Italian ice cream! How to spot a good quality ice cream

Hurray! It’s that time of the year again, I mean time for an Italian ice cream, not that we have not had any during the last few months but it is when it is hot that our taste buds seem to get on with ice cream like a house on fire.

So refreshing, nutritious and delicious this is just what we crave on a hot day. The “gelato artigianale” or artisan ice cream made with fresh fruit and fresh ingredients is one of those simple but great pleasures in life pretty easy to fulfill.

But not all artisan ice cream is good. If you pay a visit to a few ice cream shops, after a while you will notice that the quality  can be different from place to place even if they all claim that their ice cream is artisan, fresh and made at the premises.

ice cream

Generally the rules to spot a good quality ice cream are:

Your ice cream should taste of the flavour you have picked:  hazelnut should taste of hazelnut, pistachio should be pistachio, strawberry should taste of proper strawberries. Often cheap ice cream tastes all the same with the flavours not very well defined.

Often artificial flavours are being used instead. These have an intense flavour as soon as you taste your ice cream only to disappear very quickly. With natural food the flavour grows as the ice cream melts in your mouth leaving an intense flavour which lasts longer.

It should leave you with a good aftertaste in your mouth. If the main flavour you can taste is the sweetness of the sugar that means that the quality is not great and excessive sugar is often used to mask poor ingredients. You also often feel very thirsty and with a feeling of heaviness in your stomach.

-on a warm day ice cream should melt quickly. The more chemicals are added to the ice cream the less quickly it melts.

-ice cream should not look too bright and have funny colours but only paler and more natural ones. For instance chocolate should not look excessively black, in that case food colouring has been added to make the chocolate look of a high cocoa content. Mint and pistachio should look of a pale green colour and not bright green.

-cheap and industrial ice cream leaves you with a feeling of greasiness on your palate and on your tongue because instead of using cream and milk they use cheap vegetable oils which can also make the product last longer. Ice cream should be compact and creamy and not too frothy which means that an excessive amount of air has been added.

Enjoying fresh ice cream

ice cream on cone

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12 Responses to Italian ice cream! How to spot a good quality ice cream

  1. Angie (@angiesrecipess)

    That strawberry ice cream looks really great…smooth and with natural light pink. Is that green one pistachio?
    Thanks for sharing the tips, Alida.

    • Alida

      Yes it is. I always get it! One of my favourite ones!

  2. Dottie Sauchelli Balin

    Dear Alida,
    Wow! I am hungry for ice cream now! You have totally touched my heart, I am an ice cream freak! So this post is a great one for that summer treat. I love all the flavors, but I would have to say that my all time favorite is coffee. Of course, coming from the USA we have gelato here as well, but I really don’t think it compares with your gelato. I do understand and love the fresh homemade ice cream. To me it is the best! I have a friend that has an ice cream maker and she puts in fresh berries and cream to make an awesome strawberry ice cream. I do not have one of these makers, because I would be eating ice cream all the time. But I do love a cone in the heat of the summer, it is refreshing and so delicious. I love your advice on getting a good quality ice cream….Thanks for sharing this wonderful post…love the photos…Now I want one! Have a great rest of the week dear Alida. Dottie 🙂

    • Alida

      I don’t have an ice-cream maker either. The thing is I have ice cream every day in the summer when I am in Italy (and during spring time too) so I would not want to over do it. It is so tempting though!

  3. la cucina di Molly

    Che delizia il gelato, con questo caldo è quello che ci vuole! Hai ragione un buon gelato artigianale lo paghi molto di più e inoltre si riconosce dal suo gusto intenso! Un bacione!

  4. gloria

    I love to make Ice cream all the year:)

    • Alida

      I know I have seen many fab ice creams on your blog. You really are good at ice-cream making!

  5. Kate - Gluten Free Alchemist

    Italian ice cream is definitely the best to buy. And I am loving the size those ice creams in the pictures. They are monster cones….. a whole meal!!!!

    • Alida

      Yes I love those crunchy cones. Apparently they are fried.. that’s why they taste so nice!

  6. Louise

    Hi Alida!

    Oh how I adore ice cream:) You have some really good tips here. Now, if I could only have a lick of one of those gorgeous looking ice cream flavors, lol…

    Thank you so much for sharing, Alida…

  7. Francesca Catanuso

    We’re just back from a week in San Vito lo Capo and ate inhuman quantities of granita + nocciola! Great post 🙂

    • Alida

      Oh my! I bet you enjoyed every single bit of your holiday. I love granita!

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