How to spot good gelato from fifteen feet away

I had the best gelato of my life when I was in Rome the week before last. I bought it at Caffè Tomeucci on Viale Europa. It wasn't too sweet and it had a great texture. The flavors were pistachio and chocolate pistachio. I'll never forget it.

Today I was looking at Tyler Cowan's Marginal Revolution blog, and he linked to an article titled "How To Spot Good Gelato From 15 Feet Away." One thing to look for, says the author, is the color of the gelato:

If the fruit gelati are made of pure, real fruit then they will be the color that fruit would be if you crushed it: berry flavors a deep dark off-black purple/red, apple white or brownish or yellowish sometimes with flecks of peel, and banana a rather unappealing shade of gray. If, on the other hand, banana is a cheery yellow, apple a perky spring green and berry flavors are the light-ish color of blueberry yogurt, then the gelato before you is a mix of milk with food coloring plus fruit extracts or artificial fruit flavor. Pistachio similarly should be the color of crushed nuts, not bright green… The pistachio on the right here is clearly very artificial.

If you want to learn six other ways to spot good gelato from fifteen feet away read the article.

Notable Replies

  1. Aha but they are different!

    Compared to today's American-style ice cream (that's one made with egg yolks, as is basically the new standard in home recipes and commercial products), gelato has less fat in the base and less air churned into it during the freezing process. American ice creams are heavy on the cream, and have a fat content, by American labeling law, of at least 10% (considerably higher in most homemade and many premium versions). Gelato, by comparison, uses more milk than cream, so it doesn't have nearly as much fat. Additionally, it usually—but not always—uses fewer (to the point of none) egg yolks, another source of fat in custard-based ice creams.

  2. I know he's popular in Italy, but I think Jesus would probably use an Aramaic term.

  3. My big problem is that this is conflating "artificial flavors" with "worse-tasting gelato."

    While natural ingredients may make you feel all warm and fuzzy in your head, there's no basis for the belief that natural flavors are inherently superior to man-made, or otherwise isolated ones.

  4. daneel says:

    The secret to happiness is low standards.

  5. Nice try. But if you want the real deal, set sail for the Grey Havens. Once landed, head east and make your way through Lindon and the Shire to Bree. Take the Great East Road to Rivendell and then cross mighty Caradhras, the Redhorn, into Azanulbizar. It´s a bit of a climb, but in fair weather conditions you should make it without any trouble. From there you can catch a ride on the Anduin all the way down to Osgiliath (get off and walk for the steep bit at Rauros).

    Then it´s basically just a leisurely stroll to the Cafeteria at Cirith Ungol. There you will find Mrs. Shagdub´s lovely little shop, where she sells the world´s best ice cream. Every flavour is coloured a deep, sickening black, but don´t be diconcerted by that, it´s the natural colour that comes from the fruit of the dried out, dead thornbushes and the cream of the two-headed demon cattle in the region. It is without a doubt the finest gelato I´ve ever had the pleasure to taste. Mrs. Shagdub may be out shopping every so often, so you may have to wait a bit. Her husband Ugluk takes over the stand when she´s away, but he´s not nearly as pleasant to deal with.

    Edit: The only thing that keeps me from eating there every day is the watchful, judgmental eye of Sauron.

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