Sunday, October 13, 2013

Naples Guide to Gelato

On Friday, I gave you a guide to pizza in Naples, but I wanted to also highlight the other love of my Italian-life: Gelato. To make sure you make the most of your gelato consumption in Naples, here is a little guide.

How can you tell if certain gelato is top-notch? Here are a few hints:

1. If it is labeled as “Produzione propia” or “produzione artigianale,” it means the gelato is made on site or handmade.
2. If the gelato comes in a prepared plastic tin, there is a chance the gelato is not top quality because it may be mass produced.
3. The gelato should have natural colors: banana should be brown, pistacchio should be grey, lemon should be white, etc.
4. Gelato flavors should correspond with the seasons. For example, during the summer, gelato flavors should be summer fruits (berries, plums, melons, apricots, peaches)
5. Great gelato typically comes from shops that solely specialize in making gelato. There are a few exceptions though (see Chalet da Ciro, Gran Bar Riviera, Gran Caffe Gambrinus, and Remy Gelo).

Here are some of the most popular options in Naples:

1. Bilancione Gelateria
Via Posillipo , 238
The favorite of the Consulate staff, Bilancione is a gelateria to remember.  Located in Posillipo, this gelateria gives a great view of the Bay of Naples.  It is a small but very busy shop with over 20 flavors to choose from.  A must is the “bacio” cone— a frozen cone covered with chocolate and hazelnuts.

2. Casa Infante
Via Toledo
This gelateria is right across from the Galleria Umberto on Via Toledo.  It’s the perfect place to go when out shopping to stop and have refreshing, creamy gelato.  Not only is it a favorite of visitors to Naples, but locals appreciate its originality and fresh quality as well.  It is always busy but worth the wait— a squirt of chocolate is added to the bottom of every cone free of charge!

3. Chalet da Ciro
Via Caracciolo
Founded in 1952, the art of gelato making and Neapolitan coffee has been passed down for two generations at this seafront gelateria.  A mixture of ingredients are tested daily  to make the most original recipes for creating delicious gelato, pastries, and coffee.  The gelateria works with restaurant Ciro a Mergellina, located next door, to create an enjoyable environment with great food in Posillipo. We would make a weekly trip here for "Gelato Giovadi" or "Ice Cream Thursdays".... and yes...that is something we made up to justify work day excursions for ice cream.

4. Fantasia Gelati
Via Francesco Cilea, 80
Rated as one of the favorites by test subjects, this gelateria draws in shoppers on Via Toledo with its colorful sign and window displays.  Prices are very reasonable due to the large amount of gelato that is given for each serving.  The specialty?  Fruit year around!

5. Gelateria della Scimmia
Piazzetta Nilo, 4
Heralded as the second oldest gelateria in Napoli.  It sets the standards high for its competition.  Prices are set accordingly, across the city,  to match this famous shop.  All the ingredients are of the  highest quality but the prices are very reasonable.  The creaminess of each flavor is due to the deliciously perfect  combination of milk, eggs, sugar, and whip cream.

6. Gelateria Otranto
Vico Vetriera, 12
This gelateria has provided excellent gelato since 1975 on the hills of Vomero.  It is notorious for using natural ingredients and having fair prices.  The recipe for this savory gelato has been kept secret in the Otranto family for almost 40 years.  But the longevity of the shop does not stop them from acquiring the best machines on the market to make delicious homemade gelato.

8. Gran Bar Riviera
Riviera di Chiaia, 181
One of the few gelaterie to be open 24/7 and it is close to the Consulate on Piazza Amedeo.  While most local gelaterie are smaller and dedicated to making solely gelato, this gelateria has two large rooms for ordering gelato, pastries, and café.  It also has an outside seating area where you can enjoy one of the highly recommended tarts or gelato while watching the Napolitani go about their daily business.

6. Gran Caffé Gambrinus
Via Chiaia, 1
The most famous café in all of Naples, Gambrinus has provided delicious desserts and coffee since 1860.  It is the most expensive gelateria on this list but quite worth the cost.  It has the perfect view of Via Toledo, Galleria Umberto, the San Carlo theater, Palazzo Reale, and Piazza del Plebiscito.  Writers like Oscar Wilde and Ernest Hemmingway have found sanctuary under its roof.  Its history, architecture, location, and food make it an absolute must for visitors to Naples.

9. Polo Nord
Via Pietro Colletta 41/43
Near the famous Da Michele pizzeria in the Historical Center, Polo Nord is the oldest gelateria in Naples.  It is very convenient for those visiting Spaccanapoli and the Duomo especially during hot summer days when gelato is a must.  For chocolate lovers, try their specialty, ChocoPerugia, that is made of 70% rich dark chocolate.

10. Remy Gelo
Via F. Galiani, 29
This gelateria is located in the Mercatino delle Torretta, two blocks from the Consulate.  All the gelato is gluten-free, does not have eggs, and contains vegetable fiber pro-biotic nutrients.  There are many flavors to choose from that are all creamy and rich.  If lactose intolerant, Remy Gelo offers soy gelato and sorbet. Being right across the street from my apartment, it's safe to say we got well acquainted. 

*** Another recommendation: Most Italians like to cap off their lunches with an espresso, and I am always on board for a mid-day caffeine jolt, but in the hot summer months my go to caffeinated afternoon treat was cafe del nonno. Essentially coffee ice cream. So essentially heaven. 

Cafe Gramsci, which I mentioned here, had my favorite cafe del nonno in town.

What is your favorite gelato flavor??

Thanks for visiting my little blog!

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