The Easiest Way To Spot Quality Gelato Whether Or Not You Are In Rome

Visit the touristy areas of any Italian city, and you'll quickly learn that gelato is extremely easy to get. Stands and shops can be found on practically every street corner, making them especially hard to ignore on a hot summer day. Though you might assume the gelato shops with overflowing tubs and millions of flavor options would be the best places to get gelato, the opposite is actually true. The gelato may look appetizing, but the quality won't be the greatest.


For high-quality gelato, instead look for tubs that aren't piled high with gelato, or better yet, ones fully covered with lids, Roman tour guide Valentina Petraroli explains in an Instagram video. She also recommends using the color of the banana, mint, and pistachio gelato as a frame of reference. If the flavor isn't blatantly obvious based on the color; for example, if the banana is a light yellow or the pistachio is a pale green rather than vibrant, unnaturally bright colors, it's safe to say the gelato is real.

What makes gelato high-quality

"Real" or properly made gelato has two defining traits: a low-fat content and less air, according to Healthline. In order to retain the creamy consistency that results from this combination, the gelato must be kept and served at a specific temperature. This is precisely why those overflowing tubs of gelato are normally reflective of poor quality. It either indicates that too much air has been whipped into it, or that it's chock full of additives to keep it from melting while uncovered or exposed to the elements, according to The Local.


The quality of gelato can also be determined by how it's flavored. Since gelato is traditionally made with natural extracts or the fruit that's currently in season, vibrant colors are often a telltale sign that the gelato was made with a mix containing food coloring rather than from scratch. So stick to basic or seasonal fruit flavors that are a light, natural color if you want to eat high-quality gelato.

What about store bought gelato?

Since gelaterias aren't nearly as ubiquitous in the United States as they are in Italy, if you ever crave gelato and ice cream won't suffice, you usually end up having to take a trip to your local grocery store. Unfortunately, the gelato you find in the freezer section typically isn't good quality gelato, and not just because it's commercially produced.


The ice cream cases at the supermarket are designed to keep ice cream at its optimal temperature of 0 degrees or lower. Gelato on the other hand — at least good quality gelato — has to be stored at around 16 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Uomo Gelato and other makers. Therefore, unless the label on the package tells you to let your gelato reach 16 degrees Fahrenheit before enjoying it, chances are it isn't properly made. If you want a taste of authentic gelato, you're better off getting it at an actual gelateria, just make sure it's one that doesn't have overflowing tubs of gelato in every color of the rainbow.