that it has the best gelato in Rome. With its proximity to the Trevi Fountain, more than 3,600 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor (ranked as #4 for dessert locations in Rome), and huge selection of tempting flavours, it’s not hard to see why Gelateria Valentino does a roaring trade even in the middle of winter.

Our family favourite flavours were: raspberry, Baci, dark chocolate and tiramisu.

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Location: Via del Lavatore 96, 00187 Rome, Italy 
Telephone: 
+39 06 678 3219
Price: From €2.50
Rating: 4.5/5 cupcakes
4.5 star

Top tip: Gelateria Valentino doesn’t accept credit cards so make sure you have cash on you.

Number 1: La Gelateria Frigidarium

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Image: TripAdvisor (I keep eating mine too quickly to take photos!)

In first place is La Gelateria Frigidarium, located near Piazza Navona. Like Gelateria Valentino it is a TripAdvisor award winner with over 3,100 5-star reviews, and it was always buzzing with happy customers, day or night.

Frigidarium has an extraordinary array of mouthwatering flavours on display and you can enjoy your gelato in a cup or cone, and if you’re feeling particularly indulgent, have it coated in chocolate!

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Image: TripAdvisor 

For me there were several factors that set it apart from its competition. Firstly, the quality was second-to-none. Every flavour I had the pleasure of sampling was rich and creamy without any hint of graininess.

Secondly, everything is generous; the friendly staff were more than happy to let people sample flavours before deciding, the scoops were large and filled the cup or cone to the brim (regardless of what size you ordered), and every variety was packed full of flavour and contained a generous helping of ‘fun bits’ e.g. fresh fruit, cookie chunks or chocolate bar pieces, depending on your chosen flavour.

Finally, what really clinched it the top spot, is its incredible value for money. For just €2 you can enjoy a small cup filled to the brim with 2 flavours of gelato –  less than half the price you will pay in most other gelaterias. The price of a large cup at Frigidarium is on par with what many places charge for a small!

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Image: TripAdvisor (I keep eating mine too quickly to take photos!)

Those factors, and our desire to sample as many flavours as possible, were what had us coming back to La Gelateria Frigidarium time and time again.

Our picks? You really can’t go wrong! Every flavour we tried was exceptional.

Location: Via del Governo Vecchio 112, 00186 Rome, Italy 
Telephone: 
+39 334 995 1184
Price: From €2
Rating: 5/5 cupcakes
5-star

Top tip: Visit here first, otherwise the thought of all the Frigidarium gelato you could have been enjoying will haunt you until your dying day.

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Well, there you have it folks, my top 3 gelaterias in Rome. Chasing any one of them will guarantee you an excellent gelato.

Let me know, do you agree with me? Disagree? Have you found an amazing top-secret Roman gelateria I should visit on my next trip? Please comment below, I’d love to hear about it 🙂

 

Tropical Ice Cream

This delicious, easy dessert has all the tastes of summer and is perfect served with fresh fruit on a balmy evening. thumb_img_3009_1024Ingredients (serves 6-8)
1 litre good quality vanilla ice cream
100g unsalted pistachio nuts
¾ cup desiccated coconut
Pulp of 2 passionfruit
2 tablespoons honey
Fresh fruit, to serve

Method
Allow ice cream to soften at room temperature until just soft.

Remove pistachio nuts from shells. Cover nuts with boiling water and remove their dark skins. Dry thoroughly.

Place coconut in a dry pan and cook over a gentle heat until golden, stirring constantly. Remove from pan.

Combine ice-cream, nuts, ½ cup of the coconut, passionfruit pulp and honey. Place in a glad-wrap lined container (I use a log tin), cover and freeze for at least 2 hours

Serve topped with the remaining toasted coconut and fresh fruit. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Sydney Market Authority

Christmas Ice Cream Pudding

As an Aussie, Christmas day is often stinking hot and the last thing you feel like is eating a hot, rich traditional pudding at the conclusion of your meal. Enter my cheat’s ice-cream pudding!

This is more of a suggestion than a recipe (as you can adapt it entirely to suit you), but this combination is always a hit with my family, with the bonus of looking like a traditional pudding once complete.

