Best Gelato in Florence with Recipe (2024)

I’ve been a life-long chocolate lover, but my life had been an empty shell before I had Italian chocolate gelato. A creamy, smooth, frozen concoction the color of night, gelato al cioccolato takes me to heights of pure ecstasy. I’m ruined now for chocolate ice cream of the American version—I look at its milky chocolate brown shade with disdain. My beloved’s tone is so deep that it borders on black. It’s taste so pure that a little scoop satisfies the taste buds. During my last trip to Italy, I developed a considerable gelato habit—at least once a day, sometimes twice. Although my new proclivity had the potential to be very unkind to my waistline, it gave me reason to get out and explore.

Best Gelato in Florence with Recipe (1)

Florence became my taste-testing ground. In order to reduce the guilt I felt for eating so much gelato, I walked to various gelaterias across the city…briskly. For the taste-test, I got the same flavor at every shop—cioccolato. The winner, for me, was Gelateria dei Neri—a small place located not far from the famed Uffizi Gallery. I loved how rich and smooth the gelato was and the price was good, too. The gelato was so delicious that I had to make a second trip to the shop before we left to get one more taste. A close runner-up was Gelateria la Carraia in the Santo Spirito area. I also enjoyed Perche No! and Grom, but the first two continue to pop up in my dreams.

Once I returned to the States, I was practically despondent thinking about life without that deep, dark-brown ice cream. I wandered the aisles of numerous grocery stores looking for gelatos to try that might possibly resemble those Florentine delights , but nothing came close. I visited one ice cream shop after another, but none had the goods. Since I was too young to retire and move to Italy, I had to come up with a solution so I decided to make my own. I purchased an ice-cream machine and experimented with recipes until I developed one that came close to the dark chocolate gelato I had in Florence. Here is my recipe—the taste is as close as I can get it, but my freezer is too cold for proper gelato consistency. It’s best served right out of the ice cream machine. I use an inexpensive, electric ice cream maker. The machine consists of a bucket with a metal insert that you surround with ice and salt. A paddle is fitted in the metal container and the gelato mixture poured in. The electric mechanism affixes to the paddle and churns the mixture to soft-serve consistency, which is how gelato is served. I hope you enjoy!


  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Hershey Special Dark cocoa powder (or a Dutch-processed cocoa powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I like Ghiradelli Intense Dark Chocolate 86%)


Over medium heat, stir together the milk, cocoa, salt, vanilla, and chocolate. Using a spoon, dissolve any cocoa powder clumps in the milk and let the mixture continue to heat and thicken while you prepare the rest of the recipe. Be careful that it does not boil.

Place the egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip together the egg yolks and sugar until they are a pale yellow color and a bit stiffer.

When the milk is heated through, but not boiling, it’s time to temper the egg mixture so that you can add it to the milk and not scramble the eggs. Remove your milk temporarily from the heat. Add a big spoonful (mixing spoon size) of the hot milk to your bowl of egg mixture. Stir vigorously until absorbed. Add another large spoonful of the hot milk and stir until absorbed. Slowly add your egg mixture to your milk while continuously stirring.

Return the pot to the heat. Keep stirring the entire mixture over medium heat until the gelato base coats the back of a spoon. This should take 10-15 minutes. When it coats the back of a spoon, pour it into another dish and cool it for several hours (I prefer 24 hours). It should look like dark chocolate pudding when it’s done. At this point it is ready to go in the ice-cream machine. Thirty minutes later (at least in my machine) and you can enjoy!

If you want an excellent Florentine experience involving gelato, I highly recommend the following tours.

Pizza and Gelato-Making Class–create authentic food with an expert pizzaiolo chef. Make pizza and gelato for lunch while enjoying wine.

Oltrarno Local Food Tour:

San Lorenzo Market Tour and Wine Tasting (with gelato):

Gelato-Making Class (semi-private):

Semi-Private Food Tour:

There are other great tours in Florence, too, see the link below. Happy travels!

Like what you just read? You can support me by following my blog and leaving comments–I love to hear from my readers. Happy travels! Amy

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Best Gelato in Florence with Recipe (2)
Best Gelato in Florence with Recipe (3)
Best Gelato in Florence with Recipe (4)
Best Gelato in Florence with Recipe (2024)


What is the most popular gelato in Italy? ›

The most popular gelato flavor in Italy is “fior di latte,” which is a simple vanilla flavor. It's made with milk, sugar, and vanilla extract, and it's loved by locals and tourists alike. Other popular flavors include chocolate, pistachio, and stracciatella, which is a vanilla flavor with chocolate chips.

