Don’t eat the bright green pistachio gelato. Same goes for the bubblegum-hued strawberry. And if the gelato is piled in beautiful, fluffy mounds, turn yourself around and walk out of that store.
Those are the signs of fake gelato. Fake coloring. Fake flavoring. And fake usually comes with a real hefty price tag. But in Florence, real gelato is your mission. I’ve done the research and have found some of the creamiest, tastiest, made-every-morning gelato.
5. Gelateria Carabé
I found this first because they’re said to have some of the best cannolis in town. I didn’t make it down to Sicily for the real deal, but I loved the fresh filling, chocolate and candied fruit used in cannolis at Gelateria Carabé. And having the sweet tooth that I do, I paired the cannoli with a scoop of ice cream. I tried the almond flavor and it tasted fresh and not at all like extract (a little disappointing for me because I could drink extract straight) but I appreciate the real almond taste! Since this is right down the street from The Galleria dell’Accademia (The David) grab a cup or cone to enjoy as you wait in line.
This place is gelato with a twist… instead of serving it overflowing out of tiny cups with a tiny spoon, Stickhouse presents their gelato in popsicle form. It’s artisan, yet innovative. Their fresh fruit sorbet flavors are incredible and their creamy flavors don’t disappoint either. I loved the fig flavor and the fact that you can have them dip any flavor in chocolate (yay!), sprinkles (hooray!) or nuts (ew… but maybe you’d enjoy it?).
3. Gelateria Perché no!..
Perché no is Italian for why not… and I agree. The answer to “would you like some gelato?” should always be “why not?” (although a “heck yes” would be appropriate too). This small shop packs big flavor and has a loyal following. They’ve been making their gelato fresh every day since 1939 without the use of food coloring, emulsifiers, preservatives or hydrogenated vegetable fats… so you can feel good about eating a scoop (or three). I love the fiordilatte con miele e sesamo made with chestnut honey and sesame seeds.
I was on a honey kick while I was in Florence, and this shop located on a side street within view of the Duomo had the best honey ice cream I’ve ever eaten. They use seasonal ingredients and make their ice cream every day… and you can definitely taste the freshness!
1. Edoardo il Gelato Biologico
If I could choose only one dessert to eat for a ‘last meal,’ it would be Edoardo’s cinnamon gelato in his homemade cone. Add coffee and chocolate for a little more creamy perfection. I don’t even have words to describe how perfect this gelato is, so your best bet is to book a flight… NOW! You may stand in line for a few minutes, but this cute shop with hanging lights and an ever present waffle cone smell is worth the wait.
One last tip… make sure to ask about price before ordering your scoops. Two friends were shocked with an 8€ per cone price tag (not at any of the shops above). Good gelato shouldn’t be more than 3-3.50€ for a medium cone.