Best Gelato Flavour Combinations (and Where to Try...

Best Gelato Flavour Combinations (and Where to Try Them in Rome)

Gelato Cone Rome

I’m the kind of person that will travel far and wide for good great gelato. I’ll happily trek across town to a specific gelateria to satisfy a craving (even though there are plenty of other decent places along the way) or make a major detour because one of my favourite spots just posted a snap on social media of a seasonal, and, therefore, short-lived, flavour.

However, I understand not everyone is as committed to the cause as I am. With that in mind – and also because I don’t have the bandwidth to do a full-on ‘best gelato in Rome’ guide right now – I wanted to come up with a different approach to gelato in the Eternal City. These are some of my favourite flavour combos, which you should be able to rely on in most decent gelaterias* around town – just in case you’re not as obsessive as I am about pre-planning a gelato itinerary.

*providing you stick to the golden rule of avoiding lurid colours and huge mountains of gelato piled high, both sure-fire signs a place uses artificial colours, flavourings and fillers.

Cioccolato & Pistacchio

Gelato is truly an anytime treat in Italy, but when I want ice cream to serve its most classic function, i.e. as a satisfying dessert rather than a sweet treat or snack, I say go big or go home. And, as the best, most greed-inducing desserts always feature chocolate in some form, so should your cone or cup. Pair with earthy pistachio to double-down on richness but still stand up in flavour to the cacao. Gelateria dei Gracchi, which has multiple locations in Rome, does great nut and chocolate flavours, both with intensely creamy textures.

Riso & Pesca

People who don’t like rice pudding are amateurs (don’t @ me) but, nevertheless, they should not be put off by gelato al riso. This rice pudding-style ice cream has none of the gloopiness of old-fashioned British desserts and is more milky than creamy, making it a less heavy choice than the usual crema, or custard-based, options. As such, I like to couple it with peach gelato for a pleasingly summery treat. Look out for variations made with pesche tabacchiera – these little flat peaches are sometimes called doughnut peaches in English and have pale flesh and a delicately perfumed flavour. Otaleg in Trastevere makes the most delightful version, which also happens to be a very aesthetically pleasing millennial pink.

Cup of Otaleg Gelato, Rome

Cannella & Zenzero

Cinnamon and ginger form the cornerstone of many recipes, both savoury and sweet, so, naturally, they make a winning gelato combo as well. Aromatic and warming, these two spices enrich simple milk-cream bases and elevate them into something luxurious. Neighbourhood spot Gelateria del Pigneto excels in pure, clean flavours so cinnamon and ginger are excellent choices here, if available. Likewise, Fatamorgana is skilled at the simple yet sophisticated but it really shines with its creative combinations, meaning you’re likely to find these spices mixed with other ingredients, like in the apple, pecan and cinnamon sorbet.

Fior di Latte & Fragola

Fior di latte (literally: ‘flower of milk’) refers to food made with the best quality cow’s milk – sometimes mozzarella or, in this case, pure dairy ice cream. Containing no eggs or even vanilla, it relies on top-notch milk and cream for its subtle but delicious flavour. Think gourmet Mini-Milk rather than sickly-sweet Magnum. Sticking with nostalgia, I like to combine it with fragola sorbet to create a grown-up strawberry split situation, especially at Fior di Luna, which always has excellent fruit flavours.

Fior di Luna Gelato

Cioccolato & Lampone

Sharp raspberries provide the perfect accompaniment to creamy chocolate. In fact, any fruit with tart undertones to counteract the richness of the chocolate works for me, including frutti di bosco (forest fruits), mandarino (mandarin), or amarena (sour cherry). I prefer semi-sweet chocolate too; Nutella-swirled ice creams are for kids. Real grown-ups should also seek out the fondente al Nero d’Avola at Gelateria del Teatro. It’s made with dark chocolate and Sicilian red wine and is reason enough to visit.

Where to get gelato in Rome

Gelateria dei Gracchi
Multiple locations including:

Via dei Gracchi, 272
Via di Ripetta, 261.

Via di S. Cosimato, 14a

Via dei Chiavari, 37A

Fior di Luna
Via della Lungaretta, 96

Gelateria del Teatro
Via dei Coronari, 65/66

Lungotevere dei Vallati, 25

Gelateria del Pigneto
Via Pesaro, 11

Multiple locations including:

Via Laurina, 10
Via Roma Libera, 11
Piazza degli Zingari, 5

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