Searching for the best gelato in Florence is a daunting task. There are so many places, so little time, and our stomachs are only so big. When I arrived here I was overwhelmed with the mounds of goodness displayed through windows and freezers as I walked by on the streets. But luckily I have now gotten out of tourist mode. I know where the real gelato hides.
The mounds of gelato now have no appeal to me because I know that the ones that look like mountains are the ones that have the most air in them. I also know that the more fake the color looks, the more additives it contains. The secret is to find places that make their own gelato, which is the first step to discovering the best of the best.
Luckily for me, the best of the best (in my opinion) happens to be on my street: Welcome to Mordillate. The most heavenly of shops, it is relatively new and all of the gelato there is made fresh daily. My first day I spotted the flavor: Cremino. I only recently found out that the flavor is not just made up of goodness, but it’s typically a type of hazelnut dessert fudge. In the gelato is a mixture of nutella and hazelnut cream. Pair it with dark chocolate if your sweet tooth is really going wild, or with Fior di Latte if your taste buds are looking for a contrast of richness and purity. You have to be careful though; the word that it is the best flavor has spread like wildfire, and if you get there too late on a Friday evening, chances are it’ll be gone, and the next batch not available until 11 the next morning.
At this point in time the beautiful red headed Italian girl who works there during the week knows my order. She’s always got a huge smile on her face and doesn’t mind my poor Italian. There is also a man who works there who looks like the real life version of Mario. He let my friends and I sample a big cup of basil flavored gelato the other night, which was surprisingly awesome. It was a very refreshing taste, that also included a hint of ginger. After we all ordered our cups and cones he came around with a cups of hot fudge that would freeze as it drips onto your gelato. He definitely likes us. I went back the next day, my will power just couldn’t handle the temptation, and I ended up having a conversation with him. His english was very very good, but I promised him that one day I’d walk in there and speak in only Italian. Hopefully he holds me to that promise.
There are a few other shops I’d definitely recommend as well. Parigine, also on Via dei Servi, makes their gelato fresh daily, and has more classic flavors that are creamy and delicious. On Via Faenza there is a shop that offers a two flavored 1 Euro cone which is basically unheard of around here. This brings up another point: always get two flavors. It’s worth it because you can get the best of both worlds in one cone! This way you can find out what your favorite flavor is in half the amount of time. It’s truly a win-win situation.
Though it’s cost me a gym membership and the pressure to not give in to the freshmen 15, the gelato in Florence would be worth the freshmen 50. It can’t even compare to ice cream because it’s in it’s own league of desserts. But because there’s so much of it in this city, just be sure to always be a gelato snob and don’t settle for anything less than the best.