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 🙂

 

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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Raspberry Sorbet

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mums out there! Tonight, I have the honour of preparing the Mother’s Day dessert for a dinner party with my extended family. After much thought, I have decided to make a rich chocolate tart to serve with raspberry sorbet.

This raspberry sorbet recipe is one of the first I ever used when cooking by myself. In the school holidays, my sister and I would each cook one thing out of the Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks we purchased in 2007. Mine would be from “Good Food: Desserts” (surprise, surprise) and Laura’s from “Potatoes”. As you can tell, it certainly wasn’t the most nutritious meal! But it was a lot of fun and helped Laura and I get into cooking.

I still love this sorbet – it’s perfectly tangy but sweet with a strong raspberry flavour. It’s also great as it doesn’t require an ice-cream machine. Hopefully it’s as useful for you as it has been for me 🙂

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Ingredients (serves 8-10 on the side or 6-8 as the whole dessert)
1 ½ cups water
1 cup caster sugar
900g frozen raspberries
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
3 egg whites

Method
Stir the water & sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat, without boiling, until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat & simmer, uncovered, without stirring for 5 minutes.

Blend the raspberries, lemon juice & sugar syrup in a blender until smooth.

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Push mixture through a fine sieve into a 20cm x 30cm lamington pan (or 2 smaller pans) lined with clingfilm. Discard seeds. Cover with foil; freeze until firm.

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Coarsely chop the frozen berry mixture and add it to the blender with the egg whites. Blend until smoother and paler in colour. Return mixture to the pan, cover & freeze until firm.

Serve & enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Good Food: Desserts’

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