Want to know where to find the best gelato in Florence? I am about to tell you. I consider myself something of a gelato expert. That’s a pretty big claim, but after almost four years of living in Florence and regularly tasting gelato all over the city, I am quite sure I can consider myself an expert on where to get the best gelato in Florence, and I am about to share my secrets with you. You are welcome.
Not only that, but read on to find out how you can recreate that holiday taste with authentic Italian gelato back at home with Joe Delucci’s. Really!
But first Italy!
Best Gelato in Florence
These are not ranked, they are just my favourite four – dotted across the city so you can be sure to find one to visit near wherever you are. Or you can go to all four, purely in the interests of scientific comparison of course.
One tip – it is usual to pay the cashier for your gelato first, then take your ticket to the counter to choose your flavours. Otherwise you could queue a while only to be told to go and pay first. This happened when I first moved there and it was pretty annoying. You’ll find this is the same rule in many cafes and bars too.
All the gelaterias on this list are what is known as ‘artigianale’, the Italian equivalent of ‘artisan’ – fresh ingredients, no chemicals, quality basically. Please do not be sucked in by the gelato displays all over the city which have huge piles of brightly coloured chemical nightmares, decorated with pineapples and other random things (as I very bossily told you in my post on food in Florence). The only thing fresh and tasty there is the pineapple, and that’s probably a few days old. You owe it to yourself to try the good stuff, and here is where you can find it:
Viale dei Mille 20r (r = red, for businesses, b = black numbers which denote residential properties, in case of confusion for those unfamiliar with Florentine numbering)
This is probably one of the best kept secrets of the locals, because it is quite far from the tourist areas. It is absolutely worth the visit though, hop off the No 7 bus on your way up to Fiesole and treat yourself.
I have no photos whatsoever of the inside of Badiani because it is usually too full of people to get a decent look at the flavours, let alone photograph them, but I always go for the famous Buontalenti flavour, which is a creamy flavour a bit like condensed milk, and is named after the 15th century Florentine architect who is said to have invented gelato. Culture and deliciousness – what more could you ask for?
2. La Carraia
Piazza Nazario Sauro 25r (south side Ponte alla Carraia)
This is a great spot to go just before sunset, because then you can sit on Ponte alla Carraia and eat your gelato whilst watching the sun go down behind the Ponte Vecchio, the next bridge over. They not only do great gelato but their ice cream cakes are just the thing if you happen to be going to a friend’s and wanting to take something nice.
Grom is now quite the chain, and can be found in lots of other Italian cities and I believe also in the US. Hooray for that. Their gelato is unfailingly delicious, as can be demonstrated by the fact that there is almost always a queue down the street. It is also 100% gluten free these days apparently if that floats your boat. This gelateria is right next to the Duomo so is perfect for when you get a bit too hot sightseeing, or just when passing through the centre of town. Any reason really. Their motto is ‘gelato come una volta’, which means ‘gelato like it used to be’. I don’t remember what it ‘used’ to be like, but Grom’s gelato is certainly one of the things that makes me incredibly nostalgic about my time in Florence!
Very near the Basilica di Santa Croce, this is the one that most Americans have heard of because its in Frommers as the best gelato. I said I wasn’t ranking the gelateria but actually, Vivoli, despite their incredible riso flavour (rice pudding, so amazingly creamy), is actually my least favourite because they don’t do cones, only cups. And I like my gelato in a tasty cone, and my dog Billy liked to eat the very bottom bit of my cone too, so he was not quite so pleased by a Vivoli visit. But don’t let my dog put you off going – their flavours are really amazing and they have a huge range, which changes all the time.
So there you have it. Now you need to go book flights to Florence. Or maybe not…
The Best Gelato At Home – Joe Delucci’s
So the other day I was having a particularly miserable morning trying to finish a task I was not enjoying, and Ste was away so I was feeling a bit lonely and generally not in the happiest of moods, when Postman Pete (his real name) knocked on the door and presented me with a parcel with dry ice hazard warnings on it. Upon opening I realised it was the promised gelato that Joe Delucci’s had offered me to try*. Way to improve my day! I found two tubs nestled amongst the vapours – a nocciolata (chocolate and hazelnut – like the best flavour combo ever) and a coconut one. Wah, coconut! Gorgeously designed clear plastic tubs too, so you can see the goodness inside.
So yeah, most people would have gone and put them in the freezer and then cracked them open after supper as dessert or something, but I was having a bad day and I love gelato, so I grabbed a spoon and jumped on the sofa for a tasting session. Oh. My. Word. I have no words. Well, I do, obviously, or how can I describe them to you? But yeah, it was good. Florence good. Best gelato I’ve had outside of Florence in fact. 100% authentically Italian, which it is, as it is made in Turin. I started with the nocciolata because hazelnut was always my favourite flavour at Grom, so creamy and delicious and lovely paired with the chocolate swirling through it. I got quite carried away, but left room for the coconut, which was a real shock! So much flavour, I really wasn’t expecting such intense taste – it was as though someone had blitzed fresh coconut and frozen it. Yum!
Anyway, I didn’t eat the entirety of each pot all in one go (they are quite a decent size at 500ml, but not so huge that if you did accidentally eat the whole thing you’d never forgive yourself), but they didn’t last very long. Happily, I can go and buy more, because Joe Delucci’s gelato is available at Tesco for £3.99 a tub. Or, if you want more variety of flavours (only these two and Creme Caramel are available) you can always go to a Joe Delucci’s parlour where they have hundreds. There are 5 in London and I’m surrounded by them in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield. Why no Huddersfield Joe?
Basically, if you can’t quite stretch to Florence right now, don’t worry, because authentic and amazing Italian gelato is round the corner in your local Tesco. Phew! Another thing I loved about this gelato was that the stickers on the tubs come off really cleanly and after a trip through the dishwasher I have two chic little plastic tubs to keep things in. Great for stationery bits and bobs, or dry goods in the cupboard, so even the pot doesn’t go to waste (and is much easier to eat out of than a cardboard one!).
So – have I got you thinking about gelato now? Why not go and give it a try?
*I received these samples free from Joe Delucci’s for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own, and I won’t review an item if I don’t genuinely think you would love it too. You can read more on my disclosure policy here.