It may enchant visitors with medieval churches, world famous art museums and stunning natural beauty. But let’s face it, one of Europe’s biggest drawcards is its food. And we’re not just talking about wonderfully crispy Italian pizza, multicoloured Greek salads or impossibly flaky French croissants.
No, we’re talking about gelato. First things first, gelato isn’t just everyday ice cream. It’s so much more. While it starts out with a similar custard base it has a higher percentage of milk and a lower proportion of cream and eggs. Or in some cases no eggs at all. It’s also churned at a much slower rate which means there’s less air and a much more viscous texture. And the great news is that while gelato is creamier and thicker, it’s often lower in fat, sugar and calories. Does this make it OK to devour three cones a day? As far as we’re concerned the answer is yes.
While we’d argue that all gelato is delicious, some artisan gelaterias run circles around their counterparts. So, to help you enjoy the most amazing gelato in Europe we’ve put together a guide to the best parlours across the continent.
London may have a rainy reputation but that doesn’t mean it scrimps on gelato. Tucked away in the trendy Soho neighbourhood, Gelupo churns freshly made Italian ice cream in a kaleidoscope of deli-inspired flavours. Think blood orange sorbet, alfonso mango and salted caramel and pecan. You’ll also find a fantastically creamy selection of dairy-free flavours like coconut and espresso.
Gelateria la Torre Artimino, Artimino
This colourful gelataria sits in the medieval hamlet of Artimino in Tuscany. The region is famously sunny and on a sultry day, there’s no better way to cool off than with a scoop of velvety mascarpone, rich hazelnut or syrupy sweet fig. Locals from as far as Florence flock to Artimino to devour this gelato so don’t miss out.
Gelarto Rosa, Budapest
Want to blend a love of art and gelato? Budapest’s Gelarto Rosa does just this, sculpting each cone into the shape of a rose. It’s just a short stroll from the Basilica and serves up unique flavours like elderflower and fresh basil.
Anna Durkes, Berlin
If you’re in Berlin don’t miss the chance to stop by this hip gelataria run by a pair of trendy Italian vegans. Gelato is made fresh every morning which means there are always new flavours to devour. There’s also an incredible selection of dairy-free sorbets on offer, as well as Berlin’s best espressos.
Serving silky smooth scoops, Pozzetto is one of the most revered gelaterias in Paris. They serve just 12 beautifully crafted flavours, with each tweaked to perfection. It’s just a 10-minute stroll from Notre Dame cathedral which makes it a fantastic stop if you’re sightseeing on the Ile de la Cite.
De IJskuip, Overijssel
Forget Italy. According to Bologna’s Gelato World Tour, Europe’s best gelato is crafted in a small Dutch town. Every year the organisation cherry picks Europe’s best gelato artisans. In 2017 the award was bestowed on Erik Kuiper, who runs the wildly popular De IJskuip gelato shop in a Dutch town called Overijssel. He was awarded a 10 by the jury in Bologna for his incredible honey yoghurt and raspberry gelato topped with walnuts. “We try to be as pure and organic as we can,” Kuiper explains. “The walnuts come from our own garden, the raspberries from our neighbour, the honey from our local beekeeper and the milk from our own Jersey cows.”
Come il Latte, Rome
In Italian this establishment’s name translates to “like milk” so it makes sense that it serves some of the creamiest gelato in Italy. All gelato is crafted from natural, locally sourced produce which means the flavours really pop. We’re also head over heels for the fact that before being topped with a scoop (or three) each cone is filled with a drizzle or dark or white chocolate. Heaven.
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