To all the naysayers out there that claim gelato is only the Italian word for ice cream, just hold up there for one minute and let me set you straight. First, if you’ve ever visited Italy than it is safe to assume you indulged in the rich, creamy delicacy known as gelato. It’s also safe to assume that once you did all thoughts of ice cream jumped out of your head as you wrapped your mind, and mouth, around this truly tasty experience. You may have even tried another scoop and then another just to make sure your mouth wasn’t playing tricks on you. When you came back to the states and eagerly dipped your spoon in your first bowl of post-trip ice cream you probably masked your disappointment with the thought “it only tasted that good because I was on vacation.”
Such a thought appeases the potential realization that YES! gelato is better than ice cream and sadly, could be woefully out of reach. But let’s be real now – didn’t your mother ever teach you not to lie?
Now why does it taste better, you ask? Well it’s the fat! Ice cream usually only has about 10% of fat. For those of you who are a bit more conscientious about your waistline you may just want to stick to grocery store buys and stop reading right now, because gelato boasts a whopping 25 – 30% fat. Yes, you read that correctly. No, I’m not pulling your leg. (But you may want to run a few extra miles on it to be safe). Gelato uses higher quantities of whole milk and is whipped at a much slower pace than ice cream to keep out those pesky air bubbles, which in the end yields a very dense and very rich afternoon treat. It is also served at room temperature instead of frozen so it is not as icy as store bought ice cream.
And finally, you just can’t beat those classic flavors. Sure ice cream flavors range anywhere from plain chocolate to chunky monkey to toothpaste & orange juice (I’m not kidding on this one – thanks Ben & Jerry’s) to schweddy balls (again, another B&J treat). Sure those are fun names and you get to really play with different flavors but sometimes too much is just too much. Sometimes you just want classic flavors made with natural ingredients like vanilla, pistachio, hazelnut, blackberry, salted caramel, tiramisu, espresso, and stracciatella. It’s impossible to pick a bad flavor with gelato.
So next time you’re about to scream for some ice cream how about a nice scoop of gelato? Below are some of my favorite spots around San Diego. I dare you to try them all.
Pappalecco – 1602 State Street, San Diego, CA 92101 (Little Italy)
Now I know I include this one in my favorite coffee spots list, but I really just can’t get enough of this place. From the friendly, Italian service to the delicate cannoli and rich espresso this place does it up right. On hot days when an espresso is just too much I turn to their coffee or stracciatella gelato.
Chocolat Cremerie – 509 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101 (Gaslamp District)
Perfectly hidden next to a cigar lounge, this place serves amazing gelato. They have food as well and if you do want something more substantial I highly recommend going with one of their crepes with a side of gelato. Just let them know to go easy on the powdered sugar. Sometimes they can overdo it.
Gelato Vero Caffe – 3753 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103 (Mission Hills)
This little corner spot is a perfect place to end the day or to spend an afternoon reading and studying. Infused with fresh flavors and juices, their gelato is always on point. And while the service can be lacking they make up for it with a great espresso as well as free wifi. If you are ever near the area and the warm weather is getting to you, stop on in!
Bobboi Natural Gelato – 8008 Girard Ave, La Jolla, CA 92037 (La Jolla)
Charcoal Vanilla and Rosewater Honey. This place is so darn good I ALWAYS stop in when I am in the La Jolla area. That’s all I have to say.