Gelato: A Love Story – By Zoe Eager

Having come to grips with the fact that they were going to have to roll me off the plane nearly on, I decided to dive headfirst into Italian cuisine and work off the consequences later. With this rationalization firmly under my belt, I took up the grueling task of taste-testing ice creams from pretty much every gelateria I came across, and compiling a list of the best ones for my adoring readers (both of them).

Some of these places have been raved about for years and are considered Florence ice cream superstars; Grom (via delle Oche) is one such place. Situated a convenient stones-throw from the Duomo and boasting an impressive list of accolades, Grom has the air of a cooly arrogant gelato celebrity, perfectly secure in its ability to secure customers without providing particularly welcoming service.

It’s damn good ice cream though, don’t get me wrong. They make it by hand every day and take great pride in using the freshest ingredients from around the world. It tends to be a bit softer than the average gelato – more like American soft seve, wheras most gelato has a moldable, almost claylike quality to it that I actually prefer – but their salted caramel and pistacio flavors are hard to beat in terms of taste.

My personal favorite gelatereia is actually only two streets away, also just off the Duomo. Mordilatte wins best in show hands down in my opinion, scoring high in terms of quality, choice, value, and, most importantly, taste. Mordilatte is actually one of their flavors, a marscapone-based sweet-cream flavor that has an unbelievably amazing texture – an absolute must try.

Carabè (via Ricasoli 60/r), a Sicilian gelateria, is situated on Via Ricasoli, between Piazza Annunziata and the Duomo; its pretty tiny and easy to miss, but worth finding for the outstanding granità – if you go (and I strongly recommend that you do), go for the almond flavor; it’ll knock the socks off your Magnum bar.

Gelateria dei Neri (via dei Neri — between the Uffizi and Santa Croce) and Gelateria San Trinità are tied for a win in the Most Exotic category, the former boasting flavors like soy and passionfruit, as well as anti-Italian, much scoffed-at sugar free gelato; the latter offers up the bizzarre but completely awesome fondente flavor, a dark-chocolate-and-sesame blend. Awesome ice cream for those with an adventurous palate, and totally worth the extra euro they charge.

More info and pics coming soon!