What is the number one gelato in the world? ›

Marco Venturino of I Giardini di Marzo gelato shop (located in the town of Varazze in the province of Savona, Liguria) was named the best gelato artisan of 2022, awarded three crowns for his Bocca di Rosa gelato. The maestro's winning frozen dessert is made with milk, white chocolate and a handmade rosewater base.

What are the gelato Flavours in Florence? ›

If you don't get a specialty flavor, go for a gelato mainstay flavor. At pretty much every gelato shop in Florence you'll find the following flavors: chocolate, pistachio, lemon, strawberry, raspberry, and stracciatella. These flavors are classic and almost always good. The best gelaterias are only that: gelaterias.

What is the king of gelato? ›

Another legend has it crafted out of necessity, when the palace didn't have enough cups for every guest to be served, so this gelato could be served on a plate. No matter how the story goes in the end the King bestows a title upon the gelato-maker and declares Tartufo to be the “king of gelato.”

How do I choose the best gelato in Italy? ›

Bright colors, conferred by artificial additives, are one giveaway: A gelato made with high-quality pistachios shouldn't be bright green, but on the brown side, while a real banana gelato is greyish-white, rather than yellow. Another tip-off is when you see gelato piled up in mounds in the display case.

Why is gelato so much better in Italy? ›

The key feature that really makes the difference between Italian gelato and ice cream is the use of fresh raw materials. For the ice cream, in fact, milk powder is rehydrated on the spot. The Italian gelato, instead, is made with milk and fresh cream. It therefore represents a more genuine food.

Is Italian gelato better than ice cream? ›

Ice cream and gelato are both popular frozen desserts. Whereas ice cream is airier and has a higher fat content, gelato is softer and packed with flavor. Both contain a lot of sugar, but gelato is traditionally made with much less fat. Either can be part of a healthy diet when consumed occasionally and in moderation.

Which country has the best gelato in the world? ›

Pasta aside, gelato is considered to be Italy's culinary symbol. In fact, visiting the local gelateria is a way of life for Italians.

What flavor is stracciatella gelato? ›

This elegant Italian version of chocolate-chip ice cream unites creamy vanilla gelato with luscious dark chocolate slivers. Those chocolate slivers are made by hand-spinning melted Ghirardelli chocolate into fresh vanilla gelato.

What do Italians call gelato? ›

What Is Gelato? Gelato is a frozen treat that hails from Italy; the word "gelato" actually means "ice cream" in Italian.

What is the stracciatella? ›

Stracciatella can refer to a Roman soup, a cheese from Puglia, or a gelato flavor that originated in Lombardy. Meaning little rags, stracciatella is the name for three different Italian foods: soup, cheese, and gelato – the only thing they have in common is their name.

How much is a gelato in Florence? ›

Gelaterias that make their gelato fresh every morning usually aren't open until 11 or 12. 4. And the last, most important thing I can say (I speak from painful experience) is that a small cone in Florence should cost around 2.20-2.80 euro. Avoid gelaterias that are priced more than a few euro.

Is Florence known for gelato? ›

And unbeknownst to many, this delicious dessert is said to have originated in Florence, making the city one of the best in the world for savoring the tasty treat. Tracing the first gelato is quite a feat: records of frozen desserts similar to today's gelato date as far as 12,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia.

What is Florence famous for? ›

Florence, the capital city of the Tuscany region in Italy, is known for many things, including its outstanding art, Renaissance architecture, and distinguished cultural heritage. One of the most famous landmarks in Florence is the magnificent Duomo Cathedral, with its massive red dome dominating the city's skyline.

Which city in Italy has the best gelato? ›

The Best Gelato in Italy
  • Getty. Casa Infante, Naples. ...
  • La Carraia, Florence. Florence is the birthplace of gelato, so it's no surprise that two of the country's best gelaterias are here.
Oct 4, 2017

What is real Italian gelato? ›

Let me explain it: Gelato, Italy's version of ice cream, is richer and creamier than American ice cream, as it uses more milk than cream.

What is traditional Italian gelato? ›

Most assume that it's just the Italian term for ice-cream, but there's much more to it than that. Gelato is made differently to traditional ice-cream: a lot less fat is used in its creation, and it's churned at a much slower speed to prevent adding in too much air.

What is Italy's favorite ice cream? ›

Chocolate (Cioccolato): Chocolate gelato is a favorite in Italy, with many types to choose from. Whether you prefer creamy milk chocolate (Cioccolato al latte), rich dark chocolate (Cioccolato Fondente), or extra-dark, there's a chocolate gelato for everyone.


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