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 Ingredients (serves 10)
2 litres good quality chocolate ice-cream
⅔ packet mini marshmallows
½  packet Maltesers
½ a packet lolly raspberries, chopped
2 large Mars Bars, chopped
50g white chocolate, melted (to decorate)
1 lolly raspberry (to decorate)
2 spearmint leaves (to decorate)

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Method
Soften ice-cream at room temperature until it is a workable consistency. Meanwhile, line a  large, deep glass bowl with clingfilm. Spray the clingfilm with cooking oil.

Once ice-cream is softened, transfer half to a large bowl. Add in half of your lollies and mix until evenly distributed. Repeat with the remaining ice-cream in its container. Transfer all ice-cream into your prepared bowl. Smooth the “top” with a spatula. Freeze until set.

To turn the pudding out, sit the bottom of the bowl in a sink filled with a few centimetres of warm water, and run a knife around the edge of the bowl as required. Once it is loosened (you may need to repeat a few times), it should slide out easily onto your desired serving plate. Peel off the clingfilm.

To decorate, spoon melted white chocolate on top to look like custard and top with the raspberry lolly and spearmint leaves.  Enjoy!

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Tiramisu Ice Cream

Happy (belated) new year everyone! I’ve been on holidays and had only intermittent wifi over the last few weeks so apologies for the lack of blogging. Still, the perceptive among you will have noticed that there have been a couple of changes made to the blog, the most obvious being the change of name from ‘Sugarholics Anonymous’ to ‘Bakerholics Anonymous’. I thought long and hard about this change, but I think the new name is far less restrictive and better reflects the direction I want this blog to go in – and now I can include savoury and sugar-free recipes 🙂

Anyway, enough blathering for now. This ice cream is easy, doesn’t require an ice cream machine and is very, very delicious. It’s perfect for a light finish to a summer dinner party – just serve with fresh raspberries.

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Ingredients
2 tablespoons instant coffee
⅓ cup boiling water
2 tablespoons Tia Maria (or equivalent coffee liqueur)
400g can skim condensed milk
550ml cream
¼ cup milk
12 sponge finger biscuits
Optional: raspberries & chocolate coated coffee beans (to decorate)

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Method
Line a 20cm square cake pan with aluminium foil.

Combine coffee, water & Tia Maria and set aside until cool.

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Combine condensed milk and cream in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until thickened. Beat in half of the coffee mixture.

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Spoon half of the cream mixture into the tray.

Combine remaining coffee mixture with milk and brush well over both sides of sponge biscuits (I actually dip the biscuits in to ensure it is coated) and place in a single layer in the tray.

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Top with remaining cream mixture and freeze until set.

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Cut into rectangular slices and serve with raspberries and chocolate coated coffee beans.

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Recipe adapted from Good Taste magazine.

Torta Caprese (Flourless Chocolate Almond Cake)

This cake is my new dinner party go-to. The cake itself has it all; it’s intensely chocolate-y, rich and moist, the perfect dessert cake and between you and me, it is INCREDIBLY easy (yes, I am shouting at you). It takes very little time, dirties very few dishes and keeps well (although it never lasts long around here!) To serve, simply dust with icing sugar and top with berries and ice-cream.

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Ingredients (serves 6-8)
200g butter
200g dark chocolate
4 eggs, separated
170g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g almond meal
Icing sugar, to dust
Ice cream & berries, to serve

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Method
Preheat oven to 170 degrees C (or around 150 fan-forced). Grease & line a 24cm cake pan with baking paper.

Melt the butter and set aside.

Process (or finely chop) the chocolate until it is in tiny bits, but still retains a little texture.

Place egg yolks, sugar & vanilla in a medium bowl and beat until pale and thick. Fold in chocolate, butter and almond meal (mixture will be very thick)

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggwhites until soft peaks form. Gently fold in chocolate mixture, ensuring you don’t knock the air out.

Spoon into the prepared pan, level the top and bake for 50-60 minutes or until just firm to the touch.

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Set aside to cool in the pan, then turn out.

Serve while still warm with icing sugar, berries and ice cream. Bellissimo!

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Adapted from ‘Torta Caprese’ in delicious. ‘Wicked: Sinful desserts from your favourite chefs’.