Less than 5 minutes after deciding we were definitely visiting Italy, we starting researching where to find the ‘best gelato in Firenze’. There is a gelateria on every street corner with a few in between, and with limited time in the city we didn’t want to make any mistakes. Luckily there are loads of resources out there to guide us. Local food writer Drizzle & Drip put us on to A Girl in Florence (great advice for cocktails and food too) and from there we found The Curious Appetite and Visit Florence, who also gave really great advice.
So we read all the reviews and ideas, marked our chosen spots on a map and then tried very hard to hit them all. We got a bit distracted along the way (by sweeties and pastries and pasta) and ran out of time to try all of them, but these are our reviews. And if we don’t have a perfect photo then it’s because gelato melts QUICKLY, so you’re often a bit distracted by the dripping and the awesome flavours and the sharing and then as you’re crumpling up your napkin, you realize….. damn, no photo!
Our first ice cream upon arrival in Florence was at Le Botteghe di Leonardo and we loved it. The fresh mint (white in colour, not the lumo-green concoction that you see at some of the non-artisanal places) was incredible. As was the coffee. 100 % natural and it comes through in the flavor. And how stylish is that little branded wafer!
For us Gelateria Dei Neri was the clear winner. A huge range of flavours – all of them incredible. The staff are fantastic and the gelato blew our hair back. We went back 3 times. The pink grapefruit (pompelmo rosa) was mind-blowing – can’t rave about it enough. Coffee, lemon and salted butter caramel also outstanding. The licorice was heaven but don’t have it with another flavor because then it dominates. I even tried the frozen caramel. This isn’t gelato – its rich, decadent, eye popping, frozen caramel (caramello di via dei neri). You can’t possibly eat it on its own, but mixed with gelato it’s heavenly. About eleventy million calories per scoop but worth every mouthful. Oh I wish I was back there for some more.
Perchè no! translates as, “Why not!” Why not indeed! My motto from now on. It is known for unusual flavours so we went with ‘different’ in our choices. I tried Lavender (interesting), Apfel Strudel (not my favourite) and Fior di latte with honey and sesame seeds (WINNER!) I must admit though that I tend to prefer the simpler flavours done well, as opposed to the weird and wacky. But I love the trying. I’m happy to try.
Then Amorino. Ok so we admit – we tried this one for the gimmick – they make an ‘Amorino rose’ out of the gelato and add a macaroon to create the centre and it’s just oh so pretty. The gelato was a bit ‘stiffer’ than some of the others – it has to be to maintain its flower shape. But the flavours were great – the centre organic raspberry was incredible. The addition of the macaroon didn’t really do it for me but overall, it was fantastic quality.
Unfortunately we had a bad service experience at Edoardo Gelateria. One of the staff members was extremely rude and it put us off a little bit TBH. Nothing like being shouted at to dampen the experience. The gelato however was very good but we wouldn’t rush back. Sad, because we were really excited about the whole ‘biologica’ concept (fresh, organic, homemade) with handmade waffle cones (the cones were spectacular).
Notable mentions (visited on our day trips from Florence) – Gelateria Anfiteatro in Lucca had the most delicious mango gelato …
… and Nuovo Eden in Monterosso, Cinque Terre served us a mandarino to die for and passion fruit that was so tart and sweet that the memory alone is making me salivate as I type this. And finally Gelateria Golosone, also in Monterosso had one of the best coffee and lemon combos we tried anywhere.
Oh to be back in Italy……. What wonderful tasty memories. In case you’re interested we’ve noted the mentioned names and locations on the map below.